Category Archives: hot hot hot!

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!

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Spicy Beef and Snow Peas


Since changing eating habits, SB and I eat quite a lot of stir fries, most of which are made with chicken.  The night I made this dish, I had a hankering for beef.  We’d been at Central Market shopping for groceries, and I saw snow peas on sale, so I decided we’d have a stir fry with flank steak.  But I wanted something with a bite this time, so I decided to add a bit of spice to our supper.  I remembered that The Pioneer Woman’s site had a recipe for beef with snow peas, so I thought I’d give that a try, with a few modifications.

Only problem was that the meat counter was out of flank steak.  Brett, the butcher behind the counter was helpful and suggested sliced sirloin as a substitute.  It worked beautifully, and made for a tasty dish that was easy to put together and took virtually no time to cook.

Stir fry with a kick! This is a quick one-skillet meal whose heat can be amped up or toned down, depending on your palate.

Here’s how I did it.  You will need:

  • 1/2 pound fresh snow peas, ends trimmed
  • 1 pound sirloin steak, trimmed of its fat and sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot powder, dissolved in a bit of cold water
  • 1 heaping tablespoon hot red chili flakes (I used the super hot ones we have; you may elect to use milder ones or a smaller amount)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

First, prepare the marinade for the meat by combining the soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, ginger and red pepper flakes in a large bowl.  Whisk the ingredients together until the sugar dissolves.  Stir the dissolved arrowroot powder into the marinade.  Add the sliced steak in, using your hands to mix the meat thoroughly with the sauce.  Allow this to sit and soak while you trim the snow peas and cook them.

While the meat is sitting in the marinade, heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil in a large skillet at medium-high heat.  Once the oil is hot, saute the snow peas until they are a bright green, about 2 minutes.  You don’t want to cook them through, as you want them to be a bit crisp in the finished dish.  Remove the peas to a plate, and pour the remaining tablespoon of oil into the skillet.  Allow the oil to get hot over medium-high heat.

Using a set of tongs, add the meat in small batches, quickly moving it around the pan so that it cooks evenly.  Once all the meat is done cooking, add the peas back to the skillet, and pour half the marinade into the skillet over the meat and vegetables.  If you want your dish to be a bit more saucy, by all means, use the entire marinade!  Cook the meat and vegetables for about 2-3 minutes more.  Serve the finished dish over rice, and sprinkle more hot pepper flakes on it for a nice piquant finish.

Chile Colorado (Red Chile Stew)


Let me begin this post by saying that my mom and dad are both outstanding cooks.  Had it not been for watching them in the kitchen as a kid, I am pretty sure I would not be half the cook I am now.  I grew up on a lot of Mexican food, and by this I mean actual Mexican food–not Tex-Mex, but Mex-Mex.  The stuff you get from places like Taco Bueno or Taco Bell sure as hell aren’t Mexican (but sadly in some parts of the country, it’s what passes for Mexican food).  Real Mexican food is simple, wholesome and relatively healthy.  The stuff many restaurants pass off as Mexican food is as much a bastardization of the cuisine as the Chinese food that is found in many Chinese takeout joints.

But I digress…

You know those things your parents fix that only they really know how to fix right, that only taste good when they make them?  For me, those dishes would be my mom’s chile verde and my dad’s chile colorado.  A couple of weeks ago I was talking with my mom about red chile, and how I’d wanted to learn to make it, and she said, “It’s really easy.  You just have to buy the puree at the store.  Central Market has it in the freezer section.”

You could have knocked me over with a feather when she said this.  As a child, I remember my parents bringing back 50 pound sacks of dried New Mexico red chiles and 50 pounds’ worth of roasted Hatch green chiles from New Mexico whenever we’d go visit my grandparents in the summertime.  I also remembered that whenever mom and dad would make enchiladas, they had to rehydrate the red chiles in boiling water, puree them in the blender, strain it to remove the pulp and seeds and THEN they could make the chile sauce.  Really, the whole process is a pain in the ass, but the result is quite tasty.

The fact that you can get this:

already pureed is truly AMAZING, and a real time saver, because it saves you about an hour and a half of work!

So once my mom told me of the wonders of Bueno chile, I decided I needed to make chile colorado.  My mom makes it with oregano, which you can certainly do, as Mexican oregano complements the flavor of the chile nicely.  My dad’s version doesn’t use oregano and is equally as good, so it’s the version I went with.

No Tex-Mex here, this is Mex-Mex!

This was outstanding, and will be dinner for us for the next few days.  It’s got a bite to it, but it is really good and super easy.  Here’s how I did it.  You will need:

  • 2-3 pounds pork chops, trimmed and cubed, bones reserved with a bit of their attached meat for flavor
  • canola oil
  • 2 large Russet potatoes, skinned and diced into bite-size pieces
  • 14 ounces red chile puree, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large Dutch oven, heat about a teaspoon of canola oil and cook the pork (and bones) over medium heat until it is cooked through and no more of the cooking liquid remains.  Once the meat has cooked through, salt and pepper the meat to season it.  Add the red chile puree and garlic powder and enough water to cover the meat.  Let this come to a boil, and then simmer for an hour.  After about an hour, add in the potatoes and about 2 more cups of water and stir to evenly distribute the vegetables throughout the stew.  Allow this to continue cooking at a low simmer, about 30 more minutes.

Serve hot, with beans as shown.  Rice is also a good accompaniment, as are tortillas.  I ate mine with corn tortillas, and it was awesome.

This recipe makes about 14 1-cup servings.

Chicken Jambalaya


The past two weeks have been busy ones and I haven’t gotten to do a lot of cooking, sadly.  I do plan, however, to make an awesome chile colorado (old school Mex!) this weekend.  I’ve been under a lot of stress, and I find that one thing that relieves my stress is cooking, so I suppose I ought to do more of it.

Tonight, though, I had Sweet Baboo cook dinner from a recipe I wrote for him earlier in the day.  I’d been craving some Cajun cooking, and after going to the store on Sunday and picking up a pretty bell pepper, decided we’d have jambalaya for dinner one night this week.  I had to work late tonight, so SB cooked for us, following the recipe below.

 

Chicken jambalaya...an easy, tasty dinner with a bite!

 

I wrote him the recipe, he cooked it, and boy, was it good!  Here’s how he did it.  You will need:

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced into bite-size pieces (I use these because they add a lot of flavor)
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes in their juice
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (add more if you like for more heat)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 cups instant white rice (we use the microwavable kind)

Put a teaspoon of canola oil in the bottom of a Dutch oven and heat it.  Place the chicken in the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook until done.  You may have to drain a bit of fat off here.

Next, add in the garlic, celery and diced bell pepper.  Stir this around so that it is evenly mixed.  Add about a teaspoon of garlic powder.  Note that the onion normally a part of Cajun/Creole cuisine’s “trinity” flavor base is absent here.  If food allergies are not an issue in your household, I would add a cup of diced onion here.

Pour in two cans of diced tomatoes and season the mixture with the cayenne pepper and thyme.  Add the chicken stock and stir.  Let this simmer, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom.  After the mixture has simmered for about 25 minutes, add in your rice and stir to evenly distribute.  Taste for flavor and season accordingly.  Serve hot, with Tabasco or Louisiana Hot Sauce if you like.

I am looking forward to eating this as leftovers tomorrow night with a bit of crusty bread and butter!