Hatch Chile season is here so keep an eye out for these beauties! And if you can't find any in your local markets you can always source them directly from New Mexico. See Where To Buy Hatch Chiles Online if you want to buy them online.
Roasted Hatch chiles have a distinct flavor and they are prepared to do all the heavy lifting if you just give 'em the chance!
I'm making chicken and cheese enchiladas in this recipe, but keep in mind that you can use just about any protein you want as the Hatch sauce is the key to this dish and everything else is just a bonus.
How To Make Hatch Enchilada Sauce
Hatch chiles are typically harvested in late summer and will stick around for a few weeks depending on your area. How hot are Hatch chiles?
You can usually find frozen, roasted Hatch chiles in today's freezer aisles, but if you get a chance to roast your own you'll get a massive upgrade in flavor.
I put this batch of 8 Hatch chiles in the oven for about 25 minutes. You can always roast them on the grill or over an open flame if you want.
And yes, they smell delightful!
Once they cool a bit we'll de-stem and de-seed the chiles, but don't worry about getting rid of every last seed.
And if the skin is puffing up you can pull off and discard as much of it as you can, but again don't sweat it too much as it's only removed for texture purposes and won't affect the final flavor of the sauce.
7-8 chiles will give you about 1.5 cups of chile pieces -- this will make plenty of sauce for 8 enchiladas, or enough for 2 hungry peeps.
Next we'll finely chop a half onion. Most of it will be used for the sauce, but you can keep a few tablespoons in reserve for the inside of the enchiladas, something like this:
Add the majority of the chopped onion to some oil and give it a good sweat over medium heat.
Add a finely minced garlic clove and cook for an additional minute or so.
Add the chile pieces to a blender along with a splash of water or stock and combine well. Then we'll add the blended chile pieces to the onion-garlic mixture along with:
1 cup stock
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
pinch of cumin
1/4 teaspoon of salt (plus more to taste)
freshly cracked black pepper
Let the sauce simmer for a few minutes and then give it a taste. Hatch savory buttery goodness?!
I added another generous pinch of salt to this batch but the exact salt level will depend on which stock you're using. I used this homemade chicken stock that has no sodium, whereas most store-bought stocks will be quite high in sodium.
If you find yourself eating the sauce straight from the pan that's a good sign! But we'll make some enchiladas with this batch so don't eat it all yet.
For chicken enchiladas I'm in the habit of poaching the chicken, but you can cook the chicken any way you want (see Mexican Shredded Chicken for a good brine-and-bake method). For poaching, simply cover a single chicken breast with cold water, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Give it 20 minutes or until the inside of the chicken is no longer pink.
The chicken takes about the same time to cook as the chiles, so I usually put it on right after adding the chiles to the oven. You can optionally add some onion, cilantro and salt to the poaching water for a hint of additional flavor.
Once the chicken is cooked you can set it aside to cool and then shred it using two forks.
To make the enchiladas start by warming up the tortillas to make them more pliable. I usually just stick them in the oven for a few minutes, but you could also nuke them for 60 seconds covered with some damp paper towels. More info on warming up corn tortillas.
Add some sauce to a plate, dredge a tortilla in the sauce, flip, and then fill with shredded chicken, some diced onion, and plenty of shredded cheese. Dredging the tortilla in the sauce and then flipping it will ensure you've got some sauce on the inside of the enchiladas.
Roll tight and place seam side down on a baking dish.
I usually add a layer of the sauce to the baking dish to prevent sticking.
Keep rolling until you've used up all the chicken. A single chicken breast is usually enough for 7-8 enchiladas.
And then drench them in the Hatch enchilada sauce! You should have plenty of the sauce so feel free to goop it on. I usually give the enchiladas a jiggle so the sauce seeps in between them.
Add a layer of shredded cheese on top and bake the enchiladas for about 10 minutes in a 400F oven, or until all of the cheese is melted and the edges of the tortillas are just starting to brown.
Hot corn tortillas, melted cheese, and savory Hatch enchilada sauce -- sold!!
You can optionally garnish with freshly chopped cilantro, a squeeze of lime, or a drizzle of Crema, but lately I prefer them bare bones so that the Hatch flavor stays at the forefront.
Okay, I'll put some relevant links below but please keep these Hatch Green Chile Enchiladas in mind the next time you've got a bag full of Hatch chiles! They've got a unique flavor and it's a great way to invigorate your kitchen routine.
Hatch Green Chile Enchiladas
For the sauce:
- 7-8 fresh Hatch green chiles
- 1/2 onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 cup stock
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- pinch of cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
- freshly cracked black pepper
- olive oil
For the enchiladas:
- 1 large chicken breast
- 8 corn tortillas
- 2-3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
- 1 cup shredded Jack cheese
- Start by giving the Hatch chiles a good rinse. Roast the chiles in a 400F oven for 20-30 minutes.
- To poach the chicken, cover the chicken breast with cold water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Once cooked, set aside to cool and then shred using two forks. You can optionally add a half onion, cilantro sprigs and a pinch of salt to the poaching liquid for additional flavor.
- Once roasted and cooled off a bit, de-stem and de-seed the chiles. You can also pull off and discard any loose bits of skin from the chiles. Add the roasted chile pieces to a blender along with a splash of water or stock and combine well.
- Finely dice the 1/2 onion, reserving a few tablespoons of the chopped onion for the insides of the enchiladas. Saute the majority of the chopped onion in some oil over medium heat. Once it has softened add a minced garlic clove and cook for an additional minute or so. Add the chiles from the blender along with: 1 cup stock, 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano, a pinch of cumin, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and some freshly cracked black pepper.
- Bring the sauce to a simmer and take a taste for seasoning. I added another generous pinch of salt to this batch but it will depend on which stock you're using. You can always adjust the consistency of the sauce by adding more stock to thin it out, or by letting it simmer for a bit to thicken it up.
- Heat the corn tortillas in the oven for a few minutes. (Or nuke them in some damp paper towels for 60 seconds.) Prepare the baking dish by adding a bottom layer of the Hatch sauce to prevent sticking.
- On a plate, add a couple spoonfuls of the Hatch sauce. Dredge a tortilla in the sauce, flip, and then fill with shredded chicken, onion, and plenty of shredded cheese. Roll tight and place seam side down on the baking dish. Keep going until the chicken is gone. Add the remaining sauce on top of the enchiladas along with a final layer of cheese. I usually give the enchiladas a jiggle so that you get plenty of sauce between them.
- Bake for 10 minutes in a 400F oven or until the cheese is completely melted. Serve immediately. Optional garnishes include freshly chopped cilantro, a squeeze of lime, and a drizzle of Crema.
Got leftover Hatch chiles? Try some of this Hatch Chile Soup.
Our latest recipe is a batch of these delicious Entomatadas: