I have successfully burned through nearly all of the hatch chiles I was going to “save.” [shrugs] Oh well, the canned version will do until next August.
But before I give in to apples – and then pumpkin and then Christmas lights (because it is a slippery slope) – I have one last recipe using the mountain of hatch chiles that sat on my counter.
Hatch chile tortillas. [swwwooooon]
If you’ve ever eaten a fresh tortilla, whether your made it yourself or picked up a still-warm pack from the grocery store (I hope you all have this option one day!), you know they are so much softer and flavorful than the assembly line version.
And if you’ve never eaten a fresh tortilla? Well, let’s fix that now.
My HEB sells made-in-store flour tortillas studded with chunks of roasted hatch chiles but you can only get them during their Hatch Chile Fest, which is 2-3 weeks a year. They’re actually already gone and won’t be back until next August.
No worries, though. I’ve got you (mostly me) covered.
I took my favorite tortilla recipe (it’s the only one you & I will ever need) and infused it with roasted, smokey hatch chiles. And unlike the ones I buy, the smokey flavor – and heat, if you purposely (or not) picked up the hot hatches – is distributed throughout the entire tortilla.
Hatch Chile Tortillas
Homemade flour tortillas flavored with roasted hatch green chiles.
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 heaping tsp salt
5 Tbsp softened butter, oil or shortening (I usually use olive oil)
4 roasted hatch chiles, seeds removed, or ~2 cans (1/2 cup) diced chiles, drained really well
1/3-1/2 cup warm water
Pulse the flour, baking powder, and salt a few times in your food processor fitted with the dough blade.
Add the fat and process until the mixture is uniformly-ish crumbly.
Add the chiles and then slowly stream in the water, just until the dry ingredients form a ball and starts traveling around the bowl (you might not use all of the water or you might need a little more).
Let the dough knead for ~30 seconds. The dough should clean the sides of the bowl, be soft and not overly sticky. (You can most certainly do this by hand with a pastry cutter, a wooden spoon, and your hands - but it will be easier to mince/puree the chiles first.)
Turn out onto a flour-dusted surface and divide dough into golf-ball sized portions (I weighed mine out to 2 oz each).
Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
Heat a large, dry saute pan over medium high heat.
With a rolling pin, roll the dough balls into thin rounds, dusting the top with just enough flour to keep the tortilla from sticking to the rolling pin.
(You may have a few larger pieces of hatch chiles in the dough that interfere with rolling - just press those back into the tortilla dough before cooking.)
Lay tortilla flat in the heated pan and cook on each side for ~20 seconds, until the bubbled areas brown.
Keep covered with a kitchen towel to keep warm and pliable. Eat warm.
I mean, I do. Gosh, any world without tortillas is one I do NOT want to live in.
But you don’t need tortillas. At least, not for this “burger,” anyway. And it’s actually how this burger came about. Fajita Night with tortillas that ended up being moldy easily turns into Fancy Burger Night.
Cheesy, messy, fork-and-knife Fancy Burger Night.
And while we’re confessing super, insanely deep things: Can you believe I almost didn’t serve these on a bun? The defeat of finding that those fresh-made tortillas weren’t so fresh after all, I nearly made the fajitas into a salad.
Guys. A salad.
Cooler heads prevailed (thank you, Jason!) and we ended up with Queso-Smothered Chicken Fajita “Burgers” instead. And it was a good thing, too. Because 1) Those tortillas had inflected a pain that only a messy burger could fix. And 2) EAT ALL THE CARBS AND CHEESE AND MORE CARBS.
Because guess who has 2 half-marathons on the calendar, a dried queso drip down the front of her shirt, and a belief that, after 2 cherry margaritas, mustache selfies will never get old?
Queso-Smothered Chicken Fajita Burgers
Juicy chicken fajitas smothered in queso and served burger-style.
2 chicken breasts
1 large white or yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
2 green bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch slices
The other two people in this house are not so… passionate about grilled pineapple. There have been eyerolls and little remarks and sighs.
Nor are they passionate about taking the contents of 5 leftover bowls from the fridge and making… that.
But those other two people in this house didn’t complain one bit about dinner last night.
The Internet’s favorite queso serves as the cheesy nacho base, which I then topped with leftover chicken tossed with barbecue sauce, grilled pineapple, thinly sliced red onion, weapons-grade-hot chopped jalapeno (but only on half – Thank, God!) and cilantro.
OF COURSE THEY DIDN’T COMPLAIN.
BBQ Chicken & Grilled Pineapple Nachos
Cheesy nachos topped with barbecue chicken, grilled pineapple, and red onion.
“You’re going to get me kicked off the internet for this.”
Not the first time I’ve said those words to Jason… probably won’t be the last, either.
But he has a point. There is no such thing as too much queso. Nor is there any shortage of things to do with the leftovers. Especially if you have no shame and even less regard for cholesterol levels. Hi, I’m Shawnda
On Cinco Eve, when you’re trying to decide whether you should double or triple your favorite queso recipe between sips of margarita (of course) – go with the little tequila bottle whispering in your ear.
Because if your friends disappoint you and don’t lick the bowl clean, you have options.
There’s Eggs Benedict. And not that you really need anymore options after that because [swoon]…
And then there’s scooping the leftovers over a pan of oven-baked fries (because frying anything destined to be covered in cheese is kind of irresponsible). And then top it with a mound of pico de gallo (vegetables!) and avocado (avocado!) and a few squeezes of lime juice (expensive!).
Loaded Queso Fries
The ultimate Cinco de Mayo hangover cure: baked french fries topped with leftover queso, pico de gallo, and avocado.