Tag Archives: peppers

Drunken Shrimp with Spaghetti and Peppers

18 Jun
Drunken Shrimp with Spaghetti and Peppers

Drunken Shrimp with Spaghetti and Peppers

When I saw this recipe come up in my reader board last week, I knew this was exactly what I would be making for dinner. Thank you so much Marisa for the inspiration and a new favorite shrimp and pasta dish!

We’ve been on a huge shrimp kick lately in this house, largely because we’ve scored some great deals on shrimp lately and also because the teenage daughter does not like shrimp and has been nearly non-existent for dinners at home as of late. That’s bonus for hubs and I because that means shrimp for dinner!

We already had most everything on hand already so all I had to do was buy a yellow pepper to pretty it up and a fifth of brandy. Don’t skip the wine and brandy if you can tolerate alcohol, as both add such a unique flavor to the dish! Otherwise you can sub a little chicken broth and maybe a splash of vinegar for some zing.

This will be a meal I plan on making often, and once you try it I think you’d agree! This serves two, so double or triple if feeding more.

Drunken Shrimp with Spaghetti and Peppers
Adapted from Spaghettoni with Shrimp & Peppers by Marisa’s Italian Kitchen

1/2 pound raw shrimp
Large squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Ground pepper and Mrs. Dash or salt, to taste
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/8 cup olive oil
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/2 cup sliced red pepper
1/2 cup yellow or orange pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
A couple fresh basil leaves, chopped
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Additional ground pepper and Mrs. Dash or salt, to taste
1/4 cup white wine
1/8 cup brandy
1 tablespoon butter
4 ounces dried spaghetti
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Chopped parsley, for serving

Shrimps!

Shrimps!

Season the shrimp with lemon juice and ground pepper and Mrs. Dash, or salt, to taste. Quickly sauté in a large skillet with the half tablespoon of butter until just pink. The shrimp will cook a little more later. Remove from pan and set aside

Set a pot of water for the spaghetti to boil on the stove. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in the same large skillet and cook the red onion and peppers for about 5 minutes.

Medley of Peppers and Onions

Medley of Peppers and Onions

Stir in the garlic, tomatoes, basil, red pepper flakes and additional seasonings, to taste. Cook for several more minutes, then add in the white wine, brandy and the butter. Stir to combine, then let simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the reserved shrimp in the last few minutes of simmering time.

Shrimp and Pepper Sauce Ready for Pasta

Shrimp and Pepper Sauce Ready for Pasta

Your pasta water should be boiling while you let the sauce simmer, so add the pasta and cook according to package directions. When done, drain, and divide the pasta into bowls or on plates. Pour the shrimp sauce over the pasta and serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. Serve with a side salad.  (I totally spaced on adding the Parmesan before shooting the photos, but I did grate some over it!)

Drunken Shrimp with Spaghetti and Peppers2

Drunken Shrimp with Spaghetti and Peppers2

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Chorizo-Based Carne Guisada

21 Feb
Chorizo-Based Carne Guisada1

Chorizo-Based Carne Guisada

I don’t have any prep photos of this recipe, because I was almost certain we would be ordering pizza after we tasted this. I couldn’t be MORE WRONG! It was simply amazing!! I was so astounded that I did snap a shot of my bowl of it (sans the flour tortilla for dipping, because I was still so non-plussed how great this tasted.) Then for grins I took a shot of my hubby’s interpretation of how this should be eaten.

I was going through the freezer and found a half a tube of Mexican ground chorizo sausage and decided to do something with it.  I also had two gallon bags of frozen tomatoes from our last harvest and I had to use at least SOME of them soon. I had made brined pork chops the night before, which were a total failure, I tell you. Hardly anyone touched the pork, so you won’t get any info on that except for my brining shot of it, sigh. I will not make THAT recipe again. Kitchn website, you failed me this time…

Brining Pork

Here I am brining pork, all fanchy schmancy. Little did I know….

I threw caution to the wind, and stuck the frozen chorizo, peeled frozen tomatoes, and almost a pound of the failed pork (cut up) into the crock pot, thinking if I just cook the hell out of something it might be decent. In went some chicken broth, potatoes, onions, spices and such. Just whatever sounded good. Then covered it up and cooked it all day long, hoping it wouldn’t be a last-minute pizza night.

