There’s a very particular joy in stumbling around an early-morning Denver farmers' market and finding a smiling man churning a big metal cage filled with Hatch green chiles. The smell, like wood smoke, unctuous green, and lemon-pepper, permeated the area, and I followed my senses. Green chile season had finally arrived, albeit a little early, and that meant not only could I delight in the savory aroma wafting around town, but now had the ability to buy freshly roasted green chiles for next couple months and make my breakfast sing. This meaty New Mexican and Southern Colorado capsicum not only offers a much-loved spicy, slightly fruity, and rich flavor, but gives that first meal of the day an extra-special punch.
There are a few key difference between green chiles and their peppery brethren. To start, the long, bright green pods are not as mild or fat as poblanos, are larger and more flavorful than serranos, and have thicker, heartier flesh than the average wax pepper. Also, this varietal only grows in the Southwest—the most famous region being Hatch, New Mexico—and has a protected destination of origin much like Champagne or Gruyere. But keep in mind, the other green chiles coming out of the rest of the state, as well as Colorado and Arizona, arguably taste just as good. But if you can't find these beauties roasting in your hometown, don’t worry. Because of the widespread popularity of the Hatch green chile, many grocery stores now stock cans of the stuff and you can use them as you would fresh ones.
Here are 10 ways to boost your breakfast with this much-loved pepper.
Hatch Bloody Maria
Add extra heat to your next brunch cocktail by pureeing these chiles with tomato and creating the ultimate bloody maria. Why maria? Tequila will help boost the spice level of the peppers while also marrying well with the salt, lime and other flavors.
The Ultimate Burrito
There are breakfast burritos and then there are breakfast burritos elevated by a hefty dash of green chiles. Chop up the peppers and throw them into an egg and potato mix, giving your dish not only a deep spice but hand-held dose of vitamin-C as well.
Forget pinky-up French quiches, give yours a New Mexican flair by adding a cup of diced green chiles, fresh corn, and fire-roasted tomatoes. Round out the dish with salsa, avocado, a dollop of sour cream, and a cup of strong cowboy coffee.
Yes, non-sweet waffles are totally a thing and green chiles should definitely be added to them. Stir the chiles into the batter along with some shredded cheddar and bacon, and you’ve got a waffle that will make you break up with syrup for good.
Green Chile Omelet
The best thing about omelets is you can put just about anything into them, and green chiles just rock along with with eggs. Place chopped up chiles inside with a bit of cream cheese, cooked onion, and cilantro, a combo that makes the omelet taste like a breakfasty jalapeño popper. You can also add fresh green chiles as you would any other vegetable or in lieu of green pepper.
Green Chile Schmear
Given that in the Southwest people put green chile in everything, it shouldn't surprise anyone that you can find it in cream cheese at most bagel shops. In case you don't have this option at your local deli, whip half of a cup of chopped chiles with an eight-ounce tub of cream cheese and use wherever it makes you happy.
With fried tortillas, cheese, salsa and egg, this Mexican dish just screams for the addition of plump, roasted green chiles. Add them to the mixture or sprinkle them on top—the more the merrier.
When you add roasted chiles to an already savory sausage gravy, magic is sure to happen. In this case, biscuits and gravy get a spicy kick, chicken fried steak gains more depth, and chicken and waffles become something new altogether. Think of it as the ultimate brunch side, even if that meal carries on into dinner.
New Mexican Hot Chocolate
Most people know Mexican hot chocolate, that luscious drink spiked with chili powder. Well, make the New Mexican version by procuring powdered green chiles and whipping them into the beverage instead of the usual cayenne. Then, add a shot of espresso for a true morning eye opener.
Spunky Home Fries
Turn diner-style home fries into a New Mexican wonder by swapping fresh, canned, or just-roasted green chiles in place of green pepper. It's so simple, you’ll wonder how you ever breakfasted without that pop of Hatch.