Hatch Chile Chicken Chili

Hatch chiles are everywhere in the Pacific Northwest right now! You go to a grocery store and there are these large roasting ovens out front. The entire parking lot and store front smells of smoky, pungent chiles. I cannot get enough! It's sort of like playing Russian Roulette with them too, which is always a great experience for me. You take a small nibble and wait. Either it's fine and you take another or your eyes well up with tears as you resist the urge to sneeze again and again. So much fun!

The season is extremely short; running from mid August to the beginning of September. If you can't find fresh chiles, use two cans of the green chiles. (Or Anaheim peppers- they have a similar flavor profile and are more readily available. They tend to be less spicy, so if spice is your thing - add a dash of cayenne.) Enjoy! 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 pound freshly roasted hatch chiles 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • 2 white onions, medium diced 
  • 1 tbsp coriander  
  • 1.5 tbsp cumin  
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 2 red bell peppers, medium diced 
  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 bunch cilantro, stems finely chopped and leaves roughly chopped (save some for garnish) 
  • 1 bunch scallions, washed and roughly chopped (save some for garnish)
  • 1 28-oz can fire roasted tomatoes 
  • 1 quart chicken stock 
  • 1 pound button mushrooms, quartered 

Optional garnishes: Guacamole, sliced scallions, or shredded cheese (I actually found a Hatch Chile Cheddar that was perfect here!)

Peel and seed the hatch chiles. 

Roughly chop the chiles and set them aside. Heat a stockpot over medium high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic and saute for three minutes until softened. Add the spices and stir until aromatic, about one minute. Add the bell pepper and continue cooking another five minutes. 

Add the chicken thighs and stir well. Add the cilantro stems and scallions. 

Add the tomatoes and the chicken stock. Add in about half of the chiles. You can taste this as you go along, adding more until you get the desired level of heat. I ended up using almost all of mine.  (It's hard to say "use the whole pound" because some chiles are SO much hotter than others.) Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and let simmer uncovered for an hour. 

Add the quartered mushrooms and stir well. Let simmer for another half hour, stirring from time to time. 

Pull the chicken thighs out of the chili and set them on a cutting board. 

Roughly chop the meat and return it to the chili pot. Thoroughly mix it all back in and season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Set the chili out with whichever garnishes you like. Invite all your friends over and dig in! This easily fed eight hungry people. I even had enough left over to eat it for lunch the next day. I will make another batch of this this week and freeze it. Hatch Chiles are just that good! Let me know how YOU use hatch chiles - I'm always open to new ideas!