Category Archives: beans the musical fruit!

Baked Chiles Rellenos with Turkey-Bean Stuffing

Alas, it is nearly the end of August, and that means two things:  it is hotter than hell, and Hatch chiles are in season.

For the uninitiated, Hatch peppers are probably, bar none, the best green chiles one can ever hope to consume.  Grown in Hatch, New Mexico, like champagne and bourbon, they can only be called those things if they hail from the specific geographic regions they originate from.

Hatch peppers are a foodie’s fondest dream, especially if that foodie has a love of all things capsaicin (the compound responsible for the heat in chile peppers of any sort).  The peppers can be mild, and impart only a hint of heat to the dish which they are added to, or they can be hotter than hot and leave a lingering burn that burns oh so good.

A few weeks ago, I’d made a mango salsa that had a poblano pepper in it.  Typically, poblanos are pretty mild when it comes to heat, measured in Scoville units.  Hatch peppers are pretty close on the Scoville scale when compared to poblanos, but can still pack quite a punch.

After seeing how gorgeous the poblanos at Central Market were last week, I decided we’d have chiles rellenos for dinner one night.  I’d gotten a recipe for some sort of turkey taco bean dip via email from Hungry Girl and wanted to try it, but needed to modify it since it had onions in it (one of SB’s allergens).  I also didn’t want to eat it as a dip, since I’d eat more chips than dip (my damn Kryptonite, tortilla chips are).  I also had a can of Hatch green chile enchilada sauce in my larder that needed to be used and that could be subbed into the Hungry Girl recipe.  So I figured I’d stuff some peppers with the filling and top them with a bit of cheese.  Here is the result:

A twist on the traditional chile relleno, this recipe does not roast the chiles first, nor does it dredge then fry them. Packed full of fiber, this is an easy, healthy dinner that can be put together in a short amount of time.

They were super easy to make, and full of heat from the Hatch chile sauce that was a part of the stuffing.  Here’s how I did it.  You will need:

  • 1 pound 93/7 ground turkey
  • 1 can Hatch green chile enchilada sauce (I used mild; you can ramp up the heat if you like)*
  • 1 can fat-free refried beans
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • 4 large poblano peppers
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt to taste

*In lieu of Hatch green chile sauce, just plain ol’ green chile enchilada sauce (like Old El Paso or others) can be used.  The flavor won’t be the same, though.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  In a large skillet, brown the ground turkey and drain the excess fat.  To the turkey, add the can of green chile enchilada sauce, cumin and garlic powder.  Allow these to cook together for about 10 minutes so that the meat takes on the flavor of the chile sauce.  After that, add the can of refried beans, stir to combine and let this mixture heat until it bubbles slightly.

While the meat and bean mixture is cooking, slit the peppers lengthwise and remove the seeds without removing the stems.  You can remove the stems if you like, but I left mine on for presentation purposes.  I recommend using gloves to seed the peppers, as the capsaicin will get onto your skin and subsequently anything you touch.  Let’s put it this way, I now know what it must be like to be pepper sprayed. 🙂

Once your peppers are slit open and seeded, check your meat/bean mixture.  If it is a little bubbly, stir in 3/4 cup of the Monterrey Jack cheese and allow it to melt into the mixture.  Once the cheese has melted, lay the peppers in a 13 x 9 glass baking dish, and fill each pepper with the meat/bean mixture.  The amount will vary and will be determined by the size of your peppers.  You may have leftover filling–save it for a burrito!  Divide the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese among the tops of the 4 peppers, and bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes until the peppers blister slightly and your cheese is nice and brown.

This recipe made 4 servings and was served over brown rice.  With the amount of filling that I ended up with, I could have stuffed another pepper if I’d had one.  Additionally, this recipe could easily be converted to a vegetarian one with the omission of the turkey meat.  It could also be made vegan if a cheese substitute were used.  Give it a try!


Brisket Tacos and Borracho Beans

I hope everyone had a fantastic 4th of July.  Ours was really low-key:  we got up super early, went for a walk at a local park, came home and were like slugs all day.  I napped, but before I napped, I put a brisket in the oven for us to have for dinner last night.  After all, it was the 4th of July, and well, brisket is holiday food.  At least it is to me.

Anyway…we had a substantial bit of brisket left over, because well, you can’t buy a brisket for 2.  You can get pretty close, but it’s tough.  Thankfully, the butcher I shop at had smaller cuts of brisket and I was able to get a brisket that was a bit under 6 pounds.  I didn’t really do anything special to it:  just poured a couple of Mexican Cokes (no corn syrup) into a 9-quart Dutch oven, rubbed the brisket down with some rub I have, and placed the meat in, fat side up.  I put the lid on it, put it into a 250F oven and let it cook from 9 until 5 that evening.

The result was a super moist, fork-tender brisket.  In lieu of a smoker, this is how I’m going to cook brisket from now on.