I almost feel like I painted a masterpiece with this. Almost. This was INCREDIBLY delicious! My daughter and I couldn’t stop warming up more tortillas to slop up every last morsel of goodness. We also stirred in some cheddar cheese into the bowls, for garnish. My husband, on the other hand, made rolled up cheese quesadillas/burrito type things, stuck some of the mixture inside, and then slathered them over with more stew and mounds of sour cream. Mounds, I tell you. A little odd, but I let him do it. It’s his mouth.

Rolled Quesadillas with Chorizo Stew

Rolled Quesadillas with Chorizo Stew ~ or something like that. I really don’t know what to call this.

You may adapt however you like, because it’s not like I followed any semblance of a recipe to start with. (p.s. it is the ground chorizo that makes this recipe and sets it apart from my other Carne Guisada recipe, so at least don’t skip that ingredient!)

Hints: Whenever a recipe calls for a small amount of tomato paste or chipotle chiles, I freeze the rest (labeled) for later use. Just nuke for a tad and take what you need and refreeze. Yes, I got mine out of the freezer for this.

Now on to the (sort of) recipe!

Chorizo-Based Carne Guisada

Chorizo-Based Carne Guisada

Chorizo-Based Carne Guisada

1 pound of pork, cooked or uncooked, cut into small pieces
7 ounces ground Mexican pork chorizo, uncooked
2 cups diced tomatoes, frozen, from a can, fresh, whatever
1 medium potato, any kind, unpeeled, washed and diced
1/2 cup chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium, or water
1/2 cup chopped onion, any kind (I used red)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon of sauce from a can of Adobo Chipotle peppers
Juice from 1/2 small lime (maybe a couple of teaspoons?)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon Ancho chile powder (or any other kind)
Large pinch of cumin powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped (plus more for garnish if you want)
Warmed flour tortilla, for slopping up
Grated cheddar cheese, for garnish
Mounds of sour cream, for garnish (or not)

Prep your pork and veggies and such, throw them all in a crock pot, give it a good stir to mix, and cook on low about 8 to 10 hours or high on 4 to 6 hours. Give it another good stir at the end. That’s it! Serve with garnishes. Easy, huh?

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Authentic Tex-Mex Cheese Enchiladas with Chile Gravy

14 Jun
Authentic Tex-Mex Cheese Enchiladas with Chile Gravy

Authentic Tex-Mex Cheese Enchiladas with Chile Gravy

I was on a mission to both redeem and console myself after the prior night’s dinner disaster. I was wanting some Tex-Mex. Gooey, cheesy, spicy Tex-Mex. The kind of stuff you get at those mom and pop shops in the little towns scattered between the wide-open roads and ranches of Texas.

I’ve made plenty of Tex-Mex dishes in the past, and have a standard chile con carne recipe used for a lot of them. But mostly, when I cook up a Tex-Mex dish I don’t rely much on a recipe. It’s my take that any taco, burrito, tostada, or enchilada are just different shapes and cooking methods for pretty much the same ingredients, right?

Spices for Chile Gravy

Spices for Chile Gravy

But there was one dish I had yet to conquer, and that was the Authentic Tex-Mex Cheese Enchiladas with Chile Gravy. And what better place to start than the recipe from the Enchilada Queen herself, Sylvia Casares? She hails from the small town of Brownsville, Texas and currently owns two enchilada restaurants in Houston as well as offers cooking schools and catering.

I found a scaled-down version, time-wise, of her recipe in Texas Monthly magazine. I took my time and cooked everything linearly, instead of concurrently. Basically, I didn’t do any “meanwhile” cooking. But please, feel free to multitask on this one, I was enjoying each individual process so that I could become more familiar with each step for the next time I make these.

When the enchiladas came out of the oven, I was all set to take a plated shot (as best I could, as they come out of the pan pretty messy), but when I went to pick up the plate to move it to the table, it slipped out of my hands! In my spastic move to keep it from tumping upside down onto the floor, I smashed my other arm right on top of the plate, making a mess of not only the plate, but my shirtsleeve. The dish didn’t crash to the floor, but I was left with a pretty pitiful-looking plate of enchiladas and beans. And a dirty shirt. Thank goodness I had the foresight to wear an old camping shirt for this foray. I just sighed and thought “forget it, I’m hungry.” And sat right down to eat the mess.

