‘Tis the season for one of the Southwest’s most-anticipated flavors to return to the forefront of kitchens and restaurants alike, and we have to say … we’re pretty excited.
That’s right, it’s Hatch chile season.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Hatch chile, they are directly related to Anaheim peppers, but instead are grown in New Mexico’s Hatch Valley. Some are mild, with heat levels similar to Anaheim or poblano peppers, but others can be as hot as their smaller serrano counterparts.
Hatch aficionados believe the New Mexico soil and climate cause these peppers to be more flavorful and spicier than the widely distributed Anaheim peppers. Unlike Anaheim peppers, Hatch chile have one growing season per year and are harvested each August and September.
These spicy, versatile peppers are essentially treated like their own food group in Texas, and what better way to celebrate their existence than an entire festival?
From August 9 to 22, Central Market’s 22nd-Annual Hatch Chile Festival will transform each location into a “Land of EnHATCHment,” where you can find an extensive roundup of pre-packaged Hatch products and fresh Hatch fare. This year, the lineup includes Hatch dark chocolate, Hatch popcorn, Hatch beer, and Absinthe & Hatch salami.
Photo courtesy of Central Market
Take a trip to the bakery for items such as cheddar Hatch pepper bread or Hatch sourdough, or visit the deli counter to snag some Hatch tamales, Hatch crab cakes, and Hatch-stuffed chicken breasts.
In celebration of the return of the Hatch chile, below are some tips from our friends at Central Market on how to pick, roast and store your chiles.
Photo courtesy of Central Market
How to Roast & Store Hatch Chiles By: Central Market *We recommend that you wear gloves while working with Hatch Chiles.
You can roast chiles either over a grill or in your broiler oven. Be sure to puncture the skin with a fork or knife before roasting to a golden brown on both sides.
Oven-roasted chile is as close to flame-roasted as you can get. Preheat your oven to 425°. Place chiles in oven for 15-20 minutes until soft. When roasted, the chile skins will begin to blister. Allow peppers to “sweat” a while before you peel them to use in a recipe.
Then peel the skin and serve, or add to your favorite recipe.
If you are going to freeze your roasted Hatch peppers, allow to cool completely. We recommend leaving skins on and seeds and veins intact. So much of the pepper flavor is in the skins and seeds, so leaving this on should give you a more flavorful pepper after thawing. Simply slip 4 to 5 whole peppers into a freezer ziplock baggie, squeezing the excess air out as you zip the bag shut. These can be stored in your freezer to use all year long, until the next Hatch season rolls around.
It’s easy to peel your roasted Hatch peppers by laying the whole pepper flat on a cutting board. Holding the stem with one hand and running the sharp edge of a knife across the skin will scrape the charred skin right off.
Note: Some folks like to skin (and even chop) their peppers prior to freezing. They say that it makes it easier and quicker to add to recipes.
This year, we had the pleasure of visiting Central Market to taste some recipes in which you can utilize these potent peppers.
Hatch Pepper Simple Syrup Ingredients: *8 Hatch peppers, chopped with seeds removed
*1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
*1 cup water
Directions: In a large saucepan, dissolve 1 cup sugar in 1 cup water over medium heat. When sugar is dissolved, bring to medium-high heat and add Hatch peppers. After 3 to 5 minutes (peppers should be flexible but not soft), remove from heat and steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain peppers, reserving liquid as the syrup.
Hatch Pepper Sweet Tea
Ingredients: *1/2 liter strong black tea
*1/4 to 1/2 cup Hatch pepper simple syrup
*Juice of two lemons
*1 bunch mint, lightly crushed
*Sugar, to taste
Directions: In a large pitcher, combine 1/4 cup Hatch simple syrup with tea — stir to mix thoroughly. Add lemon juice and mint, then add iced water to desired strength. Use additional Hatch syrup and sugar to reach desired heat and sweetness. Serve with a garnish of mint and lemon.
Summer is around the corner, and we’re looking forward to backyard cookouts and bright, flavorful cuisine.
This season, Central Market is celebrating the South with its “Taste the South” event from May 17 to 30.
In stores, you’ll find a curated selection of artisan products from the Southern United States — from Carolina Blue Crab to Carolina Gold Rice Pudding.
In addition, the Chef’s Case will be transformed into a Southern showcase featuring Brunswick Stew, Hoppin’ John with Carolina Gold Rice, collard greens, Southern ham, pickled okra, boiled peanuts and Frogmore Stew just to name a few.
The event will also bring an incredible lineup of James Beard Award-winning chefs to the Central Market Cooking School. You can find a schedule of classes here.
To get in the spirit, we’re sharing with you a couple of Southern recipes that are perfect for your next summer potluck.
