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Hatch Chiles are Coming! Roast ‘Em Up!

It’s Hatch chile time! That deserves an exclamation point, and if you have ever had them, you’ll know why. If you haven’t, listen up, because there’s a cult following for Hatch chiles, and you will want to join.

Prized for their meaty flesh, Hatch chiles are named after the original growing area in Hatch, New Mexico, where the intense sun by day and the cool nights conspire to yield a flavorful, mildly-hot chile beloved in rellenos, chile verde, soups or in anything that could use a green chile boost.

They come into season in August, and by the end of September they are gone.

Hatch chiles roasting at home [1]Once you get some, you have to roast them, which you can do at home [2] if you’re handy.

But many people prefer to let the experts roast them at one of the many Hatch roasting events in Southern California. Here you’ll find like-minded Hatch chileheads queued up to watch their case of chiles being tumble-roasted for them in what look like huge, fire-licked, oversize Bingo cages.

Hatch chiles roasting at Melissa's Produce [3]Hatch chiles roasting at Melissa's Produce site [4]In go the chiles, and a few minutes later, they’re dumped out and given back to the owner, to steam in the box on the way home.

Hatch chiles steaming after roasting [5]You may buy the chiles loose during the Aug.-Sept. season at any of the stores in these chains, of course, but the public walk-up roasting is done at these select sites on these dates.

Following are roasting events at Southern California grocery stores. Mark your calendar. Once you attend one of these, you’ll be hooked.

Roasting sponsored by Melissa’s World Variety Produce

Melissa's Produce Hatch Chile badge [6]While you’re waiting in line, you’ll chat with the people around you, trading recipes and Hatch anecdotes. “It’s so much fun that after you go to a roasting, it changes your life,” said Robert Schueller of Melissa’s Produce. He calls Hatch the finest of the “relleno trinity” – Hatch, Anaheim and Pasilla (or Poblano). You may also pre-order a 25-pound case and come back a few days later to pick up your roasted chiles from any Bristol Farms store  if you can’t make it to a public roasting or don’t have time to wait and socialize that day. Just check with your local Bristol Farms for details and pick them up at a time more convenient to you.

Sat., 8/18: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Bristol Farms -1570 Rosecrans Ave., Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Sat., 8/19: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Bristol Farms -1570 Rosecrans Ave., Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
+ Chef Jamie Gwen from KFWB will be doing her radio broadcast there live from 8-10 a.m.!

Sat., 8/25: 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
Bristol Farms -8448 Lincoln Blvd., Westchester, CA 90045

Sun., 9/1: 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
Bristol Farms -606 Fair Oaks Ave., South Pasadena, CA 91030

Sat., 9/8: 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
Bristol Farms -810 Avocado Ave., Newport Beach, CA 92660

Chef Jamie Gwen [7]Sun., 9/9: 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
Bristol Farms -810 Avocado Ave., Newport Beach, CA 92660
+ Chef Jamie Gwen from KFWB will be doing her radio broadcast there live from 8-10 a.m.!

Go here for more information about the Bristol Farms’ Hatch chile roastings.
And go here for more info on Hatch chiles from Melissa’s Produce [8].

Roasting sponsored by Frieda’s Produce

Frieda's Hatch Chile badge [9]“This is such a fun event and a great way to celebrate these seasonal spicy peppers that have an addictive aroma and a band of merry followers who look forward to Hatch Chile season. This is just a small way to bring New Mexico’s annual Hatch Festival to Southern California’s dedicated ‘chileheads,’ ” said Cindy Arora of Frieda’s. You go to the store and pay for a voucher inside — a 10-pound bag is $16.99 or a 25-pound bag is $24.99. Bring the voucher to the area outside and professional roasters will roast your Hatch chiles in front of you. Arora told us they move along pretty quickly so you aren’t waiting very long — just enough to enjoy the Hatch scent! These prices are for the roasted chiles. If you want them unroasted, you can buy them for $1.49 a pound. Sorry, they can’t roast anything less than 10 pounds for you.

Sat., 8/11: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. (or while supplies last)
Ralphs #55 – LaCanada, CA; 521 W. Foothill Blvd.; (818) 790-0584
Ralphs #33 –Costa Mesa, CA; 380 E. 17th St.; (949) 645-8283
Ralphs #6 – Encino, CA; 17840 Ventura Blvd.; (818) 345-6882

Fri., 8/17: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (or while supplies last)
Ralphs #221 – San Clemente, CA; 903 S. El Camino Real; (949) 361-8729

Sat., 8/18: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. (or while supplies last)
Ralphs #210 –  W. Los Angeles, CA; 11727 Olympic Blvd.; (310) 473-5238
Ralphs #131 – Huntington Beach, CA; 5241 Warner Ave.; (714) 377-0024
Ralphs #68 –Villa Park, CA; 17801 Santiago Blvd.; (714) 998-0004

Sat., 8/25: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (or while supplies last)
Ralphs #730 – Pasadena, CA; 3601 E. Foothill Blvd.; (626) 351-8806
Ralphs #139 –Tustin, CA; 13321 Jamboree Rd.; (714) 544-0491

Go here for more information about the Frieda’s/Ralphs events listed above [10].
And here’s where you can find out more about Hatch Chile fever. [11]

Photo credit: top photo collage assembled from Melissa’s Produce. Chef Jame Gwen’s photo from chefjamie.com.