Anyway…since we had so much leftover brisket, I decided that we’d have brisket tacos for dinner tonight, which turned out to be a brilliant idea:

Got leftover 4th of July brisket? We did. Here's what we did with it...mmm, brisket tacos! Almost like barbacoa, but a bit less fatty and just as tasty!

I served them on whole wheat tortillas, along with a bit of shredded Chihuahua cheese and lime wedges.  The avocados we had were not quite ripe enough, or I’d have sliced them up and stuffed the tacos with them.

But man cannot live by tacos alone (or can he?  That’s debatable).  To round out our dinner, I fixed a pot of borracho beans, in the style of a local joint we frequent whose beans are off the chain.  Borracho is the Spanish word for “drunk,” and these beans are so named because you add a bottle of beer to them as they cook.  Of course the alcohol cooks out during the cooking process, so no drunkenness ensues.  Be sure you choose a good quality beer for this, as you really don’t want skunky beer flavoring your pot of beans!

Borracho beans: easy to make, filling to eat, full of veggies and...bacon. Which you can leave out if you like, but which does add flavor.

So I’ll cut to the chase and tell you how I made this evening’s dinner.  You will need:

For the tacos:

  • about 1 1/2 cups chopped brisket
  • 4 tortillas
  • Garnishes:  lime wedges, shredded cheese of your choice, salsa, avocado slices, cilantro, chopped onion…you get the idea

Warm the brisket in the microwave.  While the brisket is warming, heat your tortillas either in a skillet on the stove, or you can go all Mexicano and do it on the stove eye, like I do.  Just don’t burn yourself.  Once your tortillas are warm, stuff each taco with about a half cup or so of brisket and garnish as desired.

For the beans:

  • 1 pound dry pinto beans, rinsed and sorted (basically, make sure there are no rocks)
  • 3 tablespoons ham base*
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 cans diced stewed tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 large jalapeno pepper, sliced (remove the seeds if you want less heat)
  • 2 slices bacon, cut into lardons
  • 1 12-ounce bottle lager style Mexican beer, like Corona
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons Mexican oregano (it has a more intense flavor than Mediterranean oregano, found in Greek cuisine)
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • hot water

*If you do not have ham base available to you or cannot consume pork products, you may substitute chicken stock and leave out the bacon.  To make this completely vegetarian, use vegetable stock.

Once you have rinsed and sorted your beans, place them into a large pot (like a 5 or 6 quart Dutch oven) and cover them with hot water so that the water is 2″ above the beans.  Cover the beans and put them on a stove set to medium-high heat.  Bring the beans to a boil, and then add the ham base.  Stir thoroughly so that the ham base dissolves in the liquid, then reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the beans to cook for 90 minutes, stirring periodically so that they do not stick to the bottom of the pan.  Once the 90 minutes has passed, add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Allow the soup to cook for an additional 60-90 minutes.  At the end of the cooking time, use a potato masher to mash the beans up slightly so that your soup is thickened a bit.  Serve while piping hot.

To reduce the heat, you may omit the jalapeno.  Our beans turned out to be quite spicy, but really good!  The pot makes about 10 1 1/2 cup servings.

White Bean Chicken Chili

Well, the weathermen were right.  We did end up getting about 4 inches of snow yesterday.  However, the snow was not enough to cancel school outright today, but we did get delayed 2 hours.  This delay turned out to be a good thing, as it allowed me to throw dinner together in the slow cooker.  I’d been thinking about making a version of Ruby Tuesday’s chicken chili, because it is pretty damned delicious.  Yes, I am one of those cooks that goes out to eat, tries something on the menu, and then tries to figure out what the ingredients are so that I can replicate it at home.  I think I came fairly close with this one, minus the onions of course.

Filling, hearty and great for a cold winter's night, this chili can go in the slow cooker in the morning and be ready to eat when you get home. Little effort, lots of flavor!

Here’s how I did it.  You will need:

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 3 cans navy beans, drained and rinsed (I rinse canned beans to remove a bit of the salt)
  • 1 can navy beans, pureed
  • 1 4 oz. can diced hot green chiles (I used Hatch brand)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 carton (32 oz.) chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin

For garnish:  Monterrey Jack or Chihuahua cheese would be good.  Tortilla chips and sour cream (if that’s your thing) would also be tasty.

In a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker, place the chicken, beans, tomatoes, stock and spices.  Stir to combine.  If you need to add a little water, do it now.  Set the slow cooker to cook on low for 10 hours (I did, because I knew I’d be gone at work during the day).  During the last hour of cooking, add the bean puree to thicken the soup up a bit.  Serve with cheese garnish.

This recipe made 8 1 3/4-cup servings.  We each ate a bowl and had a small quesadilla, and were quite full afterward.  Needless to say we had leftovers!

To add more depth of flavor, you really need to add 1 medium onion, diced.  I also think a can of hot Rotel tomatoes would boost the spicy factor here.  Next time I am planning on adding crushed red pepper flakes to increase the heat.