Have you heard of the “Hatch” Green Chile? If you live anywhere in the Southwest or have visited anywhere in the Southwest, you are probably pretty familiar with “Hatch” Green Chile and the love that has spread out over the land for it.
But I’m about to burst your reality bubble; be careful, this may hurt a little. We’ve been lied to all these years. It’s all a myth, an old wives tale. There is no such “thing” as a “Hatch” Green Chile.
“Hatch” Green Chiles are technically a variety of species of green chiles that are grown in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico. The Hatch Valley stretches along the Rio Grande from Arrey, New Mexico to the south of Hatch, New Mexico. New Mexico State University was the first University to introduce the “New Mexican” pod type to the world around 1894 and Any chile labeled as New Mexican has that specific pod type. The main varieties of green chiles that are associated with “Hatch” green chiles are the New Mexico Big Jim, New Mexico 6-4, and Anaheim (yes, Anaheim was originally a New Mexican pepper; then California stole it). The varieties also range in level of heat. If you are perusing a seed catalog and come across anything that says NuMex, it was created at the New Mexico State University and could be considered a “Hatch” Green Chile.
Green Chili Sauce 1
So, how did the green chiles become known as “Hatch Green Chiles”? As with most things, it’s all about marketing. For one, New Mexican’s take their green chile very seriously, so seriously that New Mexico State University is home to The Chile Pepper Institute. Hatch, New Mexico holds a chile festival every labor day and every year it is one of the largest chile festivals in the world, their most popular chile is the green chile varities. There is also a company called Hatch that cans and sells Green Chiles world wide. The Hatch Valley is where the majority of green chile’s are grown. Hatch has been associated with these green chile varities for so long that people have mindfully made “Hatch” and “Green Chile” synonymous.
Green Chili Sauce 2
However, you can still grown your own “hatch” green chiles at home, you just have to look for Big Jim or 6-4 varities.
This green sauce is a classic sauce made with a mixture of green chiles. I used a mix of poblanos and big jims. If you’ve never made green “enchilada” sauce with green chilis before, prepare to have your socks blown off. Green enchilada sauce made with green chiles is just how life should be. Prepare this sauce ahead of time and freeze it and you will never go back to canned sauces again.
I like my sauces thicker than normal so I don’t add much stock but you can always add more stock to create the thickness you desire.
Green Chili Sauce
Yield: About 2 Quarts
Big Jim Peppers
2 very large white onions, quartered
8 cloves garlic, peeled, left whole
2 t Salt
2 T butter
2 T flour
2 cups chicken stock
Preheat oven to 500F
Fill one cookie sheet with a mixture of green chiles. I used Big Jim and Poblano peppers. I was able to fit 18 peppers on my cookie sheet. You can use only Big Jims, or only Anaheims, or only Poblanos. Figure out which green chiles you like most and use those. I find that Poblanos have a darker, sweeter flavor than the lighter spicier flavor of Big Jims so they fit well together in a sauce.
Add the onions and garlic to another cookie sheet.
Roast at 500F until peppers are charred.
When green peppers are roasted, pull them out of the oven and cover them with foil. Let them steam until they are cool enough to touch, then peel off whatever skin you can.
In a food processor, process onion, garlic, and green chiles with salt.
Heat a pan to medium-high heat. Once hot create a roux. Melt 2 T butter in pan and mix in 2 T flour. Continue stirring the flour and butter mixture until it becomes a light golden brown (you want to cook through the flour so you don’t end up with a pasty flour taste in your sauce).
Add 2 cups chicken stock and whisk until thickened. Once the chicken stock is slightly thickened, pour in the chili mix and whisk until glossy.
Pour into quart jars, leaving about an inch and a half of head space, and freeze or use.