Hooray! Its time to Hatch!Chileheads can celebrate the arrival of the annual crop of Hatch chiles this week. Look for several local festivals and special Hatch-themed menu items to get underway the next few days.Touted as the chile capital of the world, Hatch is located in southern New Mexico, less than an hour from Las Cruces. The villages late-summer harvests lead to Hatch chile festivals across the country, when everything from pork shoulder to ice cream can be found infused with the palatable, not-too-piquant pepper.While the season is short, carrying over into September if were lucky, the chiles freeze well when roasted, and many home cooks designate August as Hatch chile roasting-and-storing month.Stock up now on the popular pod, long and skinny with varying levels of heat, and use these recipes and roasting tips from local chefs to celebrate the Hatch for weeks to come. Chop House BurgersKenny Mills, chef and ownerKenny Mills likes to build a mesquite wood fire when its time to roast Hatch chiles. He says he prefers the woods flavor above other varieties, plus it burns hotter.You get a quick blister on the outside, he says. It makes it easy to prepare the peppers. Once hes blistered, peeled and sliced them, Mills stores the roasted chiles in plastic quart containers, convenient for removing individual portions when needed. Store them for the long haul in freezer bags, he says, or dice the chiles and freeze them in ice cube trays. He also throws the chile cubes in freezer bags for ready-made portions to stir into soups, sauces or New Mexico-style enchiladas the last of which he makes a version of here via a Hatch chile enchilada burger topped with an over-easy egg.Olivers Fine FoodsTodd Bush, chef and ownerGourmet grocery and deli Olivers Fine Foods boasts more than 150 recipes for seasonal and specialty sausages, all of which are made in-house and offered throughout the year. Owner Todd Bushs biggest tip for sausage-making: Everything has to be cold. Even the equipment needs to be chilled.Patrons will find Bushs Hatch chile sausage available in the store this month. And you might get inspired and break out the KitchenAid sausage grinding and stuffing attachments to make your own, using his recipe. Grill the finished sausage or boil with onions, jalapeños and chipotle peppers in a South American or Texas beer, Bush says. Regarding the roasting process, Bush throws them atop gas burners until theyre black on all sides, then peels them when theyve cooled.Central MarketCentral Markets 19th annual Hatch Chile Festival kicks off Aug. 6. This years fiery festivities include a Revolver Brewing launch event on the patio of the Fort Worth store 5:30-8 p.m. Thursday; the local brewery will release its new High Brass beer, which will be poured along with other Revolver favorites while the Central Market food truck sells Hatch-infused items. Stop by the Growler Bar inside the Fort Worth stores beer and wine department during the first week of the festival to sample pepper-infused beers.Among the lineup of classes will be one taught by chef Marcus Paslay of Clay Pigeon Food & Drink, who prepares Hatch chile crab cakes and a chocolate ganache Hatch chile tart at the Fort worth store Aug. 14 ($65, 6:30-9 p.m.). In Southlake, a Tequila and Hatch Chile Fusion class Aug. 16 ($55, 4-6:30 p.m.) will focus on recipes for Hatch chile-spiked shrimp cocktail, tequila-lime-marinated chicken, papas rellenas and tequila Key lime pie.Visit all Central Market stores through Aug. 19 to load up on the piquant New Mexico chiles, which can be roasted on-site, as well as Hatch chile-infused products like queso, pasta sauce, tortillas and cookies. Here is a recipe for a Hatch-spiked chocolate Key lime pie that came out tops in a Central Market Hatch chile recipe contest a few years ago. Stephanie Allmon contributed to this report.
Hatch chile enchilada burger
• 1/2 cup dark chili powder
• 1 cup vegetable oil
• 2 6-inch corn tortillas
• 6-ounce hamburger patty (chef Kenny Mills likes to mix in shredded smoked brisket.)
• 2 teaspoons chili powder
• Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
• 1/2 cup grated mixed cheese
• 2 hamburger buns
• 2-3 leaves lettuce
• 1-2 sliced tomatoes
• 1/4 small onion, shredded
• 1/4 avocado, sliced
• 1 egg, cooked over-easy
• 1/4 cup roasted Hatch green chiles, thinly sliced
1. Heat dark chili powder and oil in a skillet. Lightly fry one tortilla at a time until it just starts to bubble. Flip and fry for a couple seconds more and remove to a paper towel-covered plate. Keep tortillas covered. (Remaining oil may be used for additional tortillas.)
