Melissa’s hatches up a delicious cookbook

Melissa’s hatches up a delicious cookbook
Introducing the Hatch Pepper Cookbook

By: Bobbie Kitto
Included: Four Recipes from the book

What do you get when you put five professional chefs, a produce guru, and Melissa from Melissa’s Produce together? A beautiful and informative cookbook on Hatch peppers.  Chef Tom Fraker, Chef Ida Rodriguez, Chef Raquel Perez, Chef Marco Zaplen and Chef Maggie Sajak all contributed to the heart of this book. Produce guru and Melissa also had a hand in crafting this unique book, Hatch Pepper Cookbook .

The first part of the book introduces some interesting facts about the Hatch pepper, such as where it gets its unique flavor and why.  Don’t skip the section called Hatch pepper essentials. This helps identify the correct heat levels for hatch based dishes and shows how to prepare peppers for use in dishes.  Did you know that prepared peppers can be frozen for up to two years–but, remember they get hotter as they age.

Divided into eleven sections, with nine of them being recipes for everything from appetizers to drinks, this book is a winner. If you can’t find a recipe to fall in love with, you just aren’t trying. I was intrigued by the Hatch Clam Chowder (see recipe below). In less than an hour I could have a Clam Chowder that was not only visually appealing but was guaranteed to get lots of sounds of contentment from my husband and other guests.

Melissa’s Produce has a lot of Hatch Pepper products to help stimulate taste buds. On a personal note, my husband had lost his sense of taste from Covid-19, but recently one of the things he can taste is Hatch peppers.  We both are hooked on Melissa’s Clean Snax product line with the Hatch Pepper seasoning.

I am always on the lookout for a recipe that can be both fully or partially prepared ahead of the time. The Hatch Enchiladas Suizas fits the bill.  The sauce for this is a little time consuming so the fact that it can be made up to three days ahead of time is great.  Being able to pick up all the ingredients on the spur of the moment except for the Hatch peppers (that is why you need to keep some roasted peppers in the freezer) is a plus for this recipe.  Just reading this recipe (see below) will make your mouth water.

I give this book a 5 star rating because it has all the elements I want in a cookbook: easy to use, full of fun facts, mouthwatering recipes, and simple and concise format in their recipes. You can also purchase as an electronic book for those of you who have run out of shelf space or are boaters.

This book is written so that any level of cooking experience can use and enjoy this book. There are  videos about this book on Melissa’s YouTube channel .  I would suggest going to Melissa’s website.  There you can pick from several videos on various books.  Take the time to view them and be impressed by the authors and information available.

I was given this book to review by Melissa’s Produce, but that in no way influenced my opinion.  Truth be known, I had been waiting for this book to come on sale for a long time.  I have their other cookbook entitled The Great Pepper Cookbook, which helped to introduce me to cooking with peppers.  I highly recommend that book as a companion to this one. You will learn a lot from both.

Four Recipes to Enjoy

Hatch Enchiladas Suizas


1 ½ lb. Shredded Chicken Breast, cooked

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

6 ea. Tomatillos, quartered

1 clove garlic, chopped

½ Diced Yellow Onion

½ Green Bell pepper, Diced

½ bunch cilantro, chopped

3 roasted hot hatch peppers, diced

2 cups chicken broth

½ cup heavy cream

½ cup sour cream

Salt and Pepper, to taste

12 corn tortillas

3 cups jack cheese, shredded

1 cup salad oil


In a saucepan, heat the olive oil and sauté the tomatillos, garlic, onion, bell pepper, cilantro, and hatch peppers until softened.

Add the chicken broth and cook until vegetables are tender.

In a blender, blend the vegetables until smooth.  Strain through fine strainer. Return the sauce to the saucepot and bring to a simmer.

Add heavy cream and allow to reduce for 5 minutes

Finish with sour cream and season with salt and pepper. (Yield 1 quart)

Heat the salad oil in a sauté pan.  Soak the tortillas on both sides for a second to soften and set aside.

In a mixing bowl add the shredded chicken and 1-½ cups of the salsa verde; stir until all the chicken is moistened with sauce.

Fill the tortillas with 1 oz of shredded chicken mixture, cheese and roll into enchilada.

In a baking dish place the rolled enchiladas.  Top with sauce and cheese.  Place in 350º oven and heat for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and serve.


