Celebrating Hatch Chile Season with Buttery Hatch Chile Mussels 

There are actually five seasons in my calendar year. Winter. Spring. Summer. Hatch Chile Season. And Fall. As a dedicated chile girl, I can’t get enough of the smell of fired chilies wafting from the front of grocery stores that do roasting on the weekends. I’ve been known to buy cases and freeze them. Or eat them hot from the roaster. 

What makes Hatch Chilies so unique, you ask? Aren’t they just Anaheim peppers? Technically, yes. But actually, no. Hatch Chilies are grown in the high desert of New Mexico’s Hatch Valley. It is dry and hot but also gets cold at night. The effect is chilies that get big and spicy from the heat but develop extra thick skin to combat the cold. The result is Hatch Chile skins that blister off easily when scorched, so you get all the roasted chile flavor without skin shards. It is one of my regional favorites. 

I love using Hatch Chilies in soft scrambled eggs or blended up in a mezcal margarita (for bonus spicy/smoky). But an all-time favorite way to use them is for a showstopper-type dish that is the easiest thing to make. No joke, it takes all of 15 minutes and is as impressive as hell. The recipe is for mussels steamed in Mexican beer with Hatch Chilies and butter. When I serve it to friends at parties, they rave, and I would look like a culinary hero. But my party specialty was all illusion and intrigue, essentially just warmth, wine, and a dash of Hatch Chile flair.

Everyone thinks briny mussels are complicated and pricey and require kitchen witchcraft. Not true. It is a certainty that if you heat some butter and any flavorful liquid, dump in mussels, and put the lid on a pot for a few minutes, you have a meal. I just so happen to use beer as my liquid and add aromatics and chilies. You might think that the chilies overpower the delicate flavor of the mussels, but they actually mellow as the flavor infuses into the broth.

Buttery Hatch Chile Mussels

(Serves 2 for a meal or 6 for an appetizer) 


  • 2.5 lbs Mussels, scrubbed well and debearded
  • 4 tablespoons Butter (out of the total 6 tablespoons)
  • 2 Shallots, finely sliced
  • 1 cup Italian Flat-Leaf Parsley, finely chopped
  • 2-3 Roasted Chiles, adjusted for desired heat (remove seeds and membranes for a milder flavor)
  • 1 (15 oz) can Fire Roasted Tomatoes, drained
  • 3 cloves Garlic, sliced
  • 1.5 cups light Mexican Beer OR dry White Wine
  • 1 cup Chicken Broth
  • 2 tablespoons Butter (remaining from the total)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Squeeze of lemon juice


  1. Tap each mussel on the counter’s edge. Discard any that stay open.
  2. In a large stock pot with a lid, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until just soft without browning.
  3. Stir in the parsley, chiles, tomatoes, garlic, wine (or beer), and chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, allowing flavors to meld for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the mussels to the pot. Cover and turn the heat to high. Let them cook for about 3-4 minutes without checking. The mussels are done when they open.
  5. With a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to serving bowls. Discard any unopened mussels.
  6. Boil the remaining sauce in the pot for about 2 minutes to reduce. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon as needed.
  7. Pour the sauce over the mussels. Serve with crusty bread or garlic toast for dipping.
  8. Optionally, accompany with a bowl of Aioli for an added burst of flavor when enjoying the mussels.

Or, like me, you’ll bring the entire thing to the table with some garlic bread and let everyone have at the pot from the center of the table. Because I’m big on communal eating. 

Where to find Hatch Chilies: Harmons and Whole Foods Market typically sell raw or roasted Hatch Chilies during peak season from late August through early October. 

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Lydia Martinez
Lydia Martinezhttp://www.saltlakemgazine.com
Lydia Martinez is a freelance food, travel, and culture writer. She has written for Salt Lake Magazine, Suitcase Foodist, and Utah Stories. She is a reluctantly stationary nomad who mostly travels to eat great food. She is a sucker for anything made with lots of butter and has been known to stay in bed until someone brings her coffee. Do you have food news? Send tips to lydia@saltlakemagazine.com

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