How to Own Central Market's Hatch Chile Fest

Categories: Eat This

hatch_lensch.jpg
Teresa Lensch
Central Market's Hatch Chile Festival ends on August 19, and I almost missed it. But I have refocused on the important things and I'm ready to go. Like a latch-key kid whose parents are out for bowling night, I'm going to live it up and have what I want for dinner, and that's gonna be Hatch.

Everything I can get my hands on (for 50 bucks or less): I just supermarket-sweeped the closest CM and came home clutching bags filled with my own version of a 3-course Hatch Chile extravaganza.

Sitting on my living room floor and using my ottoman as a table, I get started. For my appetizer, I throw some Firehook Hatch Chile baked crackers on the plate and spoon on some Hatch Chile Jalapeno Jam from Robert Rothschild. And popcorn. I know it's reminiscent of Snoopy's Thanksgiving dinner, but I am a grownup and I can do what I want.

The crackers are fresh and crispy with quality salt and pepper. And that jam has a tasty slow burn. The popcorn (Gary Poppins White Cheddar + Hatch Chile) is abundantly seasoned but won't come close to making you sweat like the jam does. Let's call it a palate cleanser.

The main dish is Central Market "Chef's Special" sushi. I don't see Hatch anywhere on the label (or any identifying ingredients at all), but ye ask and ye shall be told by the chef, "Yes. We do have a hatch roll. There it is." And here it is. It's fresh and has some flavor, and I believe those are little pieces of hatch chiles on top. Like any other roll, I pretty much drown it in wasabi-greened soy sauce. Apologies to the chef.

Sushi finished, I move on to the dessert course: Firehook Hatch Chile Brownie Bark washed down with Spicy Hatch Green Chile blend by Katz Coffee, a Texas company. The bark is crunchy and burns my taste buds in a good way, and the coffee has a nice shadow of spice without feeling too peppery. I eat way too many pieces of bark and lie back against my couch.

I've got one item left: the Fire & Ice Sorbet from Savoy Sorbet, based in Houston. I tear into that carton with the biggest spoon I can find -- a serving ladle -- because I can, because I'm a grownup. It's got whispers of each freakishly perfect flavor (hatch, lime, thyme and tequila) and its smooth iciness relieves me of all of the heat from the other dishes.

Hatch extravaganza accomplished. I'm full. Now excuse me while I watch some rated R movies and toilet-paper my neighbor's house.


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7 comments
G_David
G_David

Hatch mac and cheese from the chef's case.  You still have time.

jacobtaylor0505
jacobtaylor0505

The glaring omission here is that you missed the Wackym's hatch chocolate chip cookies.

robdewalt
robdewalt

Are the lower-case mentions of Hatch to designate chile that isn't from Hatch, New Mexico? Hatch is a place where chile comes from. There is no distinct Hatch variety of the pepper. So I wonder, sometimes, if people are really getting what they think they're paying for. — Rob, Santa Fe, NM

ColonelAngus
ColonelAngus

2 10-lb. bags of freshly roasted chiles

2 Giant Ziploc freezer bags

2 boxes of Ziploc sandwich bags


Place 3 - 5 chiles in each sandwich bag and seal.  Place the filled sandwich bags in the giant bags, seal, and put in the freezer.  Whenever you need some nice hatch to cook with, remove a sandwich bag or two and thaw.  20 lbs. usually lasts us almost a year.  Enjoy!

Snoozechamp
Snoozechamp

Intentionally went for the brownie bark because I hadn't seen it advertised. A million times.

ColonelAngus
ColonelAngus

@robdewalt  Hi Rob.  I am not from NM, but I do plan to go to the Hatch Chile Festival one of these years.  We have bought Hatch chiles every August for more than a decade because we love the distinct flavor that is superior to all other chiles, at least to our palates.  I can tell Hatch peppers immediately just from their smell.  According to some interweb research I did years ago, the unique flavor and odor are due to the soil in and around Hatch (city) where the peppers are grown.  While I understand the same pepper varieties are grown elsewhere, there is nothing like the real deal.

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