Hatch, New Mexico, is a tiny village of slightly more than 1500 souls located on the Rio Grande in south central New Mexico 40 miles north of Las Cruces, NM on I-25. It had been settled since the 1850’s when it was originally named Santa Barbara, but was re-named Hatch in the 1870’s after a famous Indian fighter who happened to command the Military District. Now it is a sleepy village famous world-wide for it’s chiles, specifically it’s green chiles. Hatch Green Chiles have become almost a fad over the last couple years with even Whataburger offering Green Chile Cheeseburgers. A few years ago if you wanted a Green Chile Cheeseburger, you had to go to Sparky’s BBQ in Hatch! And if you find yourself in the area, make sure to swing through Hatch on Labor Day Weekend for the Chile Festival. But more to the point today we’re going to discuss a very New Mexico flavored bowl full of happiness called “Chicken Posole with Hatch Green Chiles”
What you need to do is cube up some chicken thighs (use however much you reckon will feed the folks you’re cooking for) and put them in a bowl. Salt the chicken cubes, sprinkle with cumin (to taste), dried chile flakes, and black pepper and let the chicken sit while you’re preparing everything else. As a side note, there is no right or wrong on the seasoning, just season to your taste… or your guests’ taste!
While the chicken is soaking up the pepper and cumin, drain a can or two of Hatch green chiles and throw them into a blender with some cilantro and a chopped clove of garlic and puree.
Next put a quart or so of veggie broth in a stew pot and set to low-medium heat. Add hominy, pour in the blended Hatch green chile mix, chop up a couple of green onions and add them to the pot as well.
In a separate sauce pan, cook the chicken cubes as you would fajitas: i.e. throw em in the pan with the burner on med-high and keep the chicken pieces moving while they cook in their own juices. The chicken will cook fairly quickly so keep your eyes open and keep turning the chicken so it cooks on all sides.
Once the chicken is cooked all the way through, pour the chicken bits and the juice into the stew pot and stir together. Serve with chips and salsa, and some sort of wonderful beer from Mexico, preferably on a hot day. Or a cold one. Or those regular ones we seem to have too few of!
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