09 Sep Stuffed Roasted Hatch Chilis
Stuffed Roasted Hatch Chilis
It’s Hatch Chili Season again, when the markets are flooded with these green beauties imported from their home: a 40 mile strip around Hatch, New Mexico. For a couple weeks around Labor Day every year, you’ll be bombarded with a taste of the Southwest with Hatch Chili cheese, Hatch Salsa, Pickled Hatch Chilis, Hatch Chili Jam, and plain old Roasted Hatches. Some people buy them in bulk, roast and then freeze to use throughout the year, but I like to savor them during the short season they are in town and then be pleasantly surprised when they arrive the following year. These chilis score a 1,000-2,500 on the Scoville Scale (the way foodies measure the heat of chili peppers), and as a point of reference: their high end is the low end of Jalapenos on the spicy scale. Like all peppers, they can vary in heat from pepper to pepper, which I liken to a game of Russian Roulette of the taste buds (my batch was definitely at the very high end of the scale and we ended up in tears). This recipe is a mash-up of a chili relleno and jalapeno popper, but without the heavy breading or batter so you can really taste the chili. The crunchy pan fried corn replaces the crunchiness usually found in the fried outside. To turn it into a main course instead of an appetizer, spread some creamy polenta/grits/masa on the inside under the recipe’s cheesy filling and make it something like an inside-out tamale. If you can’t find Hatch chilis or are making this outside of the few weeks they’re available, try using Pasillas or Anaheims.
- 1 8 oz container whipped cream cheese
- 2 green onions, finely sliced
- ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, rough chopped
- 3 pinches salt
- Juice from 1 lime
- 2 ears corn or 2 cups of frozen kernels
- Cojita (or feta cheese)
- 6 Hatch Chilis
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Roast chilis over open gas flame, turning with tongs, until skin is blackened. Gently place in a brown paper (lunch bags work great) and let sit for about 15 minutes.
- Husk and cook corn on the cob in boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove and let cool. Slice off corn kernels.
- While chilis are sweating and corn is cooling, make the filling. Combine cream cheese, green onions, cilantro, salt, lime and half of the corn. Spoon into a large plastic bag and cut a hole in the corner to make a piping bag. Put in refrigerator.
- Remove chilis from bag and gently rub off skins (not all of it will come off, but most will- think roasted red peppers). When skin is cleaned, split the chilis. There will inevitably be a natural split (and if there’s not, find the weak side) and slit open carefully. Remove as many seeds as possible (they can turn your dish from pleasantly spicy to making your guests eyes water and mouth burst into flames. Use gloves or wash hands very well after).
- Pipe in mixture to each chili and gently press closed.
- Spray a baking pan and lay the chilis slit side up. Sprinkle with cojita cheese and bake for about 15 minutes, until cheese is warm and bubbly.
- While chilis are baking, fry the remaining corn. Add butter to a cast iron skillet or heavy bottom pan on high heat. When butter is melted add corn and roast on high heat for about 5 minutes until charred. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
- Remove from oven, plate, and sprinkle with roasted corn.
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