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Posts tagged ‘Hatch chiles’

labeled chili

I know a big bowl of chili seems like an odd choice when it’s 200° outside, but there are two events happening this week that are chili worthy: Labor Day is today and football season officially starts.

Now, I know there are plenty of people out there who have already been watching football games and wondering how your team is stacking up for the season. But I haven’t. I’m one of those people who doesn’t believe in the preseason. To me, the preseason doesn’t count. It’s just practice. It’s not going to get you to the playoffs or the Superbowl so it doesn’t mean anything. Yes, it’s good to have practice games so you know where your strengths and weaknesses are, but it doesn’t count toward the bigger picture. This week however, this is the week that matters. This is the week when the wins and losses actually mean something. This is the week where we know where we’re headed for the rest of the season and who we really have to watch out for.

3 chilis

Since it’s opening weekend and chili and football go together like parties and beer, I thought I’d share a new recipe. The fact that it’s also Labor Day makes it even more harmonious. See, Labor Day and chili also just happen to go together like parties and beer. I know that burgers and hot dogs are the popular choice for Labor Day festivities, but did you know that chili is also one of the most consumed recipes this holiday weekend? It’s true! The fact that Hatch chiles just happen to be in season for a few more weeks, makes this recipe primed for the making.

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What makes this chili so great for guests (or even just you and your family) is how rich and versatile it is. The richness comes from the three different kinds of chocolate. The cocoa powder and chocolate bits give it a very nice chocolate flavor, but the stout is what makes it rich and thick. While I wouldn’t recommend changing out any of the chocolate, the one thing you can change out are the chiles. See, Hatch chiles comes in mild, medium and hot.  So, if you’re like me and not a big fan of spice, I’d use the mild chiles. But if you’re a spice fanatic, use the hot Hatches instead.

But no matter how you choose to make this chili, or what holiday you’re making it for, I guarantee your guests will be begging for more.

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Triple Chocolate Hatch Chili (adapted from Saveur Magazine)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 pound sausage, casings removed
  • 1 (6 oz.) can of tomato paste
  • 1 (28 oz.) can of whole san marzano tomatoes
  • 10 oz. fresh mini san marzano tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 roasted mild hatch chiles, minced
  • 1 tablespoon mild hatch chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 (12 oz.) bottle chocolate stout
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 (9 oz.) packages of Melissa’s steamed kidney beans
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and garlic and cook until tender.
  2. Add the ground beef and sausage and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste, all the tomatoes, the chiles, chile powder, cocoa powder, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, stout and brown sugar until combined.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for at least 1 hour or up to 3. About 10 minutes before you’re ready to serve, stir in the chocolate chips and kidney beans. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and chopped fresh cilantro.

We’re right in the middle of Hatch Chile season. So, if you’re a chile fan, you’re going to want to strike while the iron (or chile) is hot. Unlike other popular chiles, these beautiful green chiles are only available for about 6 weeks, from August to September. That short time period makes these chiles extra special. Grown in the Mesilla Valley, just north of Las Cruces, the hot days and cool nights are what give the chile its unique flavor. But you know why I love these chiles, because unlike other chiles out there, the Hatch gives you options.

See, normally when you buy a chile pepper you know where it falls on the Scoville Scale, a test created by Wilbur Scoville to determine the range of capsaicinoid compounds of each chile pepper from the mildest like the bell, to the spiciest, like the habanero. The Hatch is the only chile that has a range of 250 to 30,000 SHU’s, which means you have the option of getting a nice mild Hatch or a super spicy Hatch. If you’re like me, you’re going to go for the milder chile. But if you’re anything like my father, you’re going to choose the spicy chile. It’s this versatility that makes recipes with the Hatch so much fun because you can whip up the same recipe two or three times and it will be different every time depending on which Hatch you choose.

Since I’m not a spice fan, I used the mild Hatch for this recipe. (Of course if you like super spice, feel free to use the spicier chile.) While I usually use jalapeños for my guac, I only use about half of one as that’s more than enough spice for me. But since the Hatch is significantly milder, I used 2 whole chiles. Yup, two. And I roasted them. They added a nice smokey flavor and just the tiniest bit of heat, making the guacamole not only delicious, but one of the best I’ve ever had. And this is why I love Hatch season.

Want to get some while the getting’s good? Melissa’s Produce is having roasting parties all over the US. If you don’t see one near you, don’t fret. You can order them and Melissa’s will ship ’em out. So jump on the chile bandwagon. Order now, and you’ll be able get enough to last you through football (guacamole) season.

Hatch Chile Guacamole

Ingredients:

  • 4 avocados
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 packet of Lipton’s Onion Soup mix
  • 2 Hatch chiles, roasted, stemmed, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped

Directions:

  1. Pit and peel the avocados. Mash with a fork in a large bowl until almost smooth.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients (through the tomato), and mix until well combined. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.

Disclosure: Melissa’s Produce provided me with all the hatch chiles for recipe testing. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.