Each year, as summer ends and fall arrives, over 30,000 people from around the world descend on the tiny town of Hatch, New Mexico—normal population: 2,000. The reason for the massive pilgrimage?
The infamous, mind-bending, exotic, intoxicating New Mexico Hatch green chile and the annual Hatch Chile Festival.
OK, it may not be all those things, but this wonderfully delicious chile offers a flavor profile that has sparked, and rightfully so, a devoted following like no other chile.
It has become a symbol for New Mexican culture. In fact, local legislators passed a law in 2012 that prohibits the sale of chile peppers with the label “New Mexican” unless actually grown in New Mexico. Only chile peppers grown in the town of Hatch can claim the eponymous moniker.
The secret to the popularity of the Hatch chile rests in its delightfully complex flavor profile.
In a raw state, the Hatch chile has a crisp, spicy flavor with undertones of pleasant earthiness. The pepper is greatly influenced by the local growing conditions—you might even say its terroir.
The real magic occurs when the chiles are roasted. Their natural flavors are intensified, transforming into a spicy, smoky, earthy, and even buttery explosion of flavor. The addition of a tangy component either through squeezed limes or bright vinegar takes the experience to a whole other level.
Hatch peppers are used in a wide variety of dishes not only in New Mexico but across the United States. They are used in soups, stews, sauces, and chilis. They are also popular stuffing chiles.
It comes as no surprise as the Hatch green chile has been used in all kinds of products; most of which are available to order and ship across the country.
We’ve curated a list of our favorite products so you can try this world famous chile from the comfort of your home.
1. Hatch Green Chile Seasoning
Looking for an easy way to spice up any dish? Order Hatch green chile seasoning. Made with 100% Hatch chile, this seasoning will deliver pure Hatch green chile flavor on demand. Mix into your go-to recipes or sprinkle on your favorite food.
Check out the spices and other Hatch products from the Hatch Chile Store—5th generation decedents of the first commercial chile farmer in Hatch, NM. You know we love supporting other multi-generational, family businesses.
Real talk: we could all use a little New Mexico Green Chile Spice in our lives.
2. Hatch Green Chile Salsa
Salsa is probably the most popular use of the Hatch green chile. It’s super easy to top any of your favorite foods from tortilla chips, to tacos, soups, and eggs. You really can’t go wrong.
We’ve tried what feels like every Hatch green chile salsa under the sun. To be honest, they are all really good. There was one, however, that stood out above the rest.
From humble beginnings at Brooklyn's renowned Smorgasburg Market, Zia Green Chile Company has become a leading brand known for introducing Hatch chile to the East Coast, along the way unearthing a large following of New Mexicans, Southwestern transplants, and new Hatch chile lovers.
We recommend trying them all, but if there’s one to start with, it’s Zia Hatch Chile.
3. Green Chile Jam
While we’re on the subject of condiments, green chile jam is an unexpected delight. A classic example of something we didn't know we couldn't live without.
Packed with layers of flavor, this spicy jam starts sweet and finishes with the perfect amount of heat. Perfect for tacos, tortilla chips, meats, biscuits and more! Our favorite way to enjoy the green chile jam is on pizza.
Bonus points that celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli gave the Green Chile Jam two thumbs up.
4. Green Chile Seeds
This one goes out to all the green thumbs.
While you won’t be able to claim New Mexican or Hatch green chile (reserved for those that come from that region), you can grow the very same clone in your backyard. Chile peppers are surprisingly easy to grow from seed. Seriously impress your friends with your very own green chile harvest right in your backyard.
Sandia Seed specializes in seeds for the famous Hatch green chile, Poblano, Big Jim and other green and red chiles.
5. Hatch Green Chile Pecans
Are you nuts for nuts?
These green chile-dusted pecans are a heat-lover’s delight. Coming from 50-year-old New Mexican pecan grower, Salopek Orchards, these nuts are rich, savory, and utterly snackable.
With Hatch green chiles and local nuts, Hatch Green Chile Pecans are a two-for-one New Mexican treat.
Confession: we finished the whole bag in one sitting.
6. Pre-Roasted Hatch Green Chile
What better way to enjoy authentic green chile flavor than with the roasted green chile itself? You have the option of purchasing fresh green chiles during peak Hatch chile season (September - October) OR roasted and frozen green chiles that can be enjoyed all year.
We recommend Fresh Chile Company, a family business that offers a range of Hatch green chile products. They work six days a week, 24 hours each day, when Hatch chile is available to process enough chile for the whole year. This allows them to offer fresher, redder, greener, and better chiles.
Miss the Hatch green chile season? No worries, you can purchase frozen Hatch green chiles for enjoyment all year round.
If you do decide to purchase fresh Hatch green chiles you’ll want to have some recipes ready to go. Here are a few of our favorites: green chile cheeseburger, green chile rice, or green chile enchiladas.
7. Hatch Green Tamales
Not quite the cooking type? No worries.
You can enjoy Hatch green chiles already prepped and ready to go in handmade tamales. The Hatch Chile Store offers frozen tamales that can be easily reheated for easy enjoyment. These tamales are made by hand in traditional New Mexican style. Each tamale is full of fluffy masa stuffed with delicious shredded chicken and Hatch green chile all wrapped up in a corn husk.
Tamales packed with green chiles is a dream come true.
8. Hatch Green Chile Beef Jerky
A list of the best green chile snacks wouldn’t be complete the Carne Seca beef jerky line—the Hatch Green Chile Beef Jerky.
Whole cuts of 100% USA beef are cut into thick strips, marinated with distilled white vinegar and an all-natural spice blend featuring ground Hatch green chiles. Each batch is slow-cooked for a minimum of 5 hours. The rich, smokey flavor of New Mexico Hatch green chiles blends into the savory flavors of onion, garlic, and tomato, then finishes with a bright, vinegary tang.
This is truly New Mexico Beef Jerky at its finest.