Around this time last year, one of my friends had an early “Friends-giving” at his apartment. If you’ve never been to one of these, it’s basically an excuse to have two (or more) Thanksgiving dinners – one with your friends and one with your family on the actual day…unless you’re me, who hosts an Orphan Thanksgiving each year with all of the people who don’t actually go back home on the proper holiday. Anyway, Kramer and I, true to form, got there right on time, which nobody ever seems to do and it always makes us the first ones at the party, i.e. the early people. Even when I TRY to be fashionably late, I’m still the first guest to arrive. It’s my curse. Since we were free, our friend Adam put us to work doing some prep while he and his roommates cooked. He put me on hatch chile duty. I had never cooked with hatch chiles before, but all I had to do was clean them, skin them and remove the stems and as many seeds as possible. Adam had already roasted the peppers, so it was just cleaning and chopping, but you could smell the spicy peppers even in their straight from the freezer state. I was super excited to eat them, and as I had anticipated, they were, in fact, delicious. They are the right amount of spicy combined with plenty of fresh pepper flavor – something that is honestly quite rare in the pepper world, I’ve found. There aren’t many varieties that are both flavorful and spicy enough to pack a punch. I convinced Adam to hand over some of his treasured peppers (that he had brought to New York straight from his home state of New Mexico, mind you), and I was able to use my bounty in a macaroni and cheese dish on Thanksgiving. Needless to say, it garnered rave reviews.
It’s hatch chile season again, so when I saw them for sale, I got really excited to roast and cook with them. This isn’t a traditional chile verde, which is made with pork shoulder, but rather a quicker, more weeknight friendly version that you can make while you put away groceries or prep lunches for the rest of the week. I doubled the batch of roasted hatch chiles, because I wanted to do what Adam did and freeze them for another use, and my apartment definitely smelled spicy, to say the least. I was worried that Kramer was going to jump out of his chair when the aroma his his eyes and nose, but we both like a little kick, so it wasn’t that bad. Some hatch chiles are spicier than others, mind you, and this batch was particularly hot. After the chiles are roasted, I pureed them with some fresh tomatillos, garlic and shallot, then added that mixture to ground beef and ground pork. Add a healthy dose of cumin and oregano, along with some lime juice, and 30 minutes later, you’ve got a chili that is simply irresistible. Kramer and I ate this for lunch for a few days with a dollop of sour cream and one more squeeze of lime juice. If you don’t want to have to watch this or stir it as it cooks, go ahead and make the green sauce, then mix everything together in your crock pot and let it simmer away all day while you’re at work or working on other things – it will be just as delicious with half of the effort.
I roasted some extra hatch chiles, then froze them to use later – probably on Thanksgiving.
Letting them steam after blackening is the best way to make sure the skins come off easily.
Okay now – let’s get down to business.
Combine your tomatillos, garlic, shallot, salt and pepper in a pot, cover with water, and cook until tender.
Meanwhile, skin and seed your hatch chiles.
Popping the stem off this way is the best way to remove the most seeds at once.
Then roughly chop the chiles and add them to a blender or food processor. I like to leave some seeds in there for heat factor.
Once your tomatillos are tender, add those to the blender, too.
Puree your sauce, then add it to your browning ground meat and onion.
Add in your cumin, oregano and salt, stir to combine, and simmer for 30 minutes or so.
Spoon the chili into bowls or cups, add a dollop of sour cream and a squeeze of lime juice, and enjoy!
- 4 hatch chiles
- 1 pound tomatillos
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 shallot, quartered
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 onion, finely minced
- 2 pounds ground meat (I used a mix of pork and beef)
- juice of 1 lime
- 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Lime wedges
- Sour cream
- First, make the green sauce, starting by roasting your hatch chiles. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees F. Lay your hatch chiles out on a parchment lined baking sheet, and roast for 5 minutes on one side, then flip and roast for another 5 minutes. You want the chiles to be blackened.
- Once they are good and charred, place them in a medium sized bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap - this allows them to steam and makes the skins easy to peel. Allow them to steam for 10 minutes or so, until cool enough to handle. Peel the skins off, then pop off the stem of the pepper and try to remove as many seeds as you like (the more you leave, the spicier the chili will be), then finely chop and add to a blender or food processor.
- While the chiles roast and/or cool, prep your tomatillos. Peel the husks from the tomatillos, and add them to a large pot, big enough to cover the tomatillos fully with water. Add in the peeled garlic, quartered shallot, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes, until the tomatillos are tender.
- Drain the water from the tomatillos, but reserve the tomatillos, garlic and shallot. Add them to the blender or food processor with the hatch chiles. Pulse the blender or food processor until the mixture is mostly smooth, but still with a bit of texture. Set aside.
- To make your chili, heat your oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add in your minced onion, and cook until starting to become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in your ground pork and/or beef, and cook until mostly cooked through and no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Pour in the hatch chile and tomatillo mixture, and stir to combine. Add in the cumin, oregano and additional salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes or so, until thickened and slightly reduced, stirring occasionally. Taste, and add more salt or lime juice if needed. Serve with a wedge of lime and a dollop of sour cream.
- *This can also be made in the crock pot - simply make your green sauce, then add everything to a crock pot and cook over low for 8 hours or high for 5 hours.