What are Hatch Green Chilies?
True Hatch Chiles are a seasonal treat, that is unique to the state of New Mexico in the town of Hatch. Grown in a fertile valley of the Rio Grande, the soil is rich in vitamins and minerals from ocean beds formed long ago. The climate of this South Western region creates spring and summer days that are hot followed by dark cold nights, due to its high elevation. All these unique growing conditions combine to make the perfect terroir for chili pepper plants. These environmental advantages make the Hatch Chile so special and sot after. The amazing flavors from these growing conditions result in the chile peppers’ flesh being thick, fruity, earthy with just the perfect amount of heat or Scoville (SHU). This is why I wanted to find these Hatch Green Chilies and make a Hatch Chili Verde Mother Sauce recipe.
Mollie Stone’s Market, a grocery store chain in the Bay Area, brought in Melissa’s Produce. They came with 4 different types of fresh Hatch Green Chili Peppers, two chili roasters, and lots of other Hatch chili pepper products for sale. The Hatch chili pepper starts green and will turn red if left on the plant longer, giving them more heat and flavor, as they fully ripen. The Scoville heat units or SHU for the 6 varieties of Hatch chilies range from 1,000 – 12,000 SHU. From Melissa’s Produce, they divide the heat leaves and sell a Mild, Medium, Hot, and Extra Hot. For reference, a jalapeño chili pepper has a 5,000 SHU rating. This year, Mollie Stone’s is offering a pre-order for Hatch Chile, already roasted and ready for pickup. Check out their site for dates and store locations!
For the varieties of Hatch chili peppers, the most available variety is the Anaheim pepper. While only true Hatch chilies peppers can be called Hatch if they are grown in the Rio Grande, the seeds and origins are very similar. Pueblo chile, Rio Grande chile, Big Jim, and other varieties are available and look very similar in size and shape. Usually, these chili peppers are between 6 – 9 inches long and come green when fresh. Dried red Hatch chilies are available the rest of the year and sometimes can be found in a wreath or decorative braid.
How to Make Hatch Chili Verde Mother Sauce:
To make a Hatch Chili Verde Mother Sauce, I got fire-roasted green chilies. I went with more of a mild | medium heat chili, to be able to add more chili peppers to the sauce, capturing as much of their essence. The fire roasting helps caramelize the flavors of the peppers and makes peeling off their skin a lot easier. If you don’t have access to a chili roasted, place the peppers over an open flame (if you have a gas range), rotating periodically, to evenly roast all the sides of the peppers. This can be done over a gas or charcoal grill, a gas stove burner in one’s kitchen, or using a propane | butane torch, fitted with a SEARZALL | Stainless Steel Culinary Torch Attachment.
If Hatch Green Chiles aren’t available in your area, they can be bought online and in some stores. They can be found in a can or in jars, already roasted, peeled, and seeded. These two varieties are convenient and will last in your pantry for a while. They are also pretty close to the freshly roasted Hatch Green Chilies, roasted for you. Some grocery stores sell frozen bags of pre-roasted Hatch Chiles, that can also be used. As this is a homemade Chile Verde recipe, you can use Hatch Green Chilies or substitute a mix of Anaheim chilies, poblano | pasilla peppers with jalapeño to extra kick of flavor | heat.
Roasted tomatillos are another key flavoring in this recipe. Tomatillos (Physalis philadelphica and Physalis ixocarpa) come in two colors, green and purple-green. They are wrapped like a present with a thin papery skin, with the fruit being slightly sticky underneath. Add the tomatillos to a bowl filled with water to help easily remove the skin and remove that stickiness. To increase the layers of flavor, roasting them under a broiler, not only darkens the skin but creates depth and rounds out the tartness of these green tomatoes. Caramelized yellow onions, roasted garlic, cumin, coriander, cilantro, and oregano round out this South Western mother sauce, finishing with a touch of lime for acid and extra balance. The finished sauce has a great blend of sweet, heat, and sour, combined with the flavors that the Hatch chile brings to the dish.
Hatch Chili Verde Mother Sauce Uses:
Once this mother sauce is made, it can be served over a ton of different proteins, vegetables and used as a mother sauce. I’ve slightly modified this recipe to create a Homemade Chicken Chile Verde Recipe and a Homemade Pork Chile Verde recipe, as this sauce is vegetarian | vegan in nature. You can use this Hatch Chili Verde Mother Sauce as a base to poach eggs in, creating a South Western Style Shakshuka. Try this sauce in enchiladas, making a Hatch Green Chili Enchiladas, using either chicken, duck, pork, grilled | roasted vegetables, or frozen, thawed, and roasted tofu (for more texture to the finished tofu). Intensify the flavor of the seasonal peppers by stuffing some roasted and seeded Hatch Green Chilies with a blend of Monterey Jack (or pepper jack), Oaxaca, and fresh queso fresco cheeses, pouring over the sauce and baking them in a 350°F | 177°C until the sauce is bubbling about 25 minutes.
Try using this recipe as a dip, for tortillas (flour or corn), poured over chips to make nachos, make tacos, or a wet burrito…
This mother sauce can be used to make a Green Chile Stew, Green Chile Pozole, Hatch Green Chili Tamales, and Chilaquiles! One Facebook friend used this Hatch Green Chile Recipe and poured it over carnitas, to serve for dinner. He took the amount of Hatch Green Roasted Chilies and doubled it, reduced the water | stock, to create a thicker sauce, that could be easily adapted to create these other recipe ideas.
Just a few ideas on how to use this delicious and seasonal recipe. Try canning or freezing this recipe in serving-size portions, stored for a longer period of time, making an easy and scrumptious weeknight dinner.
Hatch Chili Verde Mother Sauce Recipe Variations:
- If you can’t find true Hatch Chilies, you can substitute them with a blend of poblano peppers, Anaheim peppers, cubanelle peppers, with a few jalapeño peppers adding in for heat.
- Depending on your level of ideal heat, use a combination of mild, medium, hot and extra hot Hatch chilies to get the desired spiciness.
- If you like to cook with beer, use beer instead of water | stock | broth, to add a unique twist and flavor to this recipe. Try using lower hopped ales and lagers, such as an American Brown Ale (increasing the flavor of roasted chilies by using the kilned malted barley), Vienna Lager (the Mexican Lager with a smooth malty undertone), Chili Beer (complementing the chili flavors and heat used in the brew), to a Gose (playing with the tartness of tomatillos and the lime juice, from the kettle-soured ale).
- Avocado leaves may be added to the recipe, bringing an extra level of herbaceousness to the recipe, adding more of that Hispanic undertone. Just make sure, to either purée them with what you blend or remove them before serving.
- While tomatilloes are the traditional ingredient to craft a Chile Verde sauce, one could use green tomatoes. There comes a point when you might have more tomatoes than you know what to do with… Or that will get ripe enough to eat. Why not use green tomatoes as a substitute?!?! A slightly more Southern version of the classic South Western version.
Ideas on How To Use This Hatch Chili Verde Mother Sauce Recipe:
- Hatch Green Chile Shakshuka (baked eggs in Chili Verde)
- Homemade Pork Chile Verde
- Pour over beer brined pork chops, that have been grilled | smoked | roasted.
- Homemade Chicken Chile Verde Recipe
- Use as a salsa, for chips, or nachos
- Make burritos | tacos | enchiladas | quesadillas with it
- Mix in grilled or roasted vegetables (squash, zucchini, red onions, eggplant, asparagus, mushrooms, tomatoes) to make a soup | stew
Makes: about a gallon of Hatch Chili Verde Mother Sauce
Serves: 8 – 10 guests