My trip to the grocery store last week almost brought me to tears. An old friend caught my eye as I entered the store. The beautiful, glossy green pepper I look forward to every year was back. I knew that my weekend would revolve around roasting and enjoying these deliciously warm, smoky, and mildly hot Hatch chiles.
If you’re new to Hatch green chile peppers then let me introduce you. These beauties pack the most amazing flavor and you basically can’t enjoy Tex-Mex food without tasting them. They’re one of a kind because of the special soil and perfect climate where they grow in New Mexico. The Hatch Valley is the only place that grows authentic “Hatch” chiles. One taste and you’ll see why they’re one of a kind!
If you’d like to learn to enjoy these New Mexican specialties you’ll want to first pay close attention while selecting the peppers.
- Bright green chiles are the very best. The brighter the better if you want them at their peak maturity.
- Lots of the peppers are going to have wonky shapes. Skip those. Try to find the peppers that are the most symmetrical because that is a good sign of quality.
- When handling the peppers make sure that your selection is firm and solidly built. You want it to definitely not be wimpy or limp. It should feel heavier than it looks.
- Definitely avoid Hatch chiles that are obviously blemished, bumpy, or wrinkled. The freshest peppers have smooth skin.
Now that you’ve found some good ones stick around the produce department a while longer. Since Hatch season is only late summer / early fall, stock up now. You can freeze roasted chiles for up to a year (more on that below). If you don’t get enough to last, you’ll be back to the canned varieties. So get your truckload now and let’s go get the oven ready to roast!
(My grocery store has these for $.78/lb right now…lowest I’ve seen them!)
It’s easy to learn how to roast hatch chiles in the oven. I always consider grilling them but then the crazy heat drives me back inside.
How to Roast Hatch Chiles in the Oven
First, you’ll want to make sure to thoroughly wash the chiles and pat them dry.
Now, gather your supplies.
- baking sheet
- aluminum foil
- clean kitchen towel
Directions for Roasting
- Move the oven rack to the highest position near the heat source.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cover baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Place chiles on sheet. If you have a lot, make sure they are positioned in a single layer.
- Place pan in the oven. Bake for 4 – 5 minutes or until skin is blistered and 75% blackened.
- After the first 5 minutes, remove the pan and use the tongs to turn the peppers.
- Return to the oven.
- Take the clean kitchen towel and get it moist. Try and wring out most of the water. Set aside.
- After 3 – 5 minutes the peppers will be completely roasted. Remember to take them out before they’re completely black.
- Use the tongs to move the chiles onto the prepared damp towel.
- Roll the peppers in the towel to allow them to steam. This will be very hot so be careful not to burn yourself and to keep out of reach of children.
- After 15 minutes, unwrap the chiles. This steaming will have loosened the skin.
- You can peel and discard the skin. Also remove the tops and stems.
- Now use the spoon to gently split open the chiles. Use the spoon to scoop out the seeds and discard them.
- Now, just chop this roasted, now skinless & seedless green pepper up and use in recipes or freeze!
You’re peppers are ready to enjoy!
Directions for Freezing Hatch Chiles
- Dice the peppers and freeze them in ½ cup portions in a small plastic container or freezer baggies. This will give you just the amount you need for recipes that call for 4 oz. canned green chile peppers.
- Make sure to label the freezer bag and date it. The chiles will be good in the freezer for up to 12 months.