A little while back while doing our normal weekly trip to the grocery store, Hubby, Kiddo and I were delighted to see Hatch Chili Peppers available in the produce section. As you can imagine, it was a “Limited Time Only” special treat.
Hatch Chili isn’t so much a particular chili pepper but rather where the peppers are grown. The most common Hatch Chili Pepper is the NuMex 6-4 pepper. This pepper was cultivated at New Mexico State University in 1957. Seeds from a seed bank at the university were used to develop a variety of green chili pepper plants with all the best attributes of green chilies. The results were a pepper plant with a higher yield, more flavor and a uniform heat index. These chilies have a thick flesh and grow about six-inch long. Other Hatch varieties include the Barker, a hotter variety, Big Jim, another pepper developed by New Mexico State U in the 1970s and R-Naky, Anaheim-type hybrid introduced to growers in 1985 by New Mexico State U. All Hatch chili peppers possess similar growth and flavor profiles. So what makes them Hatch? True Hatch Chiles are grown in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico. It is the rich volcanic soil, hot days and cool nights coupled with an altitude of 4,000 feet that come together to create the Hatch Chili flavor.
We grow a pepper garden every spring. While our peppers are amazing – and often hotter than they should be – none are Hatch Chilies. Maybe we’ll try growing some Big Jim Chilies next year simply for their size. However; I only know of three ways to get fresh Hatch Chilies. You could travel to New Mexico and shop the Farmer’s Markets when the peppers are in season; you could order Hatch Chilies on line and have them shipped to you from a certified grower or if you are very lucky, in August or September you just might find them in your grocery store.
However you find them, grab ’em when you can. Most of all, enjoy!
Spicy Hatch Chili Tacos
Roasted Hatch Chilies
1/4 Red Onion
3 Hatch Chilies
Olive Oil as needed
Cut a quarter section of a red onion from the rest of the onion. Reserve the larger onion for another use. Peel and cut remaining quarter into thin slivers, set aside.
Stem hatch chili peppers. Cut each pepper in half lengthwise. Thinly slice peppers, set aside.
Heat a cast iron griddle over medium high heat. Lightly oil griddle. Scatter onions and peppers over the griddle. Roast mixture until tender and slightly blackened. Keep warm until ready to use.
1 lb Ground Beef
1 lb Chorizo
2 tablespoons Taco Seasoning
In a large cast iron skillet, crumble the ground beef and chorizo meat together. Over medium-high heat, brown the meat mixture, breaking it into small pieces as it browns. DO NOT DRAIN right away. Add seasonings to absorb some of the fat (it’s packed with flavor).
Transfer meat to a colander that is inside a large bowl to catch the grease. (This prevents the unwanted grease from going down the sink and making a mess of your pipes. Once drained, simply discard grease into a can and toss). Using a wooden spoon, stir the meat while in the colander to drain completely without squeezing out the good stuff. Once meat has completely drained, return to the skillet. If there are any large pieces remaining, break them into small pieces.
Keep filling warm until ready to use.
1 cup Shredded Lettuce
4 medium Ripe Tomatoes
Mexican Cheese Blend
Sour Cream as desired
12 soft Corn Tortilla Shells
Cooking Spray as needed
To shred lettuce, stack leaves, roll tight (like a cigar) and slice thin. Perfect every time!
Finely dice tomatoes. If tomatoes are extra juicy, pat dry to absorb some of the juices.
Have shredded cheese and sour cream at the ready.
Heat a flat griddle over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray. Lightly spray both sides of corn tortilla and quick fry to soften shell. Stack in a shallow dish or tortilla dish and repeat until all the tortillas are soft-fried.
To Assemble: Spread sour cream on each tortilla. Add meat filling, hatch chilies, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes and cheese. Fold soft shell over the filling, serve and enjoy.
Great with a side of Spicy Refried Beans. Just don’t forget the Margaritas!