 The Ill-Fated Shirt

The Ill-Fated Shirt

Ohhhh, but it was sooo good! I got a thumbs-up from the hubby and two thumbs up from my daughter. Even when she had the leftovers the next day she said “Mom, these are really really good! Are you going to make them again sometime?” The answer is a definite Yes!

I’m giving you the full recipe below as printed in Texas Monthly, but I did scale it down a tad since the dish I use for enchiladas only holds 9 rolled tortillas, which makes about two meals for my family of three. The full version makes 12 enchiladas. Suggested serving sides are refried beans and Mexican rice.

Authentic Tex-Mex Cheese Enchiladas with Chile Gravy
From Sylvia Casares via Texas Monthly

Prepare the Chile Gravy
1 1/2 cups white onion, roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves
1/4 pound lean ground beef
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup flour
2 cups beef broth (I used homemade)
3 tablespoons chile powder (I used half New Mexico Red and half Ancho)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine onion and garlic in a blender (or food processor) and purée on high for about one minute or until smooth.

Onion Garlic Puree

Onion Garlic Puree

Add purée, ground beef, and 1/2 cup water to a small saucepan and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes (skim froth from surface). Note from me: Don’t freak out if your onion/garlic/meat mixture turns a bit green in the first part of cooking it. It’s a natural reaction and all turns brown eventually.

In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium heat until hot. Lower heat, add flour, and stir continuously until the roux turns a light golden brown.

Heat beef broth and 2 cups water over low heat in a small saucepan or in a microwave oven. Combine all spices and add to flour mixture along with broth and ground beef and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes or until mixture is the consistency of gravy.

Authentic Chile Gravy

Authentic Chile Gravy

Let rest for at least 10 minutes before using. Makes about 5 cups.

Prepare the Tortillas Dipped in Guajillo-Árbol Chile Sauce
7 guajillo chiles, stems and seeds removed
2 árbol or ancho chiles, stems removed (I used Ancho)
12 corn tortillas

Put chiles and 1/2 cup water (I used about 1 cup) in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, adding water if needed. Let cool 15 minutes.

Chile Peppers Cooking

Chile Peppers Cooking

Purée the chiles and water in a blender or food processor on high speed until liquefied. Pass the purée through a strainer to remove any skins.

When almost ready to assemble the enchiladas, dip tortillas in the guajillo-árbol chile sauce one at a time and put on a plate. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.

Guajillo-Ancho Chile Sauce

Guajillo-Ancho Chile Sauce

Assemble the Enchiladas
1 cup vegetable oil
Chile Gravy
Tortillas Dipped in Guajillo-Árbol Chile Sauce
5 cups grated cheddar cheese (reserve 1 cup for garnish) (I used cheddar for the tortillas and Monterey jack for the top)
1 cup white onion, diced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Place one tortilla at a time in the hot oil and quickly turn with tongs or a nonstick spatula. Total time in oil should be about 5 seconds. Stack on a plate and use immediately in next step.

Enchiladas Smothered in Chile Gravy

Enchiladas Smothered in Chile Gravy

Distribute a row of about 1/3 cup (about 2 ounces) of cheese down the middle of each tortilla. Roll up and place side by side in a 9-by-11-inch baking pan. Pour the chile gravy over the enchiladas and garnish with reserved grated cheese and diced onion. Bake until sauce bubbles and cheese is melted, 10 to 20 minutes; do not allow to brown. Makes 12 enchiladas (serves 4 to 6).

Enchiladas Ready to Bake

Enchiladas Ready to Bake

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Carnitas Soup with Tomatillos and Chipotle in Adobo Sauce

29 Jan
Carnitas Soup with Tomatillos and Chipotle Pepper

Carnitas Soup with Tomatillos and Chipotle Pepper

Smoky, spicy, and tangy. That is how I would describe this soup. I was pondering what to do with our leftover Carnitas when inspiration struck me while walking through the produce section at the grocery store. It appeared a fresh load of tomatillos had arrived at the store, as the bin was overflowing with them. I decided right then and there I was going to make some carnitas soup with tomatillos. I grabbed about 8 of them, which turned out to be 3/4 pounds.

