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Hatch green chile cornmeal bread

August 22, 2011
Green hatch chile flatbread

 

Seeing and smelling green hatch chiles being roasted at our local deluxe supermarket  gave me the idea of adding them to a cornmeal bread.  A hatch green chile festival happens every year in Hatch,  New Mexico around Labor day.  They are celebrated around the same time here in Austin at “Cental Market” grocers with products like hatch chile tostadas. There is also a recipe contest.

This recipe  is adapted from a “Moroccan Country Bread” recipe in Ghillie Basan’s “Flavors of Morocco”.  I was intrigued because the ingrediants and proportions are somewhat similar to my basic cornmeal bread I wrote of   in a previous post.  One big difference is that the Moroccan bread is shaped more into a flatbread.  I also prefer to make a soaker with the cornmeal.

Soaker:

3/4 cup cornmeal

3/4  cup water

Dough:

3 1/2 cups bread flour

all of the soaker

2  teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons insant yeast

3 tablespoons melted butter

1 1/2 cups water

3 hatch green chiles (or if not available use Poblano chiles)

Extra cornmeal for dusting

The night before you make the bread,  combine  the cornmeal and water in a small mixing bowl until well incorporated. Leave out at room temperature overnight.

Roast the chiles over an open flame until the skin is charred.  What an aroma!  Do not overchar or you may burn the flesh of the chile. Put in a covered bowl and let them steam 15 minutes. This will facilitate removing the skin.  After removing most of the skin, remove the seeds. Reserve enough chile to make 14 strips, about 6-7 inches long and about 1/8 inch wide. This will be used to decorate the bread. Dice the rest of the chiles into 1/4 inch cubes. These chiles tend to be spicy, so take necessary precaution to protect your hands .

In the  mixing bowl of your stand mixer,  combine and mix the flour, soaker, salt , sugar, yeast , and melted butter.  Add the rest of the water and mix with a spoon or spatula until it forms a rough ball of dough.  With a hook attachment, knead the dough on slow, or what is recommended for your mixer. My Kitchenaid mixer manual says to use a speed no higher than 2.   Knead for about 6-7 minutes until the dough comes off the side  of the bowl but still stick a little to the bottom.  You may have to add a significant amount of flour to get the right consistency.  The dough  should remain a little wet but still manageable.  Remove the dough from the bowl and incorporate the diced chiles by continuing to knead by hand.   Using a pastry scraper, divide the dough into 2 pieces.   On two separate oiled  baking sheets, gently flatten, stretch and pull the  2 pieces into 8 inch diameter rounds.  Lightly oil the tops and cover with plastic.  Let them rise until doubled, about 1 hour depending on the temp of your kitchen or proofing area.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 425.  Take the reserved chile and cut them into the strips as described above.  When the dough is ready, dust them with cornmeal and  score them so that  7 cuts radiate from the center. Fill the slits with the strips of chile.  Place the dough in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.  Lower the oven to 350 and continue baking for about 20 minutes more.  They should read 200 degrees in the center.   My flatbreads didn’t brown quickly enough to need an aluminum foil covering,  but you may want to keep a good watch of them through the baking period.  You should also rotate them to insure even baking.  You can also try using a baker’s stone.

This is a versatile, rustic style bread that goes well  with all meals or snacks throughout the day,  especially with Mexican or Southwest type menus.

There we have it,  New Mexico meets Morocco by way of Austin Texas.

New Mexican chiles

flavors and heat waiting to be released

close up of hatch chile bread

little pockets of New Mexican flavor

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