|Hash Browns for One, with eggs|
I realize that menus must change periodically. The locals would want something new I assume. But me - I just wished that breakfast was still on the menu. And this is what brings me to this blog. I have been dreaming of that Hatch Chile Sauce ever since. It had a little bit of bite, but was mild, overall. The southwest flavor was the thing that just enchanted me. The last time I was in Tucson, my husband and I drove back from there, via the Grand Canyon, the giant meteor crater (remember "Star Man"?), Hatch, New Mexico, Denver, Aberdeen, SD, and on and on, till we got back to Florida, where we lived at the time. When passing through Hatch, we stopped and I bought a large string of Hatch chilies. I had not really used them; mainly I had them hanging as a decoration. My understanding is that "Hatch Chilies" are just chilies that grow in Hatch, NM, and not any particular variety. They could be hot chilies or mild. The string I have are relatively hot.
A few days ago I wanted some hash browns. My husband will absolutely not eat hash browns if the skins are on the potatoes. Skins are his big, fat no-no. Me - I love the skins, so if I make hash browns for myself, I leave the skins on. I made one little potato-worth of hash browns in a tiny skillet, just for me. I made 2 eggs in the same skillet to set on top of the potatoes and it was my supper. Here is the recipe:
Hash Browns for One
1 small potato, scrubbed
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 scallions, chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
a few grinds of pepper, optional
1 teaspoon cornstarch
|One side cooked - Hash Browns served|
Delightful as my hash browns and eggs were, it got me thinking about that Hatch Chile Sauce again, and I started gazing fondly at my string of Hatch chiles and dreaming of how I could make a chile sauce that would be similar to the one at Tohono Chul. I have a large bag of dried Ancho peppers in my freezer. They are in 2 zip-top bags, as I do not use them often, and just want them as fresh as possible when I do want them. I wondered how many chilies it would require to get the sauce to be similar to the one at TC. Theirs was a relatively smooth sauce, a nice dusky orange in color. I figured there was no way to find out but by trying. This is what I did:
Hatch Ancho Chile Sauce
Makes 1 pint
|My Hatch Ancho Chile Sauce|
2 hot, dried chilies
1 large dried Ancho chili
Boiling water, for soaking
1 large onion, or 2 small onions, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, coarse chopped
3 tablespoons double concentrated tomato paste (from a tube)
2 - 3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, rough-chopped
1 cup water, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
pinch of dried epazote, optional
pinch of annatto powder, optional
1 tablespoon butter
In a small saucepan, heat some water to boiling. Reduce to lowest heat and add the 3 chilies. Allow them to steep in the water while starting the onions. Heat a medium skillet and add the olive oil. Add in the onions and teaspoon of salt; saute until translucent, stirring periodically. Add the garlic, thyme and tomato paste and stir to combine, cooking until the garlic is fragrant, about one minute. Add in half the water and stir.
Remove the chilies from the hot water. If you want the sauce to be very hot, leave in the seeds and membranes; otherwise, remove stems, seeds and membranes, coarsely chop and add to the skillet. Stir just to combine and pour into a blender or food processor. Process until the sauce is as smooth as you like and return the sauce to the skillet. Stir in the rest of the water, with the half teaspoon salt, vinegar and epazote and annatto, if using. These last may make no appreciable difference. The annato will give more depth of color. The epazote is a very southwest flavor and I have it in my cabinet! Add in the butter and stir until it melts and is well combined. Once cooled, store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
|Corn Tortillas, Hash Browns for One, Eggs, Hatch Ancho Chile Sauce with a side of black beans, olives and sour cream|
The sauce tasted really good, though it has been quite a few years since I last had it at Tohono Chul. This morning I made my Hash Browns for One, set them onto a couple of tortillas, topped that with two eggs, served myself some black beans and topped the eggs with the newly created Hatch Ancho Chile Sauce. It was a meal fit for a Southwest King - or Queen, as the case may be!
My passion is teaching people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and passing along my love and joy of food, both simple or exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me also at A Harmony of Flavors on Facebook, and Pinterest.