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Honey I’m home. And I brought with me some frozen roasted Hatch chiles! Now how am I going to use these up?
Let’s start with these delicious Hatch Chile Green Chicken Enchiladas!
Where am I home from?
Santa Fe, New Mexico; where I spent a week accompanying my husband as he poured through the great wines of Chateau Montelena at the Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta. A fiesta designed to celebrate all things chile and of course great wines (some greater than others, but I’m also a little bit prejudiced).
If you can’t find Hatch chiles, don’t worry, you can substitute an Anaheim chile
Now silly me, when I first heard about this trip, I thought that there would be some killer chili served. That was before I paid attention to the name of the festival.
Chile being a vegetable, and Chili, being a big pot of meat and spices (beans or not). But I did make a new friend; in the Hatch chile.
And I found a new place to love.
It’s the TERROIR!
I hadn’t really thought about it that much; but if wines taste different because of the terroir, why shouldn’t chiles? Why wouldn’t something grown in New Mexico, taste different than something grown in California, or Texas, or Kentucky?
Hatch chile refers to varieties of chiles that are grown in the Hatch Valley, an area stretching north and south along the Rio Grande from Arrey, New Mexico, in the north to Tonuco Mountain to the south of Hatch, New Mexico.
The soil and growing conditions in the Hatch Valley create a unique terroir which contributes to the flavor of chile grown there. The chile is a little more smokey than a California chile, which is also due to their quick process of immediately charring and freezing them. Hatch chiles are very delicate and do not transport well, that’s why they process them quickly. You can find many roadside stands during the growing season; roasting the chiles away in large drums. It’s quite dramatic to see, and very fragrant too.
Photo Credit chilitravelers.com
You can find fresh Hatch chiles in local stores; and as the official vegetable of New Mexico, in many tasty dishes.
All good. But my recipe for Hatch Chile Green Chicken Enchiladas is BETTER.
Hatch chiles run the Scoville scale from mild to hot, to super hot…so be sure to taste the heat before you add them to your dish.
Can’t find Hatch chiles? Well, you can buy them online; but they are pretty expensive. And not all that claim to be Hatch are really Hatch. You could also use the chile from the other terroir. The California Anaheim Chile. Or a Poblano chile to make this recipe. If you use Anaheim, I would add a jalapeño to the mix to give it a bit more heat.
I took the shortcut and used a canned green enchilada sauce; in my case, I did find one with the brand name Hatch. While it was tasty, it is not made with Hatch chiles, just green chiles, and jalapeños, so I would say use whatever brand you like best.
Since my peppers were already roasted; I only had to peel, seed and dice them. If you have to roast your peppers, the prep time will not reflect the roasting, resting time. If you choose not to use fresh chiles, then you can buy canned chiles that are already prepared, such as Ortega brand.
In a skillet or sauté pan; heat the oil over medium-low heat; add the onions and garlic and sauté until tender and translucent; about 3 - 5 minutes. Add 3/4 of the chopped chiles and sauté for a minute longer; then add the chicken. Stir to combine. Sprinkle the flour, cumin, oregano and a pinch of salt over and cook, stirring for a minute or two to get rid of the raw flour flavor and incorporate the flour thoroughly into the mixture (it will appear very dry, don't worry). Now slowly add the chicken stock, while stirring; it will bubble and thicken. Let it cook for just a few minutes if it gets too thick add a little additional stock. You want the meat to be moist. Taste and adjust seasonings.
While the chicken is cooking, heat the tortillas in the oven and shred and crumble the cheeses. Set-aside.Open the sauces and pour into a bowl; stir in the remaining chiles.
Heat the oven to 375°F.Take a baking dish large enough to hold the tortillas once they medium-low; put a thin layer of sauce on the bottom. In the center of each tortilla place about 3 tablespoons (or as desired) of chicken mixture; then top with a bit of Monterey Jack and a sprinkle of Cotia. Roll and space the enchilada in the sauce, seam side down. Continue until you have used all the tortillas and chicken. (Some of each cheese SHOULD be remaining.)
Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas, taking care to cover them fully (otherwise you get really crunchy ends, if you like that then no worries, leave the dry); sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and place in the oven. Cook, uncovered for 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Place briefly under the broiler to brown the cheese. Let sit for 5 minutes, then serve on warm plates.
LindySez: We served this with the perfect salad; Papaya Butter-leaf Salad with Creamy Lime Dressing and a lovely off-dry (that means it wasn’t sweet) Riesling. It was lovely. Oh, and did I mention they have a lot of really pretty jewelry in Santa Fe and Taos? Well, they do.
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