This soup was a tad too much on the spicy side for my husband but he still ate his full bowl. I had added the other half of the jalapeño I hadn’t used in the carnitas, but I also added 1/2 of a canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. (Please note that is 1/2 of a pepper, not 1/2 of the can!!) Chipotle peppers in adobe sauce have a beautiful smoky taste, but beware, those peppers are not only smoky flavored, but SPICY! So, so reduce the amount down, if needed.

Tomatillos for Soup

Tomatillos for Soup

Tomatillos are a very tangy fruit, so that is where you get the tangy. But we all enjoyed the flavors and textures of the soup, and my daughter even went back for seconds even though it made her sweat, lol! You can freeze the leftover chipotle chiles for a future use. I love to add a small amount  of them to white beans and garlic as a side dish, oooh yum. Last, the store I went to only had mongo pound-plus cans of hominy, so I just use a cup and a half of them, but if your store has a 14-ounce can or so you could use that instead. Once again, I froze the rest of them for future use.

Tomatillos, Onions, and Jalapeno

Tomatillos, Onions, and Jalapeno

Carnitas Soup with Tomatillos and Chipotle in Adobo Sauce

1 pound leftover Carnitas, recipe here, or cooked pork
1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
3/4 pounds tomatillos, husks remove, rinsed, and coarsely chopped
1/2 jalapeño, diced small
1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 of 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, diced small (or less)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
4 to 6 cups homemade chicken, turkey, or beef broth (or combination of any)
1 1/2 cups white hominy, drained and rinsed
1 jar of homemade tomatoes, diced, or can of diced tomatoes with liquid
Handful of chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
Lime wedges, for serving

Carnitas Soup Simmering

Carnitas Soup Simmering

Hopefully you have leftover Carnitas at this point. If not, cook up some pork with spices and set aside. Then chop up your onion, tomatillos, and jalapeño.  Heat up a dutch oven or soup pot over medium, then add the olive oil. I’m so bad about amounts on this part, I just eyeball it. But use enough to saute all your veggies. Once the onions start to soften, add the diced chipotle pepper and garlic, stirring until fragrant. Add the broth (I used a combo of turkey and beef broth) and then turn up to high until boiling. Add the hominy, Carnitas or pork, tomatoes, and cilantro. Bring back up to a boil again, then turn down to low to simmer. Simmer for at least one hour to let the flavors meld. Serve with additional cilantro and/or lime, to taste. Yummy!

Carnitas Soup with Tomatillos and Chipotle Pepper

Carnitas Soup with Tomatillos and Chipotle Pepper

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Roasted Tomato Salsa with Ancho Chiles

1 Jun
Roasted Tomato Salsa with Chicken and Rice

Roasted Tomato Salsa with Chicken and Rice

After taking a short break this week from cooking, I decided to plunge head on last night and marinated, roasted, grilled, and boiled to end up with some amazing chicken tacos on our plates. So many flavors danced in my mouth! Smoky, tangy, spicy, a hint of sweet. It took a bit of choreography to get this all ready at approximately the same time, but any of the components could always be made ahead of time separately and reheated (if needed) for serving.

Tomatoes Chiles and Onions Ready to Roast

Tomatoes Chiles and Onions Ready to Roast

We had our first sunny, pleasant day in about two weeks and knew I wanted to grill some chicken and settled on Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken. I had also (don’t laugh) taken my Ninja food processor to our RV camp last weekend and made some delicious roasted tomato salsa. I tell you that was a challenge to roast in our dinky RV toaster oven! Last night I decided to kick it up a notch and add some dried Ancho chiles. Wow! It turned an awesome salsa into an amazing awesome salsa. So I figured I would make the salsa and we could assemble some chicken tacos since I also had a ripe avocado. Last, my husband asked if I could also make some Cilantro Lime Rice, and I obliged.

Roasted Tomatoes, Chiles and Onions

Roasted Tomatoes, Chiles and Onions

If there’s only one thing you could make today, try your hand at this roasted salsa. You don’t need to have tacos to enjoy it, just grab a bag of tortilla chips and dig in!

