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-Fort Worth 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 now through August 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
Blue Mesa Grill. Southwest restaurant chain is another Hatch veteran, hosting its 25th Annual Hatch Chile Festival, now through 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.
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, the 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