Tag Archives: peppers

The Heat Is On!

As summer becomes fall, there are still many vegetables in abundance at your local farmers markets, particularly peppers! Look for a plethora of these from mild to fiery hot. You owe it to yourself to consider getting in on this incredible bargain. All peppers freeze well with very little effort. I freeze both bell peppers and jalapeños for salsa, stir-fries and chili; but my favorite thing to make is a savory Hatch Green Chili Sauce. Hatch chilies (a type of Anaheim pepper) come in mild, medium or hot varieties. We grow the medium heat. I use this for chicken enchiladas, white chicken chili, and to spoon over eggs.

Roasted Hatch Chili Sauce adds the perfect Mexican flair for any type of grilled meat, such as flank steak or chicken. I simply freeze it in pint or half-pint containers for future use. Double or triple the batch when they show up in abundance; you’ll be glad you did!

HATCH CHILI SAUCE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 cups roasted Hatch chili peppers (remove stems, skin, seeds and membranes), then chop
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups sweet onion, chopped (I use Sierra Bianca’s)
  • 6-8 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Juice of one lime, separated

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. To roast chilies, place them on a preheated gas grill over high heat (or under a broiler). Grill or broil until the skins blister, crack and separate from the flesh. You will need to turn them a few times, depending on their size. Remove the peppers from the heat and place them in a covered glass bowl or inside a ziplock bag to allow them to steam (about 20 minutes). When cool enough to handle, remove skins, stems, seeds and membranes. Set aside until you do this with all the peppers. Then roughly chop.
  2. Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat (I use a cast-iron for this). Once pan is hot add your oil. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the chopped onion. Saute until soft and translucent, about 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more.
  3. Add flour and stir to coat the onions and garlic in the pan (this is your thickener) about 2 minutes. Add your chopped chilies and combine.
  4. Add chicken stock and half the lime juice; simmer on medium until the sauce starts to thicken, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Add the remaining lime juice and salt. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed. Let sauce cool for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Place sauce in batches in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth.

Yields: approximately 4 pints

“Live life with a little spice!”

Saving the Warmth

Cooler temperatures are upon us and autumn is in full swing. Boats are coming in off the lake, jeans are replacing shorts, and the farmers market is full of winter squash, peppers and mums. My seven week canning mission is officially done, yet there are still some last minute preparations to do for the cold months ahead.

One of the vendors at market last Wednesday had a section of their stall devoted to peppers, with a large display of poblanos. Their beautiful dark green color and aromatic scent invited me to stock up on them while the getting was good. I quickly bought a dozen. I enjoy roasting them on the grill, then freezing them for future use. I love putting them in stews, enchiladas, chili and my favorite: Poblano Cream Sauce. It’s wonderful over grilled chicken or flank steak, as a topping for eggs or pulled pork, even as a dip. Earlier in the summer I had made garlic scape and cilantro pesto, so I used this in replacement of the garlic and cilantro and it worked great. This sauce has a flavorful heat that tastes rich and warm. I vacuum freeze 4 peppers per bag and they are ready anytime I need a bit of warmth.

POBLANO CREAM SAUCE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 poblano peppers for each batch of sauce (I grill several at a time so I can freeze them for later use)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces sour cream (you could also use Greek yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Kosher salt to taste
Blistering poblano peppers on the grill
Steamed poblanos ready to peel

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat your gas on high for 10 minutes, until good and hot. Turn down burners to medium and place the peppers across the grill, close but not touching. I can usually get 15-20 on depending on size. Close grill and turn them ever 4 minutes, until they are wrinkled and charred on all sides.
  2. Place grilled peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 10-15 minutes to sweat. Remove the plastic wrap and peel away the skin of the peppers. Remove stem, open pepper and scrape the seeds. If you are using immediately, roughly chop 4 peppers. Leave the remaining peppers whole and place 4 peppers per bag for freezing.
  3. While the peppers are sweating, heat a small non-stick skillet over medium heat, then add olive oil, onions and garlic. Sauté for about 6-8 minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent.
  4. Transfer the onions, garlic and chopped peppers to a blender. Add the sour cream, cilantro and salt. Blend until sauce is smooth, 1-2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. This sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Yield: 1 pint

Poblano Sauce
Poblano Sauce over grilled chicken with sautéed cabbage

“Canning is not a hobby, it’s an obsession, an addiction, self expression and a way of life.”

I’ve Gone Nuts

Seasonal.  We are entering the threshold of fall.  Tomatoes are waning, sweet corn is done; but there are wonderful options that are showing up at the farmers market stalls.  Peppers, for example are prolific right now.  I love them roasted, and rely on them in jars during winter; but what if you change something traditionally done with roasted and made it with fresh peppers?  Muhammara, a Syrian spread is traditionally made with roasted Aleppo peppers (although jarred roasted peppers work just fine).  It also has bread and walnuts in combination with the roasted peppers.   I wondered what would happen if I used fresh peppers and additional varieties of nuts?  Game on.

FRESH RED PEPPER AND NUT SPREAD

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (I use avocado oil)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 1/4 cup unsalted roasted pistachios
  • 3 medium red bell peppers, about 1 pound, seeded and cut into 2″ chunks
  • 1 medium sweet onion (I used Wall Walla), cut into chunks
  • 1/3 cup toasted bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

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DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat oil in a 10 inch skillet over medium heat.  Add walnuts and saute for about 3-5 minutes until lightly toasted.  Remove with slotted spoon and place in bowl of food processor.
  2. Add pine nuts and almonds to same skillet.  Saute for 2 minutes, until lightly golden.  Remove with slotted spoon to plate lined with paper towels.
  3. Add pistachios to food processor bowl and pulse until finely chopped.  Place in medium bowl.
  4. Add red pepper and onion to food processor bowl.  Pulse until fine.  Transfer to mesh strainer to remove liquid.  Let stand for 5 minutes.
  5. Add strained peppers and onions to bowl.  Stir in pine nuts, almonds, breadcrumbs and olive oil.  Season with salt, pepper and ground cayenne.
  6. Serve with crackers of choice. (I use crostini)

Yield: 3 cups

“A recipe has no soul.  You. As a cook bring soul to the recipe.”  — Thomas Keller