Bhut Jolokia-The Hottest Chile Pepper

jolokiaThere is a recurring bit in “The Simpsons” where Homer eats some kind of fiery spicy hot food, has a cartoonish physical reaction like flaming smoke rings flying out of his mouth while shrieking, then promptly and calmly says “more please.”

Not so when Dr. Paul Bosland of the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University bit into a Bhut Jolokia, now considered the world’s hottest chile pepper. One bite was enough to convince him that this pepper packed some record setting heat and what he’d really like was a glass of milk and not another helping of that pod.

The Bhut Jolokia is indigenous to north eastern India and the name translates into “ghost pepper.” Seeds were sent to New Mexico by a colleague of Dr. Bosland. Plants were raised under controlled conditions and the heat levels tested in laboratories. Would you believe a pepper three times hotter than a habanero? Over a million Scoville Heat Units? Dude, that is hot!

You can read more about Bhut Jolokia here.

Turkey Soup With New Mexican Chile

This recipe is less about the New Mexican chili and more about what the heck to do with all that turkey you have left over from the holiday dinners. More specifically, the bits and pieces of dark meat scattered about the platter. Sure, the breast meat will find its way into sandwiches and omelet’s faster than Uncle Purvis can scratch himself and ask for seconds, but what about the lowly chunks of wing and thigh meat?

Whack that dark meat into bite sized pieces then break out a big pot and a can opener. This one is easy but mighty tasty with green Hatch chile.

You’ll need:

2 14.5 oz cans of diced stewed tomatoes. Don’t drain.
1 or 2 cans of chicken broth
1 pound of left over turkey meat
1 green pepper cut into bite sized pieces
1 4 oz can of New Mexican chile preferably green Hatch chile
1 7 oz can of whole kernel corn, drained
1 small can of sliced black olives
3/4 cup of that weird salsa you got for Christmas. Now is the time to use it.
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried crushed basil
1 tsp granulated garlic
salt and pepper to taste

In your large pot, combine all ingredients, bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. If you want to make it really hot, throw in a Bhut Jolokia.  Serve in soup bowls with warm tortillas on the side. Optional toppings for the soup include chopped green onions with the green tops, fresh cilantro and shredded cheese.

Beef and New Mexican Chile Quesadillas

Quesadillas are a great way to enjoy the flavor of green New Mexican chili. Most people probably cook quesadillas in a large skillet but this recipe uses a hot oven to crisp up the otherwise floppy flour tortillas. It also uses ground beef as part of the filling but chicken, turkey, pork, veggies, or just cheese works well too. Just don’t forget the Hatch chile! Here’s what you’ll need…

1 lb of lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
3/4 cup of your favorite salsa
1 (4 oz) can of chopped green Hatch chile, drained or use New Mexican chile you’ve prepared
2 cups shredded cheese such as Cheddar, Colby or Colby Jack
salt and pepper to taste
10-12 medium flour tortillas.
Preheat the oven to 450 F. In a large skillet brown the ground beef and onion over medium heat until beef is no longer pink. Pour off drippings and season with salt and pepper. Add salsa and the chopped New Mexican chile, then stir in cheese.

Spoon about a 1/4 cup of beef mixture onto half of each tortilla. Fold over. Place quesadillas on baking sheets and lightly spray tops of the tortillas with cooking spray.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until tortillas are slightly brown. Serve them with rice and beans or a salad and guacamole.

New Mexican Chile Stew

I’m really looking forward to the end of the summer heat and some cool evenings now that the calendar says it is fall. Not that you would know it around these parts, but I digress.

Cooler weather calls for stews and the following recipe is a pretty classic one for New Mexican  chili stew. So pull out the Dutch oven or a big ol’ stew pot…

Here is what you’ll need:

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds beef or pork stew meat
1 medium onion diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
6 cups vegetable or beef broth
3-4 medium potatoes, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
2 teaspoons Kosher salt, to taste
3 cups roasted, peeled, chopped green New Mexican  chile or to taste. If you want to supercharge the heat factor, add a Bhut Jolokia or two, but proceed with caution.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat and brown the meat in
batches. Set aside. Saute the onions until golden.
Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Return the meat to the pan. Add the broth, potatoes,
salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for one hour, until the potatoes are tender. Add the green chile and cook 15 to 20 minutes more.

Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro if desired. Serve with warm tortillas.

Chicken Chile Recipe

I’m thinking this recipe using green New Mexican chile has some Cajun influence somewhere in its history because it starts with a roux. Or maybe I’ve been watching too much Emeril Live.

Grab a big pot and a half cup of New Mexico green chili.  Hatch chile would be excellent.

In a large pot, melt 1/2 cup butter. Add 3/4 cup all-purpose flour; stir the resulting paste over medium heat. Do this long enough to cook the flour a bit.Add 2 cups milk and 3 cups water, and stir to blend. If there are any lumps, use a whisk to stir them out. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Add 2 cups cooked, boneless and skinless chicken cut into bite-size pieces.Add 1/2 cup chopped green Hatch chile,  salt and pepper to taste and a pinch of garlic powder. Stir well and cover. Simmer 30 minutes and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Source: DMN, allrecipes.com