Hatch chile season is upon us and, being a big chili head, I am buying up as many of these inexpensive delicious gems from Hatch, New Mexico, that I can. Despite an unlimited number of recipes in which Hatch chiles shine, the Hatch burger has got to be king.
First — and most important — is roasting the chile. There are two schools of thought on handling this. In both, the first step is to burn and blacken the skin with direct flames until a good char covers the entire surface of the chile. Once it’s charred, some chefs will steam the chile to get the skin to come off easily, while others will plunge the chile in ice cold water to lock in its color and texture. If I am roasting a thick, sweet pepper–a bell pepper, for example– I will steam it because a thicker skin needs the extra cooking to release it from the pepper’s flesh. Try this with a Hatch or poblano and you just get an easy-to-peel mush. I am ice all the way, even though the chile may be a bit tougher to peel than one that’s been steamed.
Either way, follow the recipe with a cold Negro Modelo and lime.
For 4 burgers
1 pound burger meat
4 roasted and peeled hatch peppers small dice
1 c grated cheddar
1 tsp chopped Mexican oregano
1 tsp cumin
Mix all the ingredients together then shape into 4 burgers. Season well with salt and pepper before throwing on the grill or comal. Once you flip the burgers (and only flip once), add a quarter cup of the cheese to the top of the burger; the cheese will melt as the burger finishes cooking. If you like the burgers extra Hatchy, add some diced chiles to the top of the burger before you add the cheese.
I served mine extra spice with pepper jack, extra Hatch, tomatoes, and sliced red onion tossed with lime.
Sam Dickey is the Executive Chef of Whole Foods Market at Park Lane in Dallas. He is also the former owner of The Granite Cafe and 7 in Austin. Photos by Sam Dickey.
Want to see a large batch of Hatch chiles being roasted? Here’s a big drum full of them, roasting at the Whole Foods Market in Austin. (The Dallas stores are also roasting.)