Guys. It’s Hatch Chile season. It’s a thing! Didn’t you know?
I will admit beyond hearing the occasional mention of “New Mexico Chiles,” I was pretty ignorant to the tradition, nay OBSESSION, that come with these New Mexico Hatch Chiles. I don’t know anyone from New Mexico, and my only experience with the Land of Enchantment is limited to visiting “Four Corners” as a tween and parking in New Mexico and walking to Utah, and then making horrible jokes with my sisters about it for the next 36 hours. Our poor parents.
The way I actually came across these chiles is a really clear illustration of how impulsive I can be while grocery shopping. Give me a unique display and a story to go with it and I will swoop up whatever you’re selling! This time as I walked into the store, a HUGE steel barrel was out front, next to a hand painted (or at least it looked that way) sign saying “Hatch Chile Season is here!” I walked in and bathed in sunlight was this giant crate of fresh green New Mexico Chiles just begging me to take them home, google the hell out of them, and DO something. Naturally, I turned to dip!
In New Mexico, the season is at the end of summer (clearly…), and as the chiles start getting harvested, the giant steel barrels like I saw outside the store start popping up on roadsides, roasting chiles and sending their sweet spicy smell all throughout the air. People go nuts, hoarding them, roasting them, and then freezing them. They have a good amount of heat, admittedly more than I realized when I bit into one (and later took out my contacts ouuuuuuuuch). I figured what better way to temper the heat of these bad boys than combining them with cooling avocado, mayo and sour cream!
I roasted the chiles on a sheet pan under the broiler until their skins blackened, and then covered them up with plastic wrap in a bowl to let them soften a bit. Hand peeling and scraping out the seeds wasn’t a huge deal, although I would prep the chiles more before roasting next time– stemming and seeding them and cutting them in half prior to their roast. The smell was pretty incredible coming through the kitchen so I can only imagine what the air smells like as you drive down the street in New Mexico this time of year.
The dip itself came together pretty easily, and it’s nothing too fancy. Roasted, peeled and chopped chiles, avocado, sour cream, mayo, lime juice and cilantro. It has heat, but also good chile flavor. I am by no means an expert on the Hatch Chile and its traditions throughout New Mexico, but I do know a good dip, and dammit this one fits the bill.
Roasted Hatch Chile Avocado Dip
Makes 2ish Cups
4 fresh New Mexico chiles, roasted and peeled, chopped fine (about a 1/4 C)
3/4 C sour cream
1/2 C mayonaisse
2 Tb lime juice (juice of one big lime)
1 large ripe avocado
1/2 C cilantro, roughly chopped
1 heaping tsp Kosher Salt
To roast the chiles: Set oven rack to upper middle and heat your broiler to high. Slice the chiles lengthwise down the middle and discard the stem and seeds. Arrange the chiles skin side up on a sheet tray and broil for 5-10 minutes until the skins are blackened and it smells pretty awesome in your house. Transfer hot roasted chiles to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the chiles to cool and remove the skins and discard (leave a little of the char on the chile to keep that roasty/burnt on purpose flavor).
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Taste and season with salt to taste.
Serve with tortilla chips and a cold margarita!
Read more about the tradition of Hatch Chiles here