Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Roasted Hatch Chile & Garlic Cream Cheese Dip

Softened organic cream cheese mixed with roasted Hatch green chiles and simple spices. This creamy dip with a kick is perfect for spreading onto bagels, sandwiches, burgers and even stuffing into chiles and peppers.

It's veggie education time again! Last month I discussed cucumber and the month before was summer squash. This month Trisha, Allison and I are focusing on a vegetable with a bit more kick—Hatch chiles (a.k.a. peppers). Never heard of these beauties? Well, keep reading!

If you've followed my blog for awhile now, you know I love this seasonal veggie! Since we're currently in the midst of Hatch chile season in the southwestern United States, I recently wrote a post detailing how to roast chiles and peppers

I highly suggest you try my roasting method. Of course you could dice them up raw and throw 'em directly into the cream cheese (or whatever else you're fixing) if that floats your boat, but the charred flavor and scent from roasted chiles is amazing. 

I've heard whimsical stories from plenty of folks who've lived near Hatch or in New Mexico in general who say the whole town is perfumed with the aroma of roasting chiles during this time of year. Sounds like an ineffable foodie dream to me. Sigh.

And a year ago, give or take a day, I published a recipe for Pan-Fried Hatch Green Chile Burgers. This was after I'd tried Hatch green chiles for the first time. Texas does have its perks. 

That particular post contains information on this month's vegetable, which is why I'm going to quote from it extensively to give you the low down on Hatch green chiles. 

What's the point of having a blog if I can't quote myself from time to time, eh? That's definitely not narcissistic...just proper form. Ahem.

Hatch Chile Facts:
  • Hatch is not a variety; it indicates the origin of the chile. So, the name comes from the village it's grown near: Hatch, New Mexico. 
  • These regional chiles are harvested only once a year and the picking season usually goes from August through September. It can sometimes begin earlier in July and extend into October. 
  • The spiciness of Hatch chiles (there are different varieties) range from very mild to much hotter, similar in heat level to a jalapeno. I've only seen them sold as either "mild" or "hot", but you honestly can't predict how spicy each individual pepper will be until you cut into it. 
  • Green chiles have thick skins that make them ideal for roasting, which intensifies their flavor and produces a unique aroma. 
  • Because their season is so short, most people roast large batches of the chiles then freeze them in plastic bags or containers to use in recipes throughout the year.
Personally, my favorite way to eat roasted green chiles is in scrambled eggs (you must try it sometime); however, there are a multitude of ways to incorporate this seasonal item into foods. The only limit is your imagination. I'm envisioning a scone, drop biscuit or skillet corn bread as I type this. Mmmm. 

Also...I almost made a goat cheese dip, but for some odd reason I had a huge hankering for cream cheese. So I listened to my stomach. If you love goat cheese, though, I definitely recommend giving that a try sometime.

Beyond dipping some crackers, pretzels, chips, veggies, bread, etc. into this dip, it'd be perfect for spreading onto bagels, sandwiches or burgers and stuffing into spicy peppers to make jalapeno cream cheese poppers. Get creative!

EDIT: I've since then used this dip recipe to make stuffed jalapenos, so if you can handle a little heat make these in your oven or on the grill!

Update (April 2015): Our group decided to end the monthly veggie series awhile back since we were contacted by a gal who was trademarking that phrase. I have the okay to leave these posts up as is, so feel free to browse through them for dinner inspiration. I will continue to publish vegetable side dish recipes, just not as a part of this series. :)

Check out the other veg-ucation recipes: cauliflowerzucchinicucumberasparagusbutternut squash, and pumpkin.  

Roasted Hatch Chile & Garlic Cream Cheese Dip
Softened organic cream cheese mixed with roasted Hatch green chiles, garlic, and sea salt. Makes a creamy dip with a kick that's perfect for spreading onto bagels, sandwiches, burgers and even stuffing into peppers. 
Yield: 1 cup

8 ounces of organic cream cheese or homemade cream cheese
2 tablespoons of roasted Hatch green chiles, deseeded & diced (learn how to roast them here)
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt (like THIS)
1/2 teaspoon of granulated garlic (If you really like garlic, add another 1/2 tsp)
Soften the cream cheese on the counter for 10-15 minutes. Or don't. It's totally up to you. It's a good arm workout if you're stirring a cold block of cream cheese. Dice the roasted green chiles if you haven't already. Combine the cream cheese, diced chile, sea salt and granulated garlic in a medium sized bowl, stirring thoroughly so that all the add-ins are well-combined. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for later.

Notes & Tips
  • I haven't tried it yet, but I bet this dip would be even better with smashed roasted garlic cloves. If you try it leave a comment letting me know!
  • If you're curious, the little glass container I smooshed the cream cheese into is a 4-ounce glass mason jar. It's what I use to make my homemade sugar scrubs. They're also nifty for storing homemade dressings and condiments in the fridge.

I'd like to hear from YOU!

What's your favorite way to enjoy Hatch green chiles while they're in season?

Softened organic cream cheese mixed with roasted Hatch green chiles, garlic, and sea salt. Makes a creamy dip with a kick that's perfect for spreading onto bagels, sandwiches, burgers and even stuffing into peppers.
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