Ingredients: *1/4 cupapple cider vinegar *2tablespoonssugar *1teaspoonDijon mustard *1/4teaspoonmustard powder *1/4teaspooncelery seed *2tablespoonscanola oil *1/4largegreen cabbage (about 1 lb)cored and finely shredded (about 3 cups) *1/4largered cabbage (about 1 lb)cored and finely shredded (about 3 cups) *1largecarrotgrated *1green oniontrimmed and chopped *1/2jalapeñocored, seeded, and chopped *2tablespoonsfresh flat-leaf parsley,chopped *Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions: 1. In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard, mustard powder, and celery seed. Heat over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool slightly. Add the oil and whisk to combine.
2. In a large bowl, combine the green and red cabbage, carrot, green onion, jalapeño, and parsley and toss to combine. Pour over the reserved slightly cooled dressing. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until chilled, about 15 minutes. Toss, taste and adjust for seasoning again, then serve immediately.
Instructions: 1. Bring canner half-full with water to a boil; simmer. Meanwhile, place jars in a large stockpot with water to cover; bring to a boil, and simmer. Place bands and lids in a large saucepan with water to cover; bring to a boil, and simmer. Remove hot jars, 1 at a time, using jar lifter.
2. Pack okra into hot jars, filling to 1⁄2 inch from top. Place 1 pepper, 1 garlic clove, and 1 teaspoon dill seeds in each jar. Bring vinegar, salt, sugar, and 4 cups water to a boil over medium-high heat. Pour over okra, filling to 1⁄2 inch from top.
3. Wipe jar rims; cover at once with metal lids, and screw on bands (snug but not too tight). Place jars in canning rack, and place in simmering water in canner. Add additional boiling water as needed to cover by 1 to 2 inches.
4. Bring water to a rolling boil; boil 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool jars in canner 5 minutes. Transfer jars to a cutting board; cool 12 to 24 hours. Test seals of jars by pressing center of each lid. If lids do not pop, jars are properly sealed. Store in a cool, dry place at room temperature up to 1 year.
Looking for something new to do with your partner? Try taking a culinary class! Whether you’re a self-proclaimed gourmand, or simply looking to dip your toe in the water of the culinary world, here are some courses you can find in North Texas. They may cost a small fee, but the memories will last a lifetime.
1. Mozzarella Company Situated in Deep Ellum, the Mozzarella Company is a bustling cheese factory that produces almost 200,000 pounds of cheese a year. What better place to learn about cheese than from the experts? The Mozzarella Company offers three classes perfect for any cheese enthusiast: wine and cheese pairing, beer and cheese pairing, or hands-on cheesemaking. To see the schedule, click here. To make a reservation, call 214-741-4072 or email email@example.com.
2. Central Market Gourmet grocer Central Market offers a wide variety of classes at its various Texas locations. Learn how to make sauces, gumbo, or Korean BBQ from cooking school staff, or hone your knife skills and the latest cooking techniques. But wait…there’s more! Central Market also invites special culinary guests and celebrity chefs to teach various classes, so be sure to keep an eye on your nearest location’s calendar.
3. Sur La Table Popular cooking retail store Sur La Table has a few locations across North Texas. While you may just be familiar with the store as a place to shop for kitchen items, each location also offers many different in-store cooking courses. Learn to make sweet treats like doughnuts, crêpes, or macarons, or opt for a culinary escape with courses centered around Thai food or Spanish tapas. The calendar is quite extensive, so you’ll be sure to find something in your budget on a date that’s right for you. Call your local Sur La Table for more details.
4. Kenichi – Ken’s Sushi Class
This modern sushi restaurant in Dallas’ Victory Park neighborhood offers sushi rolling classes once to twice a month. For $45, enjoy appetizers before learning to make a California, Spicy Tuna, or Veggie roll from Chef Ken McCullough. Classes are usually on Tuesdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. For more information and to stay in-the-know for when classes are offered, follow Kenichi on Facebook. You can find upcoming classes or book a reservation on Kenichi’s Eventbrite page.
5. Stoney’s Wine Lounge Wine Pairing This charming wine bar and lounge in the heart of Lakewood offers three wine pairing classes each week. The hour-long class is taught by owner Stoney Savage himself, and covers what to look for in wines that pair well with food. You’ll even learn about the various grape categories and what foods each one is known to pair with. The ticket price includes a tasting of six wines and seven bites such as nuts, chocolate, cheese, and sausage. Classes are offered at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays, and 6 p.m. on Saturdays. Purchase two tickets for $24 on Groupon.com, and then call 214-953-3067 to reserve your spot. An additional $8 per person is due upon arrival.