Ahhh the end of summer. Don’t get me wrong, I truly enjoy summer. Wake boarding on the weekends, hanging out and drinking by the pool, summer vacations to exotic beach destinations. However, by the time August rolls around, enough is enough. The constant bantering and fighting amongst the kids and the oppressive hot August days has worn this Honkey out. Put a fork in me because I am done. But wait, maybe better days are just around the bend. Soon, school will be starting and the kids will be out of the house. The heat will be replaced by crisp autumn mornings and the smell of ducks will soon be in the air. Maybe life can be good again.
Before I put away all the beach towels, air mattresses and floating coolers, I do have one last summer indulgence. The Hatch Chile Festival. That’s right, every year during the last part of August, Central Market has their annual Hatch Chile Festival (check out the link at www.schitbird.com). An event that truly mystifies the senses. If you have not attended, I highly recommend it to all.
In an effort to break the summer doldrums, I recently ventured down to my local Central Market (on weekday of course, because I hate people) and picked up a mess of chiles. Though primarily the Hatch variety, I did pick up some other intriguing peppers that would compliment future creations. Which leads me to the following. The recipe below is by no means difficult. As with many of my creations, simplicity is more times than not, key to heightened enjoyment. Simplicity allows the ingredients to shine and simplicity allows for more drinking time and more drinking time makes Jack a happy boy. So have a kocktail, roast some chiles and enjoy this heart clogging (and possibly colon clogging) delight:
Hatch Queso Blanco
4 oz shredded Monterey Jack cheese
4 oz shredded Chihuahua cheese
4 oz shredded Asadero cheese
1 Hatch chile (roasted, peeled & julienned)
½ cup chorizo
1 tsp chopped cilantro
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small, 8” cast iron skillet, cook chorizo until it’s done, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain most of the grease, but leave a thin layer of goodness on the bottom of the pan. Add cheese, top with crumbled chorizo, Hatch chiles and bake for 15 minutes or until cheese begins to bubble. Prior to serving, sprinkle top with cilantro.
Although best served on a warm tortilla, warm corn chips are an alternative way to enjoy this fantastic dish.
Note: Because of their thick skins, Hatch chiles should be roasted prior to eating. Although there are many ways to roast chiles, my favorite is over hot charcoal. Here are the most common methods of roasting:
Grill outdoors until skin is slightly chard and blistering
Roasting under a broiler until skins blister (approx. 7-8 minutes, turning occasionally)
On stovetop using a cast iron pan on high heat (approx. 10 minutes, turning occasionally)
Once chiles are done roasting, immediately place them in a paper or plastic bag, seal it and allow them to rest for 15 minutes. After resting, rub off chard skin, remove stem/seeds and enjoy.
For more culinary jewels like this, please visit us at www.schitbird.com