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Texas market chain celebrates Hatch chiles

This photo shows off chile for Texas grocery chain Central Market in support of the market's 18th Annual Hatch Chile Festival at dozens of its stores across Texas. (Courtesy of HEB/Central Market)
This photo shows off chile for Texas grocery chain Central Market in support of the market's 18th Annual Hatch Chile Festival at dozens of its stores across Texas. (Courtesy of HEB/Central Market)
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Texans apparently love their Hatch green chile fix as much as New Mexicans.

Texas grocery chain Central Market, a division of HEB, is hosting its “18th Annual Hatch Chile Festival,” trucking in 125 tons of “those flavorful green chiles direct from Hatch.”

The company even has a half-page color ad in the current Texas Monthly magazine touting “The Greatest Hatch Chile Festival on Earth.”

“We’ll be roasting ‘em up like nobody else can,” the ad copy reads. “Plus, hardcore Hatch-heads will find recipe ideas and daring feats of pepper prowess around every corner.”

The festival runs from Aug. 7-20 at dozens of Central Market stores throughout Texas, including Austin, Dallas, Houston, Plano and San Antonio.

The market devotes multiple pages with dozens of photos and graphics on its website to the annual celebration, including the claim: “We were the first to bring these special peppers to the Texas masses.”

“We work with the same farmer in the village of Hatch … every year to make sure our harvest produces only the biggest, most flavorful peppers,” Central Market says. “Our in-store roasters have over 100 years of combined roasting experience.”

The site explains how to identify a real Hatch chile, four different ways to roast them – broiler, “cheater” using wire mesh over a gas or electric burner, using a comal or cast-iron griddle used for tortillas, or an outdoor grill – and the admonition “True Hatch heads roast their own.”

Among its crop of recipes are: Smoky Hatch Penne Casserole with Hatch Corn Salad; Hatch Crab Po’ Boy; Hatched Squash Fritters; Hatch Chile Chocolate Bark; and Smoky Hatch Chile Cheesecake with Peach Salsa.

The Hatch festival is one of seven that Central Market throws celebrating food throughout the year. Others include citrus, chocolate, beer and cheese.

“Stuffed or sautéed, fire-roasted or fried, this versatile variety will give any dish a signature punch,” the site says. “They only come around once a year, so snatch up these Hatch chiles before they’re gone!”

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