Friday, August 26, 2011

Hatch chile apple cobbler

Hatch chile apple cobbler

Last weekend, I flew home to Texas for a family wedding. It was the Aggie branch of my family—a group that not only lives near College Station but they all also attended Texas A&M, a tradition began by my great-uncle Stewart who was an English professor at A&M back in the day.

The wedding was held in downtown Bryan, which is a charming small Texas town. Like many communities that have revitalized their center, it’s bustling with life and beautiful architecture. For a wedding, it was a perfect location as we were able to walk from the church to the reception and then to the hotel where we all spent the night.

Of course, the real joy of the wedding was spending time with my family. From enjoying Saturday-morning migas with my mom, to flapping our arms as we did the chicken dance at the reception—it was one of those perfect weekends that’s hard to describe with words or images. It just was.



It’s Hatch chile season, and when I booked my ticket to Houston for the wedding, I realized it cost the same for me to fly into Houston as it did to add a segment into El Paso, which is about an hour and a half away from Hatch, New Mexico. I’d always been curious to see the chiles at the source, so it was an easy decision to spend a day or so in West Texas.

When I told my family what I was doing, my mom said, “You do know that they have Hatch chiles at Central Market.”

“Yes, I know,” I said. “But I want to see where they come from.”

She shrugged and looked at me like I was a little nuts. I didn’t think too much about it. Instead, I ate wedding cake, joined a conga line, and ended up having one of the finest evenings of my life.



Of course, after a loving, warm gathering such as my cousin’s wedding, spending time alone in the arid desert of West Texas and Southern New Mexico—no matter how stunning its rugged beauty—is destined to feel a bit lonely. Now don’t get me wrong, I am the kind of person who thrives on striking out on my own. And I’ve often found that time in West Texas with its big sky and vast landscape is just what I need to decompress from my hectic New York City life. But this time, it felt a little too barren after the warm embrace of my family. A part of me wished I’d stayed those extra days with them instead.

My brief time in Texas reinforced how precious our time with loved ones can be. When I returned to New York, I wanted to make a dish with my Hatch chiles that reminded me of home, so I decided to make a Hatch chile apple cobbler. Apple and chiles are a perfect pair, and those first August apples always remind me of my grandma’s farm, when her trees are heavy with fruit.

Hatch chile apple cobbler

While eating this cobbler isn’t quite the same as doing line dances with my Aggie cousins, their love is there in spirit, which for me is always the next best thing.

Hatch chile apple cobbler
For the filling:
2 to 4 Hatch green chiles (about 4 to 8 ounces, depending on how spicy you want it)
4 Granny Smith apples (about 1 3/4 pounds), peeled, cored and diced
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons brown sugar

For the crust:
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup whole milk

For serving:
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if you like

Method:
Roast the chiles under the broiler until blackened, about 5 minutes per side. Place chiles in a paper sack or plastic food-storage bag, close it tight and let the chiles steam for 20 minutes. Take the chiles out of the bag and rub off the skin. Remove seeds and stems and dice. 
Toss the diced chiles with the diced apples, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and brown sugar.

Preheat the oven to 350. To make the crust, in a large cast-iron skillet, melt the butter on low heat. Once melted, turn off the heat. Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and milk until a batter is formed. Pour the batter over the butter and do not stir. Spread evenly on top the diced chiles and apples, and bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until brown and bubbling. I eat it warm right of the pan, but it’s also good with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream, if you prefer.

Note: If you don’t have access to Hatch chiles, you can use regular Anaheim chiles. You can also substitute 2 jalapeño chiles or 1 poblano chile.

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48 comments:

RedMelW said...

I'm a Longhorn, but of course I have plenty of Aggie friends and love going back home to Texas for the weddings. They're absolutely heartwarming and so much fun. I do miss Central Market...things are just different here in Kentucky. Your friend and her family are in my prayers. I can't wait to make this cobbler (maybe Whole Foods will have the chiles)!

Rachel said...

Whoa. I am making this as soon as I can get my hands on some hatch chiles. I don't think I'll be able to get them from the source...but there's nothing wrong with that! You're not crazy.

Kathryn | Dramatic Pancake said...

Absolutely gorgeous post. Just returned from a trip back home, and I know how that sort of loneliness can feel after a great visit with lots of people.

I am loving the idea of chilis in this apple cobbler to give it extra depth and flavor. Looks delicious!

Natanya @ Fete & Feast said...

What a wonderful tribute to family and food. My family is in town from West Texas this weekend - I think I'll make this cobbler in honor of Jennie and give them all extra hugs.

Farmer Jen said...

Lovely post. Great recipe. I'll be sending Jennie (that was my Mom's name) healing energy and love.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

RedMelW--Whole Foods in New York often has the chiles, so I would think that they would also have them in Kentucky.

Rachel--Ha! Hatch chiles are just as good no matter where you find them!

Kathryn--Chiles and apples are one of my favorite combinations this time of year when both are fresh and in season.

