It’s time for a special treat that’s available for only a limited time, and you’ll find it in the Produce Department at select Strack & Van Til stores.

Indulge in the rich, earthy flavor of Hatch Chile Peppers. Grown and harvested only in the Hatch Valley in New Mexico, they’re perfect for roasting or grilling and they’re available for only a few weeks per year, in August and September.

If you haven’t tried Hatch Chile Peppers or you’re a big fan, come out to Strack & Van Til for Hatch Chile Roasting Events, taking place today, Aug. 8. Visit the store at 9632 Cline Ave. in Highland, from 10 a.m.-noon, or the East Chicago location at 4725 Indianapolis Blvd., from 2-4 p.m.

“Hatch Chile Peppers are great for any dish that calls for any variety of peppers and are perfect for stuffing. Because of their limited availability, it’s a good idea to roast and peel them and then can or freeze them for use throughout the year,” said Director of Produce Bob Hylka. “You can even pre-order them by the 25-pound case in the Produce Department.”

In the heart of the Rio Grande, Hatch, N.M., is often called the Chile Capital of the World. Hatch Chile Peppers were developed in 1894 when New Mexico State University researcher Fabian Garcia, seeking larger and smoother peppers that were better for canning, crossed several local pepper pods.

“Come and try Hatch Chile Peppers at select Strack & Van Til stores,” Hylka said. “It’s another example of fresh, delicious produce made easy.”

Strack & Van Til Deli Department Director Kristin Snow recommends picking up some Sierra Nevada Cheese Hatch Chile Jack in the deli to make the quick snack recipe below. The cheese, made with Graziers Certified Grass-fed milk is hand-crafted in microbatches and has an award-winning creamy smooth texture. According to the manufacturer, “the cheese’s New Mexico green chile pepper flavor is lightly pungent with a subtly sweet, spicy, crisp and smoky taste” and has “an earthiness and bite while aging mellows the front heat and delivers.”

Melted Hatch Chile Jack and Tortilla Chips

6 ounces Sierra Nevada Cheese Hatch Chile Jack
2 tablespoons Hatch Chiles
6 ounces salsa
8 ounces (1/3 bag) tortilla chips

Grate 6 ounces Sierra Nevada Cheese Hatch Chile Jack and set aside. Cut Hatch Chiles into bite-size pieces and set them aside. Place tortilla chips in an oven-proof plate. Scatter grated Hatch Chile Jack evenly on top of tortilla chips. Place in oven for approximately 4 minutes at 350°.

Carefully remove the very hot plate from the oven and place it on a heat-proof surface. Scatter Hatch Chiles on top of melted Hatch Chile Jack Cheese and enjoy. Chips will be extremely hot; be careful not to burn your fingers and mouth.

Tip: Start watching the chips in the oven after 2 minutes. Cooking time may vary depending on the size of the oven.