Tag Archives: Hatch peppers

Hatch Tortilla Soup

I love tortilla soup because it makes a tasty, satisfying meal that makes everybody happy.  Pair it with some quesadillas and you’re set.  And all without meat!  I have trouble coming up with good meatless meals that doesn’t involve spending $$$ on fish for dinner.  But this one is good.  Really good.

In this soup from Friday, I used hot Hatch peppers because it’s still Hatch season and we love them in this house.  But you don’t have to use them.  When they aren’t in season, I make this soup using a seeded and minced serrano instead.  The heat level ends up being about the same.

  • 1 medium yellow onion or 1/2 Texas sweet onion, diced (~2 cups)
  • 2 hot Hatch peppers, seeded and sliced (or 1 serrano, seeded and minced fine)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 Tbsp oil, whatever suits your fancy
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups cooked and rinsed black beans
  • 2 cups frozen sweet yellow corn
  • 1 cup water + 1/4 cup masa
  • handful of cilantro, washed and coarsely chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • tortilla chips & mexican cheese blend to garnish

Heat the oil in a big, heavy bottomed pot, and throw in your onion and peppers.  Saute them until the onions are translucent and the peppers are soft, then throw in the garlic and cumin.  Stir this around and cook for another minute, then add the vegetable stock, tomato paste, corn, black beans, and 2 cups of water.  Bring to a simmer.  While the soup is heating, prepared your masa.

I suspect tortilla soup originates from a practice of tossing old, tough corn tortillas into a pot of soup to use as thickener.  Corn tortillas are just masa and water, flattened and cooked on a griddle.  You could thicken tortilla soup with old corn tortillas, but it would need to cook a long time for the tortilla to dissolve and thicken the soup, and I don’t know who has time for that.  So I shortcut and use masa.

This is a concept I acquired from the Pioneer Woman, but every time I tried to use it following her instructions, I would end up with wee masa dumplings in my soup and it took a lot of stirring to reduce them to a bearable quantity.  It was really annoying.  But at the same time, using masa instead of tortillas to thicken the soup is brilliant.  So I fiddled around with it until I made it work.

Start with a cup of cold water.  Sprinkle your 1/4 cup masa (not cornmeal!) over the cold water.  Whisk the masa into the water till it’s smooth and thin without lumps.  Pour this into your soup when it reaches a simmer and stir it in well.

(A 1/4 cup of masa has a lot of thickening power.  If your soup gets too thick, and it might, adding a cup of water will thin it back out again nicely.)

Let the soup simmer 20-30 minutes, then turn off the burner.  Squeeze in the lime juice and stir in the cilantro and then let things sit for 5 minutes to let the flavors meld.

Serve with tortilla chips and mexican cheese blend on top.  Add any other Tex-Mex style garnishes you might like.  It’s your soup.


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Hatch Quesadillas

I meant for this to go up yesterday evening, since I actually took process photos.  But I had a cranky baby to deal with and couldn’t face putting all the photos in while he was crying.  Sorry.  Normally, you will be able to count on posts Monday – Friday from me.


It’s Friday.  A day of abstinence.  It’s also Hatch festival season.  Hatch peppers are all over the stores right now, and very cheap.  So Hatch Quesadillas were an obvious addition to our meal of tortilla soup.

I had no idea how ridiculously delicious and easy they would be.  I have never had a last-minute impulse dinner experiment turn out this well before.  It may never happen again.

The only thing wrong with these quesadillas is that they’re maybe too delicious to eat on a Friday.

  • 4 Hatch peppers* (mild or hot, your choice)
  • 1 sweet yellow onion (Texas 1015!)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 10 fresh flour tortillas**
  • 1/2 lb. Monterrey Jack cheese

* The Hatch festival is going on right now, so I used Hatch in these.  But you don’t need to use Hatch, it’s just a bit of seasonal fun.  Hatch peppers are just a variety of Anaheim pepper grown around Hatch, New Mexico.  You can substitute Anaheims, jalapeños, poblanos, even green bell peppers if you don’t like the heat.

** Fresh flour tortillas are very important here.  The tortilla is a crucial component to the resultant quesadilla.  Don’t buy those branded ones in the bread aisle that taste like plastic, check the fresh bakery in your grocery store.  HEB and Krogers make very passable flour tortillas in store.  If you can’t find any, Joe Pastry has an excellent and easy recipe for homemade flour tortillas.  If you’re making your own, don’t cook them too hard the first time, they need to bend in the recipe.

Okay.  Now that you’ve procured proper flour tortillas (I’ll wait) we can begin.

Dice up your onion.  If you hate dicing onions (and I do), rejoice.  You don’t have to have a very fine or even dice.  Large chunks are even preferable.

Put the onion aside.  Seed and dice your Hatch peppers.  Again, large chunks are fine.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, and throw in your diced Hatch and onion.

This is only one Hatch and a quarter of a sweet onion. Don’t be fooled by the small quantity.

Sauté them until the onion is translucent and everything is getting a nice brown.  Until they look like this:

Again, one Hatch and a quarter of a sweet onion.

When they’re done, pull them out of the pan and put them aside to cool.  Now we’re ready to assemble the quesadillas.

Heat up your comál.  It should be hot, but not so hot it burns your tortilla before melting your cheese.  Medium is fine.  Drop on a tortilla.  If your tortillas are like mine, they’ve been in the fridge and are very stiff.  The heat will loosen them up so they can be folded.  Cover one half heavily with cheese.  A quarter to a third of a cup, if you want a measurement, but this is the sort of thing I do to taste.

Add some sautéed Hatch and onion.

A little more cheese, for adhesive purposes.

By this point the tortilla should be warm and soft, not crispy and breakable.  (If it’s crispy, your heat is too high.)  Fold the other half up and over the top.  My mother in law would just use her fingers, but I’m a wimp and use a spatula.

This is a terrible picture, but it’s hard to fold up a quesadilla with one hand and take a picture on your phone with the other!

Now, let it get brown and crispy.  Flip it over to toast the other side.

Be careful not to burn yourself eating them straight off the comál!

I served these as a side to a (meatless) tortillas soup, but I bet they’d also make great snacks or light lunches.


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