By Carl Hanson

Slightly sweet, somewhat smoky, and more than a little spicy, Hatch chile peppers are the pride of New Mexican cuisine. Cooks from the Land of Enchantment typically roast their Hatch chiles and add them to salads, stews, soups, sandwiches, mac & cheese, corn fritters, biscuits, dips -- or they'll process them into a versatile sauce for topping scrambled eggs, enchiladas, chile rellenos, and much, much more.

Now, to be called Hatch, a chile pepper is really supposed to hail from the Hatch Valley in New Mexico. But these days, you'll find peppers labelled "Hatch" that were grown beyond the Hatch Valley, in places like Texas, Colorado, Arizona, and Mexico. These peppers are also sold under names like Big Jim, Barker, R-Naky, and New Mexico chile peppers.

Look for fresh Hatch and related chile peppers in grocery stores in early fall. Hatch peppers are also a popular pepper for canning. To satisfy your hankering for Hatch peppers, try these simple preparations:

1. Hatch Chile Enchilada Pie

"So delicious," says laurenlindley82. "I added sour cream to the cheese layer and it made the sauce extra creamy. Next time, I'll probably use shredded chicken."

Photo by Yoly

2. Colorado Green Chili

"This vegetarian green chili goes great over breakfast burritos, cheeseburgers, fried eggs, or anything," says YOUNGCM2.

Photo by Yoly

3. Hatch Chile Salsa

Roasted Hatch chile peppers combine with diced tomatoes, onions, and cilantro in this quick-and-easy salsa. "A well-rounded, tasty salsa," says bd.weld. "Hatch chiles have a bit more kick than Anaheim peppers."

Photo by bd.weld

4. Santa Fe Hatch Chile Green Sauce

"Living in New Mexico and close to Hatch, where in my opinion the best chiles in the world are grown, I cook a lot using red and green chili," says Sam. "This multi-purpose chili sauce had a lot of flavor and was easy to put together. I definitely will make this again."

Photo by Baking Nana

5. Hatch Chile Corn

Charring the Hatch chile pepper adds a smoky, spicy something to this grilled fresh corn side dish. "A great summer grilling recipe," says Happyschmoopies. "The corn had fabulous flavor from the grill and I loved the addition of the chile pepper."

Photo by Soup Loving Nicole

6. Pulled Pork Hatch Chile Stew

A hearty pork stew with potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, and Hatch chile peppers. "It's a favorite way to reuse smoked pulled pork," says Glenn n Traci. "Garnish with queso fresco, cilantro, and lime."

Photo by Yoly

7. Colorful and Easy Potato Salad

A speedy spuds recipe seasoned with Caesar dressing and Hatch chile peppers. "Delicious," says Soup Loving Nicole. "And such a nice change from your everyday potato salads smothered in mayo. Definitely a keeper!"

Photo by Soup Loving Nicole

8. Creamy Hatch Chile Chicken

This is a great recipe for rotisserie chicken. If you can't find Mexican crema, try creme fraiche instead. "Hatch chiles are in season for only about 8-to-10 weeks a year," explains Yoly. "We buy 50 lbs every year and freeze them. Serve this flavorful recipe in tortillas, over rice, or by itself."

Photo by Yoly

9. Hatch Chile Relleno Casserole with Ranchero Sauce

"Hatch chiles are New Mexico's gift to the world," says Baking Nana. "Here are layers of Hatch chiles and melted cheese wrapped up in a coat of puffy egg and then baked instead of fried."

Photo by Baking Nana

10. Arizona Hatch Chili

You'll sow cook roasted Hatch green chile peppers with pork roast, onions, tomatoes, and spices. "I was so excited to find this recipe," raves ChrisJon43. "I grew up eating this chili and have been making it myself for decades!"

Photo by Yoly

11. Sea Bass San Sebastian

Here's one that draws its inspiration from San Sebastian cuisine: Sea bass on a bed of sliced Hatch peppers, topped with grated almonds, and baked with a flavored mayonnaise. "The mayonnaise keeps the sea bass moist while it's cooking," says Chef John. "You can create countless sauce variations by changing the seasonings."

Check out the collection of Choosing Chile Peppers