Natanya--Enjoy your time with your family! And yes, extra hugs are a must.

Farmer Jen--Thank you. She needs all the healing energy she can get right now.

Holtnotes said...

Loved the idea of combining Hatch peppers in the Apple Cobbler. I spotted a huge bin of hatch peppers in a picture I saw of Sprouts the other day. Alas, I do not have one close to me but HEB generally has them. I will have to get some and try this combo. Hope you will be high and dry when Irene comes through New York. Was on Stub Hub this morning looking for A&M tickets. :-) Whoop!!!

Erndog said...

I've got a container each of hot and a container of mild roasted hatch chilis in the fridge as I'm reading this...what do you think, stick with the mild for this, or a little of both?
Yum!

Meister @ The Nervous Cook said...

The outpouring of concern and support for a fellow blogger has been staggering and humbling, and your post is another touching reminder that the "anonymity" of the Internet isn't always what it seems, or what we're always being warned about.

This hatch-chile cobbler and the story around the time you spent with your family is a lovely and quiet reminder to be grateful for the people who share our life joys and trials. Those relationships can be spicy and sweet, just like your cobbler, and they are a blessing.

Michelle Stiles said...

Great cobbler idea. We just got back from a 10 day Texas family trip. It was wonderful. My heart swelled and I was filled with love days after returning home. Family is so special, so tender. Jennifer has lost one of her dearest members but gained so much extended family through this unimaginable event.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Holtnotes--Yep, HEB usually has them. And thanks for the well wishes, hope Irene doesn't do too much damage!

Erndog said...

I've got a container each of hot and a container of mild roasted hatch chilis in the fridge as I'm reading this...what do you think, stick with the mild for this, or a little of both? Yum!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Erndog--I went with hot because that's all I had, but I think a combo would be nice.

Meister @ The Nervous Cook said...

The outpouring of concern and support for a fellow blogger has been staggering and humbling, and your post is another touching reminder that the "anonymity" of the Internet isn't always what it seems, or what we're always being warned about. This hatch-chile cobbler and the story around the time you spent with your family is a lovely and quiet reminder to be grateful for the people who share our life joys and trials. Those relationships can be spicy and sweet, just like your cobbler, and they are a blessing.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Meister--The food blogging community is pretty amazing.

Michelle Stiles said...

Great cobbler idea. We just got back from a 10 day Texas family trip. It was wonderful. My heart swelled and I was filled with love days after returning home. Family is so special, so tender. Jennifer has lost one of her dearest members but gained so much extended family through this unimaginable event.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Michelle--There's nothing like spending time with loved ones to make your heart feel full.

Anonymous said...

Hatch chiles are at the local safeway, I am gonna make this borrow a cast iron skillet, yummy, with some vanilla ice cream, what a good dessert for a hot evening bbq. prayers for jennie p. the food blogger, one never knows when God is taking us home, heaven to me is on this earth with the love you get from your family or the family you have..prayers for her..mjs

Vikki said...

You're killin' me here, Lisa ;)

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

MJS--It's great with vanilla ice cream! And I agree, heaven on earth is being with your loved ones.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Vikki--Enjoy!

Rosemary & Garlic said...

HEB is having a hatch festival. Central market in san antonio has put them in everything, including brownies. My 17 year old daughter said that they just needed to know when when to stop! We are enjoying them.

Gretchen said...

The combo of sweet & spicy sounds really interesting. Since I'm from western New York I won't be able to get any Hatch chiles, but my dad grew some spicy chiles in his yard, maybe I'll try using them!

jen abbott said...

I never would've thought about combining apples and chiles, but this does sound wonderful. In fact, it reminds me of a "peppered apple pie" my grandma made when her eyesight was failing badly and she mistook black pepper for cinnamon. It was pretty good!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Rosemary & Garlic--Brownies? Now that sounds interesting!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Gretchen--You can easily substitute regular Anaheim chiles or jalapeños if you prefer.

Jen--Your grandma's accidental peppered apple pie sounds wonderful! I'll have to try that!

Summer Says... said...

This pie looks delicious - I love how you combine ingredients that others may not think of.

As an aside, Bryan is my hometown! I moved away 12 years ago to go to college (in an even smaller town, Nacogdoches) and now only visit. Their downtown revitalization has been a long-time coming and turned out wonderful. I'm so glad to read you enjoyed it as well.

Great article in Texas Monthly, by the way!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Summer Says--I adored downtown Bryan and can't wait to return! And thank you for the kind words about the TM article. It was fun!

Muffin Tin said...

Apples are arriving here in Iowa. Can't wait to try this cobbler.
-Lisa

Christine's Pantry said...

Lovely post. Great recipe.

Sarah said...

Bryan is my hometown as well, and I got married downtown just over 9 years ago. The revitalization is great! I haven't lived there with any regularity since going to Houston for college (Rice) in 1994 and I now live halfway around the world in London, but Bryan will always be home!

P.S. do you have a favorite Mexican restaurant in BCS? Just curious...

