If you’re not familiar with Hatch chiles, now is the time to befriend this fine ingredient. Central Market is currently holding the Annual Hatch Chile Festival, during which the store is bathed in Hatch goodies and the cooking school is themed accordingly.
In the New Mexican Hatch Brunch class, Chef Kathy Tauber, not only taught some great recipes, but gave lots of Hatch info and tips. Spending several years living in New Mexico, Chef Tauber knows her chiles. She described Hatch harvest time as “better than Christmas” for the residents of New Mexico who are “chile stoned” for a few weeks. Here’s a few Hatch facts/tips:
- Hatch chiles are never eaten raw. To roast them, place over a hot flame (gas stove or grill) to blister the skin. If an open flame is not available, a 450˚ oven will also work. Skin will be blackened, but do not burn, as the flesh of the chile will have a burned flavor. If the chile smells burned, it is! Place blistered chiles in a bowl, cover with a damp towel and steam for several minutes. Massage the skin off and voila! Want an easier solution? Buy the already roasted ones at your local HEB or Central Market through August 30th.
- The seeds are where the majority of the heat lies in the chile. To remove seeds, split chile in half and use the back of your knife to scrape seeds. DO NOT ever run a chile under water. The flavor of the chile is in the oils, so rinsing a chile will remove some of the flavor.
- Chiles can easily be frozen. Good news, since Hatch chiles are only available for a few weeks! After roasting peppers, get ready to freeze. Don’t stack chiles directly on top of each other; layer with parchment. Seal well and you can have Hatch for 6 months! Remember, the longer the chiles sit in the freezer, the hotter they become. Don’t say you haven’t been warned!
Onto the food! Our menu consisted of: Salsa Fresca with Blue Corn Chips, Chilaquiles with Chicken & Green Chile Salsa, Green Chile Quiche, Chile Glazed Bacon, Cheese Grits, and Capirotada, a traditional dessert. If I were to describe every recipe we enjoyed, this post would be extremely lengthy…and, since some of the items on the menu were accompaniments that did not actually contain Hatch chiles, I’ll focus on my favorite Hatch items of the evening; the Green Chile Quiche.
GREEN CHILE QUICHE – serves 6-8
Tart Shell – Pàte Brissée
4 dipped and leveled 1/3 cups flour
1 egg, room temperature
Pinch of salt
¼ pound of butter, cold, sliced in pieces
2 tablespoons ice water
1 egg yolk, beaten (for egg wash)
1. Preheat oven to 350˚.
2. Place flour in the bowl of a food processor. Add egg and begin to pulse. Add butter, one piece at a time and mix until pastry begins to form crumbles then comes into a ball, releasing from the sides of the bowl. If not moist enough, drizzle dough with a bit of ice water. Dough should be moist but not mushy. DO NOT ADD ALL THE WATER at one time. Water should only be used if dough seems too dry. As soon as dough releases from sides, stop.
3. Remove from bowl and form into a smooth ball. On a floured surface, take the ball, and with the palm of hand, push dough away from you. This is brisée and finishes incorporating all the flour and butter. Reform the ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 1 hour.
4. Remove and roll to fit a 13-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Rolled dough should be the thickness of a pie crust. Place rolled dough over tart pan. Gently drop into pan and mold around edges. Trim top edges.
5. Bake blind: Place foil on bottom of shell and top with dried beans. Bake for 10 minutes.
6. Carefully remove tart from oven, remove foil with beans. Return to oven and bake 5-10 minutes more. Tart should be lightly golden.
7. Remove from oven and let cool. Brush bottom with beaten egg yolk, creating an egg wash which will seal the bottom.
1 large garlic clove
¾ teaspoon salt
1 pound mild New Mexican (Hatch) green chiles, roasted, peeled and seeded
6 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
½ cup Mexican crema or heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely grated white onion
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ pound Monterey Jack cheese, coarsely grated (2-3 cups)
1. Put oven rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 375˚. Place prepared tart shell in a foil-lined shallow baking dish.
2. Mince garlic. Add salt and mast to a paste using the side of a large knife or a mortar and pestle. Whisk together eggs, milk, crema, onion, garlic paste and pepper in a large bowl until combined. Pour into pastry shell. Do not overflow; some egg mixture may be left over.
3. Cut chiles into 1/3-inch-wide strips (rajas). Sprinkle cheese and chiles over the custard. Chiles may sink a bit.
4. Bake until custard is set, 50-60 minutes. Center will jiggle a bit, but will set as it cools. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool for 20 minutes. Remove bottom and slice. May be served warm or at room temperature.
*Quiche can be made one day ahead and reheated, uncovered, in a 325˚ oven for about 25 minutes.
The tart shell was, for time’s sake, already made for us, so this was a super easy, super delicious quiche. How can anything with garlic, eggs, whole milk, cream, onion, cheese and, of course, Hatch peppers, be bad? This was a fairly thin quiche, loaded with mildly spicy peppers, and covered in lots of cheese, resulting in a bubbly, crust of cheese on top. YUM!
As I stated, making this in a tart pan resulted in a fairly thin quiche. Next time I make this I’ll use a more traditional quiche approach, using a pie crust and a regular pie plate. And, if you really want to cheat, which I probably will, use one of those Pillsbury pie crusts and you’ll only be in this recipe for 20 minutes or so. How great is that? Whether you decide to make the recipe as listed or cheat like me, you can’t go wrong with this beauty! It’s a great breakfast or brunch item, but, paired with a green salad, it would make a great supper.
This was a very informative and, more importantly, fun class highlighting an ingredient with which I was not very familiar. If you can get some Hatch peppers before the 30th, stock up! If not, Chef Tauber indicated that Anaheim chiles could be substituted. And, if you do decide to whip up this quiche, let me know…I’ll be over to help you polish it off!
*Recipes courtesy of Kathy Tauber