What do you think of when you hear Hatch chili? When I asked my two-year-old he said he was “going on a horse to go home to get some chili and it was hot” which I think is his rendition of David Davis’ Children’s book, “Texas Zeke and the Long Horn.” But seriously, I thought it was a specific chili pepper unique to Hatch, New Mexico. However, I quickly discovered that was not exactly correct.
According to the Chili Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University, “There really is no chile pepper variety named ‘Hatch’, but rather is the area where the chile peppers grow. The town of Hatch, New Mexico is located about 40 miles north of Las Cruces, NM. The town of Hatch, New Mexico has marketed their Hatch grown chile peppers over the years in a way that ‘Hatch’ chile peppers are in high demand all over the world.”
New Mexico grows more chili peppers than all the other states combined. The warm days and the cool nights of the New Mexico summers provides the optimum growing environment for chilies. How does New Mexico feel about their chilies? The chili pepper is actually New Mexico’s state vegetable, and it is the main ingredient driving New Mexican Cuisine. If it isn’t in every recipe it certainly is included in every meal. The most famous dish has to be the Green Chili Cheeseburger that began its rise to stardom at roadside eateries along Route 66 in the middle of the last century.
This simple twist on the All-American cheeseburger is a great way to consume chilies. You’re not hiding the chili, you’re putting it front and center. Whether it’s a hot or mild variety you will taste the chili. The juicy beef, the creamy melted cheese and the toasted bun all work well with the smoky flavors of the flame roasted green chilies.
During our Some Like It Hot festival which kicks off this Friday, we’ll be serving up our version of the Green Chili Cheeseburger in the 801 Grill. We’ll top our hand made beef sliders with our signature green chile con queso and roasted chilies from Hatch, New Mexico. Be sure to ask for hot or mild because we’ll have both. So come out and enjoy the heat, it’ll be delicious.
While trying to find “the” green chili cheeseburger recipe to share with you, I discovered that practically every resident of the state has his or her own recipe. Not only are they all different, but also every one of them is the best, or so says its author. So you can try our Hatch Chili Salsa recipe or this simple one.
FRESH Green Chile Cheeseburger
6 roasted hatch chilies
2 lb fresh ground chuck
4 FRESH made burger buns
6 oz FRESH green chile con queso
Peel seed and stem the roasted chilies, then chop them into medium pieces.
Divide the beef into four equal portions and form them into patties.
Season the patties with salt and pepper and cook them they way you like them, which I’m assuming is medium rare.
When they are almost ready top each with the queso and place the buns on the grill to toast.
When the queso starts to melt top each with a quarter of the roasted chilies
Place the burgers on the toasted buns, roll up your sleeves, grab the burgers with both hands, spread your elbows as far as you can, lean forward and dive in!
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