Meghan said...

This sounds amazing!! I recently started reading this and it makes me feel so much less homesick. I can't wait till your book comes out!!

Rose said...

I read about your cookbook today in the New York Times. Congrats! My family and I adore Texan food! Looking forward to reading your blog and getting your cookbook.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Muffin Tin--Enjoy!

Sarah--We ate two meals at Casa Rodriguez, and I loved both of them.

Meghan--Thank you! This time of year I could pair Hatch chiles with just about anything!

Rose--Thank you! Hope you enjoy reading the blog and cooking from the book!

Elizabeth said...

I'm a native Texan from Bryan as well! Your blog is lovely - you capture the genuine, sometimes bittersweet beauty of the Texas culture. @Sarah - Papa Perez in downtown Bryan is great Mexican.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Hi Elizabeth--The rehearsal dinner was held at Papa Perez, but I didn't get to Bryan in time to make it for the dinner. And thank you so much for the kind words.

amysue said...

My husband and son are in Texas this week looking at colleges. Before they left, I had asked that they bring me back Hatch chiles!

Inspired by eRecipeCards said...

Hello my new friend, I am part of the group reviewing your book with Heather (Girlichef). Made my tacos last night and had a wonderful time (we have a homesick Texan in our neighborhood, she was a great "prop" for my food stylings). Just wanted to say Hi, and I will be back.

And I could not possibly be more thrilled to see "one of us" get a book contract. Congrats beyond words and continued success!

dave
http://erecipecards.blogspot.com/2011/09/pork-tacos-dallas-gas-station-style-ala.html

Paige said...

Love this post. I'm a food blogger as well and had heard of Jennifer's loss. So very wonderful of the community to come together and support her. The recipe looks so delicious. I'd love to say I will hunt down the hatch chilis, but I've got a ton of anaheims in my backyard, so I am going to put them to use!

Kathryn said...

Seriously one of the best things I've ever eaten. Thank you for this recipe and thank you for introducing me to Hatch chiles. I now have three pounds in my fridge after an initial roasting of 4 peppers for this recipe. It took everything I had not to buy the 20 pound bag. This cobbler is amazing as well!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Amysue--Smart woman!

Dave--It's very nice to meet you! Happy cooking from the book!

Paige--Your abundance of Anaheim chiles will be perfect!

Kathryn--There's still time for you to go back and get the 20-pound bag! Glad you enjoyed it!

Sarah said...

I love Casa Rodriguez as well, but was wondering if there might be others I had missed. @Elizabeth, thanks for the Papa Perez suggestion; I'll have to try it on my next trip back home!

A Earhart said...

I like Papa Perez as well.

I'm an English Prof at A&M and suspect that your great uncle was Dave Stewart? He's in a picture of former dept. heads that hangs in the main office.

Glad you were able to reconnect with your roots.

NM Farm Wife said...

Interesting story! We grow chile in Hatch, NM & ship to HEB Central market. We also sell sacks of chile at the farm. Our name is Morrow Farms & Las Uvas Produce. --

Julia Andrus Williams said...

OH MY. Must make this ASAP.

I recently moved to West Texas, where hatch chiles are in everything. We didn't have them growing up in Central Texas - and man did I miss out! LOVE those things!

The Waspy Redhead said...

I bought a ton of roasted hatches at Central Market while they were having "Hatch Fest." I put them in the freezer, because I have no plans for them (and I honestly prefer them in fall foods like stews etc and its still 100 degrees in SA). I'm adding this cobbler to my to-do list for when I pull out the frozen chiles!

Thanks for sharing!

mjskit said...

Great post! What a great tribute to your own family and to Jeannie and her family! I love your chile and apple cobbler! An ingenious way to make apples taste better. :)

CaroleinsouthTexas said...

I have not read any of the foregoing comments. I don't want to take the time. No, I'm not a snob, I must want to tell everyone who reads this blog, that this receipe is wonderfully fantabulous! I made this this afternoon, to accompany my New Mexico Style Green Chile Stew. Scored Hatch chiles last weeken in Dallas, and brought them home with me to Corpus Christi. Roasted, peeled and chopped/diced the chiles. Bit of a job, but I enjoyed the process. Anyway, I made this receipe. Soooo easy. No pie crust, just make a batter. I can't tell you how wonderful it tasted and how easy it was to make! I will do this again; I have a few roasted Hatch chiles still in the freezer. Only thing I did different was to squeeze half a lemon on the apples while they were sitting in the bowl waiting for me to make the batter; I'm a slow cook. The result was absolutely wonderful - a little bit of heat, which we like here in south Texas, but a very tasty apple cakey dessert. I served it with vanilla ice cream. It was a total hit. This will become a late summer standby. It really is so very delicious. Thank you so much for this receipe. Think I will make the Philly style cheesesteak sandwiches with Hatch chiles you posted. Should be really wonderfully tasty! Please know we read your blog and enjoy your thoughts. Keep 'em coming!

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