Texans don’t always remember their western neighbor New Mexico.
It’s understandable. For starters, Texas shares an enormous border with the original Mexico, so that’s a lot of Mexicos to keep tabs on. But there’s one month-long period each year when the eyes of Texas turn to the west: Hatch chile season.
Late every summer the Lone Star State rages over the Hatch chile. A priceless pepper that’s harvested in New Mexico and pushed around the southwestern United States each August and September. Savvy Houston restaurants and grocery stores market the chile by integrating it into everything they sell. Everything.
The Land of Enchantment can get lost in the shadow of Texas. The state has inspired some excellent alien conspiracies, Georgia O’Keeffe paintings and the most famous meth cook of our time. But New Mexico doesn’t have a tourist attraction quite as iconic as the nearby Grand Canyon. So residents have chosen to hang their hat on the chile.
At the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University, researchers try to breed peppers so hot that steam shoots from your ears. There is even an official State Question to test your pepper loyalty. This is the only U.S. state with a “State Question.” New Mexico must know: “Red or Green?”
But what adds to the Hatch chile’s appeal is that it’s not too spicy and not too mild. It’s just right. The chile pepper comes from a small town in New Mexico called Hatch – the self-proclaimed “Chile Capital of the World.”
The town has long thrown an annual chile festival where the Hatch Chile Queen is crowned. The smell from all those chile cook-offs has wafted over to Texas in past decades. Local grocers and eateries have realized that this versatile food with a blink-and-you-miss-it growing season make for a perfect selling point in the Lone Star State.
Even the most casual Hatch-head (that’s a real thing) has heard of these basic chile recipes: Hatch-infused burgers, Hatch meatballs, Hatch salsa, Hatch corn salsa, Hatch mustard, Hatch hummus, Hatch guacamole, Hatch with crab, Hatch crab cakes, Hatch cheesecake, Hatch cheese, Hatch pie, Hatch sorbets, Hatch ice cream, Hatch pies, Hatch cakes, Hatch sorbets, Hatch cobblers, Hatch chutney, Hatch jam, Hatch egg, Hatch stuffed peppers, Hatch corn bread, Hatch salad, Hatch ceviche and butter-poached lobster tail in Hatch chile sauce.
But what else is there? See the gallery for some of our Hatch chili favorites and how to make them.
Header image by: http://www.hatchroastedchile.com/
Read the Original Article Here: A short history on how the Hatch chile became a New Mexico (and Texas) icon