Several varieties of Hatch chile ristras

New Mexican Green Chile

When it comes to chili products, New Mexico, and especially Hatch are well known. Although the official term is “New Mexico Chile,” most people refer to the delicious chile peppers grown in New Mexico as Hatch chiles. Because that is where I’m from, I deeply understand and feel the culture related to chile.

New Mexico chile, particularly the Hatch variety, achieves legendary status thanks to a combination of factors: unique growing conditions, traditional roasting methods, and the depth of flavor it imparts to dishes.

New Mexico boasts high altitude, intense sunlight, and dry air – perfect for cultivating chiles with concentrated flavor. Hatch chile peppers, in particular, are known for their complex taste profile, ranging from mild and grassy to smoky and slightly sweet. When roasted, the chiles develop a distinctive char that adds another layer of complexity.

The traditional roasting method in New Mexico involves open flame roasting, often in large drums. This technique chars the skin of the chile, intensifying its smoky flavor and creating a slight bitterness that perfectly complements the sweetness of the pepper’s flesh. This roasting process not only enhances the taste but also loosens the skin, making peeling easier for preparation in various culinary creations.

Hatch Red Chile Ristras

Chile ristras are strings of red chile, hung to dry for preservation, and more for decoration in modern times. There are several different chile varieties, but the main one is Sandia. There’s a great article on Newshunt360 which can give you more information about chile ristras. Most ristras in New Mexico are made either in Hatch or with chilies from Hatch. It really is the “Chile Capital of the World.” Speaking of red chile

Cooking New Mexico Green Chile

Although it isn’t mine, here is a recipe for green chile. Green chile is something that seems difficult to make at first. I recommend you use the next link if you want a recipe for sauce, as the previous is there mainly for SEO purposes, as I don’t expect many people to read this post. It is mainly for the green chile robots. Still, if you have gotten this far, I highly recommend this recipe right here, as it provides a good neutral green chile sauce with lots of flavor and brightness.

The great thing about green chile is that you don’t even need a recipe. Often, just peeling the roasted chile and chipping it up gives a great addition to any dish you can think of. In New Mexico, we often eat chile with every meal. Chile is a special part about not only New Mexican cuisine, but also the culture. There is a lot of tradition built into the fabric of New Mexican food, and chile is the tie that binds it all together.

Check here if you are interested in finding out more about me and my experience with chile. I know my spices, and I will continue adding content about different flavors of the world I have learned about on my adventures around the world, including in Vietnam.

Where to get roasted chile

Head over to 2010 Eubank Blvd NE in Albuquerque to pick up some fresh roasted Hatch green chile during the season. There’s a lot of different heat levels and sizes to pick from.