Calabacitas with Hatch Chiles
Grilled Yellow Squash, Roasted Hatch New Mexico Chiles
White Corn, Onion, Oregano, Cumin
Growers say that the intense sunlight and cool nights in this valley result in a uniquely flavored chile. They have been roasting up a storm in Hatch, New Mexico. And we are fortunate that our local Bristol Farms carries this fresh crop of Hatch chiles. Unlike other chiles, those grown in Hatch, New Mexico are only available for about 6 weeks each year during the months of August and September, and only as long as the fresh chile supply holds out.
My adaptation of the traditional New Mexico side dish calabacitas comes from my favorite New Mexico blogger, MJ of MJ’s Kitchen. Her Southern and Southwestern dishes are second to none and she is an expert on chiles!
Since we are sadly at the tail end of the Hatch season this year you’ve got to hurry to make calabacitas with fresh Hatch chiles. Luckily Anaheim, New Mexico, poblano chiles or even frozen Hatch chiles can be substituted in this recipe. But try remember to look for Hatch chiles next growing season, their flavor is really extraordinary…
Calabacitas with Hatch Chiles Recipe
In her recipe, MJ sautées the squash – but since it has been super hot here in Los Angeles – we are grilling every chance we get. So I tossed the squash medallions in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper then took them out to the backyard and grilled them with a slight char. Then let them cool to room temperature in a single layer on a large platter.
- 6 or 7 yellow squash
- olive oil
- 5 Hatch chiles
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 1 lb. white corn kernels
- 2 t. dried mexican oregano
- 1 t. ground cumin
- salt and pepper
Hatch chiles range from mild to very hot. For this dish I used a combination of chiles: Mild — Big Jim variety and Hot — Sandia 88 variety.
Roast chiles over high heat until the skins are charred. Place charred chiles in a bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. After the steam has helped loosen the skin and the chiles are no longer too hot to handle, peel off the charred skins. Remove the seeds and stems then dice.
Meanwhile sauté onion in olive oil in a large skillet. When softened, add corn and cook through. Finally, add the chiles, oregano, cumin and cook for a couple more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
In a serving dish of your choice, layer the grilled squash with the corn-chile mixture. I use my jaunty orange Le Creuset (unbreakable) cast iron skillet to transport my calabacitas to the beach for a picnic.
Calabacitas makes a fabulous addition to any picnic buffet. It can be served at room temperature and travels well. And it’s easy to make a big batch for a crowd. Try it with grilled chicken and ribs like we did.