Chow Town

Easy recipe takes advantage of the Hatch chile season, flavor

Ingredients for Lisa’s Hatch Chile Sauce
Ingredients for Lisa’s Hatch Chile Sauce Special to The Star

The arrival of Hatch chiles to area grocery stores has become a much-anticipated “season” for many Kansas Citians — including us.

Each August to September, we fill our freezer with these lovely long chiles in anticipation of savoring New Mexico-inspired dishes. Why Hatch chiles? Grown in the Hatch Valley, just north of Las Cruces, N.M., these meaty chiles have a unique flavor resulting from blazing sunlight by day and cool nighttime temperatures.

Until last week, I had always created my own green chile concoctions, which usually amounted to zapping several rough-chopped chiles in a food processor with enough water to liquefy them. We then slathered the puréed chiles atop mounds of sunny scrambled eggs or layered black bean burritos between two generous smears of this intoxicating green goodness before baking them.

Then my latest issue of “New Mexico Magazine“ arrived, with an actual recipe for green chile sauce. The magazine version was adapted from a 2012 book called “Tasting New Mexico: Recipes Celebrating One Hundred Years of Distinctive Home Cooking,” written by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison, four-time James Beard Award-winning authors.

I began with the magazine recipe and then tweaked it to my taste and desired thickness. If you like Hatch chiles as much as we do, give it a try:

Lisa’s Hatch Chile Sauce

Makes about 4 cups

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped fine

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 1/2 cups Hatch chiles, chopped fine (roasting the chiles, first, increases depth of flavor)

2 cups chicken stock

1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt

Warm the oil in a non-reactive saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until they become soft, approximately 5 minutes. Stir in flour and continue stirring for a minute or two. Mix in chopped chiles, pour in stock and add salt, and then stir constantly until thickened slightly. Bring to a full boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook for approximately 15 minutes allowing it to thicken further but remain pourable. Adjust salt to taste.

For smoother sauce purée the mixture slightly, in a food processor or blender. Sauce can be used warm or refrigerated for up to 3 days. It also freezes well.

Lisa Waterman Gray is a freelance writer based in Overland Park. She specializes in food and travel writing.