2. Rub the patty with 2 teaspoons chili powder and place on hot grill. Season with salt and pepper. Grill patty to desired temperature, then top with cheese. Place patty in preheated oven to melt cheese.
Assembly: Toast hamburger buns and layer the bottom bun with lettuce, sliced tomatoes, shredded onions, prepared corn tortillas and the patty with melted cheese. Add avocado and egg and finish with roasted Hatch chiles.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 1,222 calories, 91 grams fat, 62 grams carbohydrates, 44 grams protein, 357 milligrams cholesterol, 640 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber, 66 percent of calories from fat.
— Chop House Burgers, 1700 W. Park Row Drive, Suite 116, Arlington, 817-459-3700, and 2860 Texas 157, Suite 100, Mansfield, 817-453-8566; www.chophouseburgers.com
Let’s Hatch it out over cocoa Key lime pie
• 1 1/2 cups shortbread, processed into crumbs (recommended: Central Market brand)
• 1/3 cup granulated sugar
• 1/8 teaspoon Hatch chile powder
• 4 tablespoons butter, melted
• 2 14-ounce cans condensed milk
• 1/2 cup Key lime juice
• 2 eggs
• 2 egg yolks
• 1 teaspoon cocoa powder, sifted
• 1/4 teaspoon Hatch chile powder
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• Zest from one lime
• 1 cup heavy whipping cream
• 1/8 teaspoon Hatch chile powder
• 1 tablespoon orange zest
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, mix shortbread crumbs, sugar, Hatch chile powder and butter with your hands. Press the mixture firmly into a 9-inch pie pan, and bake until brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees.
2. In a separate bowl, combine all filling ingredients. Whisk until well blended and place in the cooled pie shell. Bake 15 minutes, then allow pie to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
3. Once pie is chilled, whisk heavy cream, Hatch chili powder and orange zest until peaks form. Place cream in a plastic freezer bag, cut a small hole in bottom at one corner and pipe cream around edge of pie.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 615 calories, 31 grams fat, 76 grams carbohydrates, 12 grams protein, 196 milligrams cholesterol, 295 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber, 44 percent of calories from fat.
— Central Market, 4651 West Freeway, Fort Worth, 817-989-4700, and 1425 E. Southlake Blvd., Southlake, 817-310-5600; www.centralmarket.com
Hatch chiles at Blue Mesa
Blue Mesa restaurants kicked off their 18th annual Hatch Chile Festival on Tuesday and will continue serving special menu items through September. Look for three kinds of chile rellenos, pozole, stacked chicken and cheese enchiladas, a Hatch brownie sundae and more.
Hatch buffet dinners will take place 5-9 p.m. Aug. 13 and Sept. 10 at all five Blue Mesa locations (including Fort Worth and Arlington). Both dinners will feature a spread of chile menu specials including the festival cocktail, the pineapple-Hatch margarita, and will offer a cash bar. Price is $16 per person. For more information, visit www.bluemesagrill.com.
Hatch chile sausage
Makes 2 1/4 pounds
• 1 1/4 pounds beef chuck, diced
• 3 slices bacon, diced
• 1 pound pork butt, diced
• 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
• 1 tablespoon kosher salt
• 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
• 3/4 teaspoon dried sage
• 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1/2 cup roasted Hatch chiles, diced
• 1/8 cup cold water
• Hog casings, 32-34 millimeters in size (found at Gander Mountain, Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops)
1. Chill sausage grinding and stuffing equipment for 1 hour before use.
2. Combine all diced meat in a bowl and chill for one hour.
3. Combine red pepper, salt, sugar, black pepper, sage, thyme, cayenne pepper and chiles with water. Fold into meat mixture.
4. Grind and stuff hog casings and twist. Rest overnight before preparation.
Nutritional analysis per 1/4-pound serving: 255 calories, 17 grams fat, 1 gram carbohydrates, 23 grams protein, 82 milligrams cholesterol, 819 milligrams sodium, trace dietary fiber, 61 percent of calories from fat.
— Oliver’s Fine Foods, 415 Throckmorton St., Fort Worth, 817-744-7980, and 2751 E. Broad St., Mansfield, 682-518-6339; www.oliversfinefoods.com