Roasted Tomato Salsa with Ancho Chiles

2 dried Ancho chiles
4 Roma tomatoes
1/2 large jalapeño pepper
1/2 serrano pepper
1-inch thick slice of a large, sweet onion, quartered
2 garlic cloves, peeled
Olive oil
Squeeze of 1 or 2 lime wedges
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup cilantro

Place Ancho chiles in a glass bowl, and pour boiling water over them. Let sit for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the tomatoes, jalapeño and serrano peppers in half (deseed the peppers) and place them face down on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Add the onions and garlic, then drizzle some olive oil over the top of everything. Set your oven rack about four inches from the broiler,  and place the pan in the oven on broil. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes until the tomatoes and peppers are charred. The onions didn’t seem to want to char much but they did soften up.

Add the contents of the pan to a food processor and pulse to break up. My Ninja is so small I didn’t have room to add the Ancho chiles until I did that. If you have a larger food processor you could add them at the same time.  Anyways, take the Ancho chiles out of the water and remove the stem and seeds, and add them and the rest of the ingredients. Puree until the consistency of your choice. Serve warm, or chill until ready to eat.

Grilled Chicken Taco with Rice, Salsa and Avocado

Grilled Chicken Taco with Rice, Salsa and Avocado

p.s. Here is a picture of the Ancho chiles. Ancho chiles are actually dried Pasilla peppers, and can be found under either name, or both.

Ancho Pasilla Peppers

Ancho Pasilla Peppers

Chile Rellenos Soufflé with a Kick!

6 Jan

Chile Rellenos Souffle

My litmus test for Mexican or Tex-Mex restaurants is whether their chile rellenos pass muster with me. I have always been very picky with how chile rellenos are prepared and taste. I have never been fond of deep fried rellenos that arrive soggy, greasy,  and so over-breaded that it’s almost impossible to find the chile pepper in the inside of it.

I began my quest for the “perfect” chile relleno recipe shortly out of college. After many years of trial and error, I think I have come up with the perfect balance of taste and lightness for both the chile and the batter that enfolds it.  Embarrassing to say, but I used to use canned chiles in the recipe. But after finding out how easy it is to roast and prepare fresh chiles, I blanch at the thought that I ever did that.

Although there are many soufflé-type recipes for rellenos, what I found was they lacked the yummy corn taste that came with the cornmeal breaded and fried counterparts. My secret is adding a small amount of cornmeal and flour to the egg yolks before folding it into the fluffy beaten egg whites.

Stuffed Roasted Peppers

Oh! And the “kick” I promised! I also have always dressed up a can of red enchilada sauce with ground beef and other spices to pour over the top. But for Christmas I received from my sister in Austin the cookbook The Homesick Texan, by Lisa Fain. She had a recipe for a chile con carne sauce to go over cheese enchiladas, so I used that recipe tonight to pour over the rellenos after they came out of the oven. It was an absolute perfect pairing!

Here is her website:  http://homesicktexan.blogspot.com/.  I urge you to go check out her musings of Texas food, her writing style is refreshing and poignant. Her book also has many recipes not found on her blog. The sauce makes enough for 4-6, so my recipe has four peppers in it although I only used two this time. I am still awaiting confirmation to publish her recipe, so when I do hear back from her I will update this column to include it too if I get permission.  In the meantime, you can use any enchilada sauce you prefer for the rellenos.

Chile Rellenos Soufflé

4 Poblano or Passilla  peppers
Shredded cheese, any kind, enough to stuff peppers
3 eggs, separated into two bowls
2 teaspoons flour
2 teaspoons cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons water
Dash of salt
Paprika

1. Broil the peppers in the oven until they are blackened, turning often, about 10-15 minutes.
2. Place them immediately in a tightly sealed bag for 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, begin to prepare chile con carne sauce or enchilada sauce of your preference.
4. Peel the skin off the peppers, and cut a slit in them and remove seeds and rinse.
5. Place them in a lightly oil-sprayed casserole dish, and stuff with shredded cheese.
6. Mix the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and water into the bowl with the egg yolks.
7. With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites in the other bowl until foamy. Sprinkle with a dash of salt and beat until stiff, but not dry.
8. Fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites gently, until no more white is visible.
9. Pour the batter evenly over the peppers and sprinkle with paprika
10. Bake at 325 degrees, until puffed and lightly browned, about 40 minutes.

Serve with Chile con Carne or enchilada sauce, cilantro and sour cream, or any other garnishes you prefer, such as sliced avocado.

Bubbling Chile con Carne Sauce

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