[symple_box color=”gray” fade_in=”false” float=”center” text_align=”left” width=””]Roasted hatch chiles make their way into a creamy mac n’ cheese made with pepper jack and goat cheese, avocado puree, cilantro, and lime. Topped with crispy panko bread crumbs and baked to perfection![/symple_box]
Down here in Texas, people go kinda crazy when it’s hatch chile time. In fact, Central Market (which is a grocery chain just in Texas) hosts a “Hatch Chile Festival” in August to celebrate the spicy pepper. I shop at Sprouts and this weekend they were advertising their hatch chiles for 98 cents a pound. I could tell it was a “hatch sale” because the line for the checkout counter was, I swear, at least ten people long. Per counter. And they had like eight lanes.
I had never bought fresh chiles before– just the canned green chile variety. You know, the kind you add to enchiladas. After trying them out this weekend, when it comes down to choosing fresh or canned hatch chiles, fresh is definitely the way to go! So much flavor!
Chiles grown in the Hatch Valley, in and around Hatch, New Mexico, are called the Hatch chile. The flavor is similar to an onion, with a sweet, spicy, crispy and smoky taste all rolled into one. In my opinion, they taste very similar to a poblano, except a little spicier.
I decided to make a mac n’ cheese with my hatch chiles, and at the last minute, decided to add avocado and cilantro. I recently bought The Flavor Bible which is like this huge encyclopedia about which foods taste good with other foods/spices/herbs etc. I’ve only used it a couple times but I plan on using it tons more in the future when coming up with new recipes or contest entries. Speaking of contests, over the weekend I found out that I won 1st Runner Up in the Beef Checkoff’s Recipe Redux contest! Check out my recipe for breakfast steak quesadillas. I was super surprised and honored!
The book is very useful when you’re stumped for what to add to really make a dish shine. For this recipe, I looked up “chiles” and found a whole page of foods/herbs/spices that tasted good with chiles. Some on the list include: goat cheese, avocado, cilantro, lime, all four of which made their way into this mac n’ cheese.
This dish is spicy, creamy, cheesy, and avocado-y all rolled into one. Or, baked into one. With crispy golden panko crumbs. Dig in!
Here’s the recipe:
- 4 hot hatch chilies
- 16oz rotini pasta
- 2 ripe avocados
- 1 lime
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 4 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 3 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
- 4 oz goat cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/2 tsp salt (I use Morton's Lite salt)
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- Turn on your broiler. Place the chilies on a baking sheet lined with tin foil. Broil 5 minutes on each side until the skin has started to blacken. Once finished, place into a bag and let set for 15 minutes. The skin should peel right off. Remove the seeds as well. Dice and set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.
- While pasta is cooking, add the avocado, juice from 1 lime, and minced garlic to a food processor. Puree and set aside.
- In a large pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for one minute. Slowly whisk in the milk.
- Once the milk is slightly thick, add the jack and goat cheeses. Stir until melted. Fold in the pureed avocado. Add the cooked macaroni, roasted chilies and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour the macaroni into a 9x13 baking dish. In a small bowl combine the panko and olive oil. Sprinkle over the mac n cheese.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then turn on your broiler for 2 minutes until the bread crumbs turn golden.