It's Hatch green chile season and if you're lucky enough to find them in your local store or farmer's market, then you will most definitely want to make yourself some of this green chile sauce. I'll give you lots of good reasons to do so in just a minute. If you can't find fresh Hatch chiles, you can sometimes find canned or frozen ones, and if you can't find those, do not despair, Anaheim chiles are a pretty decent stand-in.
If you've spent any time at all in New Mexico, and/or the Southwest in general, you will know that culinarily speaking, the region is divided into red sauce and green sauce, one of which is applied to most indigenous dishes and you almost always get a choice... "you want that with red or green?"
The red sauce is very much like our very own enchilada sauce, but the green one, born of those beautiful Hatch chiles, was new to me. I had planned to buy up a bunch of Anaheim chiles because there was no chance I was going to find fresh Hatch chiles in my local market here in the Midwest. So you can imagine my surprise when I happened upon 2 big bins of them, one labeled Hot and one labeled Mild. I bought up some of each and had this sauce made up in no time.
It was every bit as good as I had anticipated and on my return trip to the store I bought enough for another batch and then I returned for more. I actually went back again, but I must have bought them out because the bins were now filled with beautiful banana peppers (might have to do some pickling?). But for now, my freezer is well stocked with green chile sauce which should get me through the next few months. And what, you may well ask, am I going to do with all of that sauce? Well, for starters, huevos rancheros, which I usually make with a red ranchero sauce, would be a no-brainer with this, as would our chile relleno bake. We've drizzled our tacos with it and it will be topping our scrambled eggs in the morning. It would also make some excellent quesadillas.
One of our favorite uses so far has been in this queso dip. Man was that good...
Another stellar application was when I mixed it in with some avocado for this green chile avocado dip. Outstanding.
Of course, we'll be making green chile enchiladas soon as well.
I hope that gives you a few ideas as to how you'll be using your own green chile sauce. Better get to it before those Hatch chiles disappear in a few weeks. Here's the recipe...
New Mexico Green Chile Sauce
This is a traditional green chile sauce made throughout the Southwest, but particularly indigenous to New Mexico. It is made with Hatch green chiles that come in varying degrees of heat. If you do not have access to Hatch chiles, you can substitute anaheims or poblanos. You could also use canned Hatch chiles or frozen if you can find them, but the flavors won't be quite as robust. Most recipes call for chicken or beef broth, which you can certainly use, but I found it muddled the chile flavors and prefer to use water. I also liked the sauce better when a bit of it was pureed at the end to make it more sauce-y, which means you can use less flour than most traditional recipes.
Adapted from "The New Mexico True" website
Makes about 3 cups of sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2/3 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon flour
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups chopped chiles that have been roasted, peeled and seeded (about 7 largish Hatch chiles)
1 teaspoon salt
Heat the oil in a 10-12 inch skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion until soft, about 6-8 minutes, and then sprinkle in the flour. Stir the flour in to coat the onions and begin cooking and then add the water, the chiles and the salt.
Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer partially covered for 20 minutes. Taste for salt and heat. If you would like it spicier, stir in a minced jalapeño and cook for a few more minutes.
Place about 1/4 of the mixture in a blender and puree until smooth. Stir this back into the sauce before serving.
Queso Dip with Green Chile Sauce
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium white onion, minced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon flour
1 15-ounce can evaporated milk
1 large pinch salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 cups mexican-blend shredded cheese
1/4-1/2 cup half & half
1/2 cup (or more to taste) Hatch Green Chili Sauce
Heat olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan. Add onion and garlic, saute for approximately 5 minutes or until starting to soften. Sprinkle flour over onion mixture, stir and cook for two minutes. Stir in evaporated milk and continue to cook until thickened and heated through, about 3-5 minutes. Add a large pinch of salt (a pinch is three fingers and a thumb) and freshly ground black pepper.
Add cheese and stir until incorporated (mixture will be very thick). Add half & half a few tablespoons at a time, stirring to incorporate, until you reach desired consistency. Stir in the Hatch Green Chili Sauce and serve warm with chips.
Green Chile Avocado Dip
I'm resisting calling this a guacamole for the very reason that it's the green chile sauce that's sort of the star here. The avocados are the perfectly creamy vehicle to showcase the flavors of the chiles. Add as much or as little as you would like to customize it to your own tastes.
2 ripe avocados
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup green chile sauce (or more to taste)
1 or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Mash the avocados with a fork and stir in the remaining ingredients. Add more chile sauce, lime juice or salt as needed. Serve with chips.