Every year around September, a local grocer gets a large shipment of Hatch chiles in and sets up a roasting cage in front of the store, fire roasting fresh preppers to order. Needless to say, I always buy a bunch. The smell of flame-charred peppers is one of the most intoxicating food aromas. As much as I try to consume locally, I make exceptions for regionally specific foods—especially if Hatch chiles are available.
Hatch chiles are a variety of peppers grown in the Hatch Valley in New Mexico, known for their intense flavor and balanced heat. They’re an ephemeral food, especially for someone living far from New Mexico, and to me their arrival means that hunting season has begun. My hunting season traditionally begins with doves, and I can’t imagine a better or simpler way to enjoy two short-season ingredients than to stuff them together and cook them over fire.
Because I can’t help myself, I usually buy more Hatch chiles than I can reasonably eat fresh, so I’ll freeze some and dry the rest, grinding them into chile powder. This recipe uses both freshly roasted peppers and dried peppers. I'm usually on the last little bit of dried peppers from last season by this time of the year, but you can of course make some fresh, substitute your favorite ground pepper, or use a homemade chili powder.
This is an eat with your hands without fear of making a mess kind of a dish. It’s perfect for early fall cookouts or post dove shoot shenanigans.
- 6 to 8 doves, plucked and gutted
- ¼ cup butter, room temp
- 3 tbsp. ground dried Hatch chile
- 2 cups roasted Hatch chiles, sliced lengthwise ½” thick
- 1 bunch cilantro
Also works with
- If you have fresh Hatch chiles, you need to roast them first. I roast them in my pellet grill over high heat with the diffuser open, for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating every 4 to 5 minutes until they are evenly charred and the skin is flaking back. Use the back of a knife to peel the charred skin off, split the pepper lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds.
- If you plan on making dried Hatch chile powder, load them up in the dehydrator after roasting and scraping, and dry for 8 to 12 hours at 135°F. Allow to cool, then grind. Store in an airtight container.
- To make the Hatch chile butter, mix the butter with the dried Hatch chile. Set aside.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat, about 375°F.
- Stuff doves with roasted Hatch chiles and cilantro.
- Season doves with a little salt. Brush on a layer of the pepper butter.
- Place the doves on the grill breast side up, and cook, covered, for about 4 minutes.
- Rotate the doves breast side down. Brush sauce on the bottom side of doves. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes uncovered. If using a grill with a diffuser, open it up and cook directly over the flames.
- Flip doves back over and brush the breast side again with butter. Cook for about another minute or until the thickest part of the breast is 135°F.
- Remove from the grill and serve immediately. Pair with cilantro and lime rice, tortillas, grilled corn, or anything that clings on to the last bits of summer.