This monthly cooking series features husband and wife team Barry and Kelley Courter.
KELLEY SAYS: Late August is the only time you will find fresh Hatch chilies in your grocery stores. They are grown in New Mexico near the Rio Grande and Hatch, N.M. So when I discovered this recipe for Smoky Hatch Chile Cheesecake on the Internet, I was more than ready to try this savory dish.
This was my third time making it and I only changed one thing this time, increasing the chipotle peppers (which are added in addition to the Hatch chiles) to three instead of one.
Even with increasing the number of chipotles, you could easily add more Hatch chilies since they are so mild. The next time I prepare this I think that I will use at least 11. I do enjoy this pepper.
The other thing to consider is using different cheeses. You must use the cream cheese, but different substitutions for the Monterey jack and cheddar could be switched out. I think as long as you have a hard and soft cheese to blend with the cream cheese it would work.
BARRY SAYS: Warm, cold, frozen or hot, I'm pretty sure the cheesecake is going to be good. We first served it as a cold dessert after dinner on the front porch during a recent hot August day; it was excellent. Then we had it the other night for dinner, served warm and partnered with black beans, a little lettuce and a fresh salsa Kelley made, and it was pretty darn amazing.
KELLEY: It is great that you can eat this cold or hot. If serving cold, I would suggest some type of sweet fruit salsa. When serving hot, any type of salsa will work well.
Coincidentally, the Hatch Chile Festival is held in Hatch, N.M., and is always held on Labor Day weekend. I got this recipe from the 2011 winner.
If you are a lover of cheesecake, but want something different, I strongly suggest that you try this one.
BARRY: It is delicious. And versatile.
Smoky Hatch Chile Cheesecake
1 3/4 cups blue corn tortillas
4 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoon honey
8 mild Hatch chilies, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 1/2cups sour cream
1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 pound Monterey jack cheese, grated
1/2 sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
2 large eggs
3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Heat oven to 325.
Grind the tortilla chips in a food processor to consistency of bread crumbs. In a medium bowl, melt butter and stir in the chips. Add honey and mix well. Coat a 9- or 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Press the mixture into bottom of the pan and set aside.
After removing the skins from the roasted peppers, remove the seeds and chop finely. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, Monterey jack cheddar and sour cream in a mixer or by hand until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well each time. Using a fork, mash up the chipotles and add them to the cheese mixture. Fold in the Hatch peppers, cilantro, pepper and salt. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour.
Remove and let cool thoroughly before unmolding or serving.
Contact Barry Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6354.
Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...