How to Cook Hatch Chiles: Roasted vs. Steamed
Whether you’ve finally decided to test your mettle at an upcoming tamale festival or are simply trying to make your own food gifts, knowing how to prepare Hatch chiles is essential. As the old adage goes, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. You can learn to roast Hatch chiles or simply steam them. Here’s how to do both.
How to Steam Hatch Chiles
Steaming is the fastest way to prepare Hatch chiles for whatever delicious meal you have in mind. It’s a simple process, and many people make a habit of steaming Hatch green chiles instead of roasting them. Although it’s quick and makes the skins super easy to remove, there are some disadvantages to going this route, which we’ll talk about later.
To steam your Hatch chiles, you’ll need to start by bringing about an inch of water to a boil on the stove. You’ll be placing a vegetable steamer or colander into the pot, so make sure the water isn’t too high.
When the water is boiling, place the colander in the pot and add the Hatch chiles. Many people opt to poke holes into the chiles for more even cooking, but this could remove more of the flavor. You’ll now cover everything with aluminum foil.
Once everything is airtight, reduce the heat to medium low and wait between three and five minutes. After removing the chiles and peeling off the skin, you’re done! You can cook a lot of chiles this way in a short time, since you’re able to start steaming new chiles just as soon as one batch is finished.
How to Roast Hatch Chiles
Roasting Hatch chiles is a process that’s not going to be as simple as tossing them into a colander, but when you’re learning how to make tamales, there’s not a chef out there who would recommend steaming over roasting. We’ll go more into that later, but for now, here’s how to roast Hatch chiles.
Your best shot at roasting the perfect red or green Hatch chiles is to use an open flame. This likely brings up visions of camping with chiles perched over the fire, but a grill will work in this situation. Even a broiler can be used to achieve the desired effect.
Once you’ve got your heat source nailed down, you can roast Hatch chiles by merely turning them over frequently on whatever source of heat you’re using. The skins will slowly blacken, and dependent on the temperature of your heat source, you should be done in about 10 minutes.
Once all the skin is charred, you can peel it off and remove the stems and seeds. Voila! You’ve officially roasted your first batch of Hatch chiles.
General Tips on Hatch Chiles
Once you learn a bit about the pros and cons of steaming vs. roasting Hatch chiles, you’ll no doubt start using one method exclusively. Regardless of the chosen method, though, there are a few general tips that can make your Hatch chile adventure more productive.
These general tips will take you far in the Hatch chile game. If your first batch doesn’t come out perfect, don’t get too worried. You can still enjoy them in Tucson Tamales at home or give them as food gifts. You’ll get it right next time!
Should I Roast or Steam Hatch Chiles?
Whether making vegan tamales for yourself or creating unique edible gifts for a loved one, roasting is the best way to go. The process is no doubt more drawn out than steaming, but roasting the chiles brings out the full flavor.
While the skin removal process is more difficult after roasting, the final taste outcome is well worth the effort. At Tucson Tamale Company we pride ourselves on using only 100% fire-roasted Hatch green chile to ensure the full authentic flavor in every tamale.
If you’re reading about the easiest ways to roast Hatch chiles online, you’ll come across suggestions to use a steaming method after you’ve begun roasting. This makes the skins easier to remove later, but all you really need to do is put the hot chiles in a paper bag for a few minutes and the natural release of steam will loosen the skins.
Hatch chiles have a very narrow harvest season, and if you have a short supply, there’s no use in wasting any. Unfortunately, most professionals agree that the steaming method is a waste. And once you’ve used up your whole stash, don’t forget that you can have enjoy them in Tucson Tamales delivered to your door year-round!
Tricks of the Trade!
Although you can prepare Hatch chiles in several ways, there’s really no denying the benefits of roasting. You’ll develop the fullest flavor that makes you feel right at home in the Southwest when you bite into one. Do you have a trick or two that you use when preparing your chiles? Let us know on Facebook!
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