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Chiles Tolucos

6 Dried Melissa’s Hatch Pepper Pods

½ cup Cider Vinegar

1 cup Orange Juice

1-pound Piloncillo (Brown Sugar Cones) — chopped

5 (1 ¼ ounces) cloves Organic Garlic

1 teaspoon Dried Oregano

1 teaspoon Dried Thyme

2 tablespoons Canola Oil

¼ pound Melissa’s Soyrizo

1 cup Refried Beans

Salt to taste

¾ pound Manchego Cheese — grated

1 cup Crema or Sour Cream

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Slit each pepper lengthwise to remove seeds and veins, being careful not to cut the sides of the chiles. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil remove from heat, add chiles and soak for 20 minutes or until chiles are soft.

For the sauce:

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine vinegar and orange juice. Bring to a simmer. Add piloncillo, garlic, oregano, and thyme. Cook, stirring until piloncillo has dissolved. Remove from heat, add chiles and soak until they feel fleshy, about 15 – 20 minutes. In a skillet over medium heat, sauté Soyrizo in oil until heated through. Stir in beans and season with salt. Let cool.

Transfer peppers to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess liquid. Strain the sauce and set aside. Using only ½ pound of the cheese, carefully stuff chiles with the Soyrizo bean mixture and cheese. Arrange stuffed chiles seam side down, in a baking dish and spoon crema (or sour cream) over the top, sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with warm sauce.

Makes 6 servings.

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Hatch Chile Pecan and Tart Cherry Challah Bread


6 1/2 ounces Warm Water

2 packages Active Dry Yeast

1 1/4 ounces Granulated Sugar

1-ounce Canola Oil

1 Egg

1-pound All-Purpose Flour

1/3 container Melissa’s Red Hatch Pepper Pecans – chopped

1 3-ounce package Melissa’s Dried Tart Cherries

1 pinch Kosher Salt

1 Egg

Splash of Water

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water and then add the sugar.

Mix in the egg and oil.

Add the flour, pecans, tart cherries and the salt and knead for 8-10 minutes.

Cover the dough with plastic and let it rise for 20 minutes.

Punch down the dough to release the air.

Divide the dough into three equal parts.

Roll the dough into long ropes and braid it.

Place the braided dough onto a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Set aside to proof for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg and water together. Brush the mixture all over the bread.


Bake the bread in a 350ºF preheated oven until golden brown (about 18-20 minutes).

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Hatch Clam Chowder

Recipe by: Chef Tom Fraker

To Steam the Clams:

1/4 cup Water

1/2 cup Chicken Broth

6 cloves Melissa’s Peeled Garlic – crushed

2 pounds Fresh Clams – cleaned (See Instructions below)

Using a large skillet with a lid, bring the water, chicken broth, and garlic to a boil. Add the clams into the skillet and place the lid on top. Cook for 5-10 minutes. Watch closely. Once all the clams have opened, remove from heat immediately. Do not overcook – your clams will be rubbery. Reserve some of the liquid for use in the chowder, and scoop the meat out of the shells.

For the chowder:

4 ears Fresh Corn – Husks and Silks Removed

8 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, divided use

Freshly Ground Black Pepper – to taste

1/2-pound Bacon – chopped

2 Melissa’s Perfect Sweet Onions – diced

8 cloves Melissa’s Peeled Garlic – minced

2 ribs Celery – ends trimmed; finely chopped

2 Fresh Hatch Roasted Peppers – peeled; chopped

1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour

6 cups Whole Milk

2 cups Heavy Cream

2 Bay Leaves

2 Yukon Potatoes – peeled; cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 tablespoons Melissa’s Red Hatch Powder

Fresh Chopped Cilantro for Garnish

Melissa’s Hatch Pepper Salsa for Garnish

Prepare a hot grill. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter, brush onto the corn and season with the pepper. Grill until completely slightly charred.

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Add the onion and the next 3 ingredients. Cook until the onions are translucent. Stir in remaining butter. Add the flour and stir to combine. Slowly whisk in the milk and cream. Add the bay leaves and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Remove the bay leaves and stir in the corn and the clams (chopped, if desired). Simmer until heated through. Adjust the seasonings and garnish with the cilantro and salsa. If you want more clam flavor, add some of the reserved steaming liquid. Makes about 12 servings.

Note: Cleaning Clams

In a large bowl, combine 4 cups of cold water with 1/3 cup of salt. Place all clams that passed your inspection into the bowl. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Transfer clams into a new clean bowl with a new salt and water mixture. Refrigerate for another 20 minutes. This process draws the dirt out of the clams. If any clams float to the top during this process instead of settling at the bottom, discard them.

Remove clams from the water, but do not pour into a strainer. Pouring everything into a strainer can put dirt back into the clams. Use your hands or a slotted spoon.

Finally, brush the outsides of the shell with a vegetable brush to remove any remaining dirt from the outside of the shell.

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Link to Hatch Pepper Roastings Dates & Locations 2021

Hatch Product Essentials

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