If it's August, then Hatch chiles must be here — and in 2021 they are here with a vengeance.
This annual, slightly contrived yet entirely enjoyable ritual sees Hatch chiles come in to Dallas from the hamlet of Hatch, New Mexico, starting at the end of July/early August — to spice up (in a very mild manner) various dishes at restaurants around town, all happy to celebrate this seasonal item.
There are two Hatch pillars in town: Central Market (who boast that they buy more Hatch chiles than anyone in Texas) and Chuy's, the Austin-based Tex-Mex chain, which paved the way with its on-site roasting and incorporation of the chiles into various limited-edition dishes.
Other restaurants have followed suit over the years, and Hatch fever has phased in and out. But in 2021, Hatch is in, in what seems like a bigger-than-usual way, with oodles of restaurants doing Hatch specials.
Hardcore chile heads like their chiles unbearably hot, and the Hatch chile is a letdown in that regard, coming in on the Scoville scale between 2,000 and 8,000 Scoville heat units. If you look on a chile pepper heat chart, they're still in the green band, just below jalapenos, and that won't do, must be in the red zone.
But the Hatch is a fun thing if you like to follow seasonality, and God knows we desperately need fun in 2021. Besides, things always taste better when you can't have them year-round.
Here's who's doing Hatch in 2021:
Central Market. The supermarket chain is hosting its 26th annual Hatch Chile Fest from August 4-24, and promise they're featuring more Hatch products and dishes than ever before. Highlights include
- Hatch queso chicken mac & cheese casserole
- Hatch twice-baked potatoes
- Hatch crab cakes
- Hatch pepper sausage kolaches
- Brioche with roasted hatch pepper
- Hatchamole - guacamole with Hatch chile peppers, lime, & salt
- Hatch queso - a white queso with freshly roasted Hatch chiles
- Hatch salsa - mesquite-grilled Hatch chiles with cilantro, onion, garlic, and tomato
- Hatch Trick - A combination of Hatchamole, Hatch queso, and Hatch salsa
- Hatch can nachos - choice of ground beef or shredded chicken, Hatch queso, Hatch pineapple pico de gallo, and guacamole
- Hatch Santa Fe quesadilla - with chicken, Hatch chiles, jack cheese, black beans, and corn, plus a side of Hatchamole
- Hatch stew - New Mexico-style stew with Hatch chiles, pork, potatoes, and carrots
- Hatch pulled pork enchiladas
- Hatch street tacos
- Skinny Hatch margarita
Blue Mesa Grill. Southwest restaurant chain is another Hatch veteran, hosting its 25th Annual Hatch Chile Festival, from August 4-September 5, with a special menu that includes:
- Crispy fried Hatch strips with ancho mayo
- Hatch Combo (two for $14 or three for $16): Hatch rellenos with jack cheese in a blue corn crust; creamy pulled chicken; or garlic-basil shrimp
- Hatch steak taco with queso
- Hatch brownie with cajeta and vanilla ice cream
- Hatch Paloma cocktail with Puro Verde silver tequila, bourbon whiskey, Hatch, grapefruit juice & soda, lime and agave
Hatch Combos are available for takeout in Family Packs, plus a pan of Hatch brownies and the Hatch Paloma in a pouch.
Cane Rosso. Neapolitan pizza chain has a special pizza-of-the-month featuring roasted Hatch chiles, combined with mozzarella, herb mascarpone, peaches, prosciutto, and basil.
Chuy's. Hatch chile pioneer is a purist: They generally don't start their celebration until mid-August, but their Hatch items including their lip-smacking Hatch Green Chile Sauce have a rabid following.
Eataly Dallas. Italian marketplace in NorthPark Center is celebrating August 9-15 with food-and-drink specials at Terra, their in-house Italian restaurant:
- Hatch Peperonata – side dish with hot & mild hatch chile grilled over the open flame and marinated, served with Agostino Recca Anchovies and thyme
- Hatch & Not So Heavy - a bright cocktail with Hatch green chile-infused Ford's Gin, Caffo Limoncello, and lemon
- Some Like It Hatch - Hatch Green Chile-Infused Texas Silver Star Vodka, Luxardo Maraschino, pineapple, grenadine, and lemon
Eatzi's Market & Bakery. Gourmet market has a selection of items available for a limited time that include:
- Hatch Chicken Salad, traditional chicken salad mixed with hatch chile peppers
- Hatch Chile Empanadas with chicken, roasted hatch green chiles and queso fresco inside a flaky crust
- Sausage & Hatch Pepper Pizza
Fuzzy's Taco Shop. Taco chain has a special taco available through Sunday, August 29. The Hatch Green Chile Taco features shredded spicy pork or shredded chicken with garlic sauce, avocado slices, feta, and cilantro with a Hatch green chile sauce on a warm flour tortilla.
Meso Maya. Mexican restaurant chain is doing a special themed cocktail for $13. The Hatch Cantorito has Casa Noble Tequila Blanco, Cointreau, hatch chile, lime, and pineapple, with a lime-chile chamoy rim.
Village Burger Bar. The burger chain is doing a special $6.50 Hatch Margarita, consisting of a frozen margarita swirled with hatch chile puree.
El Fenix. Starting August 16, the Tex-Mex chain is doing a whole special Hatch chile menu, as follows:
- Hatch Chile & Chicken Quesadilla. New Mexico green chile seasoned chicken, Monterrey jack, roasted diced chiles on a flour tortilla, with charro beans, guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo
- New Mexico Hatch Chicken Enchiladas. Roasted green Chile, Monterrey jack cheese, sauteed onions, topped with queso blanco and roasted Hatch green chile salsa, with rice and pinto beans
- Hatch Queso Blanco Enchiladas. Two enchilada tortillas filled with Monterrey jack and fresco cheese, diced roasted hatch Chile, and onions, topped with queso blanco, served with pinto beans and rice
- Hatch Chile Queso Blanco
Snuffer's. Starting August 16, burger chain is doing two special sandwiches, and a special margarita, all starring Hatch chiles:
- Hatch Chile Sloppy Burger. Beef patty cooked with diced Hatch chiles, onions, topped with aged cheddar on a poppy seed bun, with tomato and chipotle mayo
- Crispy Hatch Chicken Sandwich. Fried chicken and melted jack cheese on a poppyseed bun with green cabbage slaw, tomato, Hatch sauce, and chipotle mayo
- Hatch Margarita. Blue agave tequila Blanco, Hatch chile puree, lime, pineapple juice, and Cointreau orange liqueur on the rocks with lime Chile tajin rim