There are five major species of chile peppers and thousands of varieties, in a wide range of sizes, shapes and colors. Even experts disagree about how many there actually are. So it is probably not surprising that the spelling for the word itself is somewhat problematic. Is it chili, chilli or chile? You are likely to come across all of those spellings if you are reading up on the topic.
This comprehensive book (which serves as both a reference and a cookbook) from bestselling author and expert researcher Judith Finlayson takes you through dozens of chiles and provides absorbing information on everything from the historical and geographic origins of chiles to information on the Scoville scale (which measures the hotness of a chile and was invented by Wilbur Scoville) to the health benefits of chiles and finally, 250 delicious and inventive recipes.
Full color throughout, this book takes inspiration from chiles and embraces them with an enthusiasm that maximizes their true flavor potential. From fiery Tex-Mex inspired meals to savory and sweet Thai dishes, this incredible collection of recipes is sure to make you a lover of all things chile.
In Chinese medicine, which is fundamentally based on the balancing principles of yin and yang, heating foods are those that warm the body, feeding it with energy. Balance, which includes establishing equilibrium among the five flavors (sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami), helps the body’s vital spirit, called qi, to flow freely and support excellent health. Need I say more? Hot, sour, salty, sweet and loaded with umami from the soy sauce and mushrooms, which are also known to strengthen the immune system, this soup has all the makings of a restorative tonic. And it tastes good, too!
The addition of grilled chicken adds a flavorful and festive note to this simple chili. I like to use leftover chicken alla diavola (marinated in extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and chile peppers), which we often make on the barbecue. It adds pleasant hints of citrus and hot pepper to the mix, but if you’re opting for convenience, use a store-bought rotisserie chicken instead. You won’t be disappointed.
My paella is not traditionally Spanish. It is more like a Portuguese dish in the sense that it combines seafood and meat. But I’ve been making it for years and it is a family favorite—one that, I might add, I often serve to guests. Served with crusty bread, a simple green salad and some good white wine, it makes a perfect Friday night dinner with friends.
This simple stew captures the best of the Southwest – the seductive flavors of the chiles, combined with luscious chunks of turkey in a tomato-based broth. Comforting cornmeal dumplings complete the theme. Serve it as a one-dish meal – there really isn’t anything else you need, although you may want to add a tossed green salad.
- 1 tbsp olive oil 15 mL
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced (see Tip)
- 1 tbsp chili powder 15 mL
- 1⁄2 tsp cracked black peppercorns 2 mL
- 1 lb skinless boneless turkey breast, cut into 1⁄2-inch (1 cm) cubes 500 g
- 2 tbsp whole wheat flour 25 mL
- 1 can (14 oz/398 mL) no-salt-added diced tomatoes with juice
- 21⁄2 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock 625 mL
- 2 cups sliced green beans 500 mL
- 3⁄4 cup stone-ground cornmeal 175 mL
- 1⁄2 cup whole wheat flour 125 mL
- 2 tsp baking powder 10 mL
- 1⁄2 tsp salt 2 mL
- 1 cup buttermilk 250 mL
- 1 tbsp olive oil 15 mL
- 1. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add onions and celery and cook, stirring, until celery softens, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, jalapeño and chipotle peppers, chili powder and peppercorns and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add turkey and cook, stirring, until surface whitens, about 2 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juice and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld, about 15 minutes. Stir in green beans.
- 2. Dumplings: In a bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center. In a measuring cup, combine buttermilk and oil, mixing well. Pour into well and stir just until mixture is evenly moistened. Ensure stew is at a simmer and drop dough by heaping tablespoons (15 mL) onto simmering liquid. Cover tightly and steam until dumplings are puffed and tender, about 20 minutes.
- Chipotle peppers are dried smoked jalapeño peppers. When reconstituted and cooked in adobo sauce, they carry a lot of heat, so if you’re heat averse, use only half of one.
Make this delicious curry any time you have a craving for something lusciously different. It’s a great Sunday night dinner and is perfect for a potluck or on a buffet.
Whip up this Mexican-inspired spicy tomato-citrus juice during the dog days of summer, when tomatoes are abundant and in season. It’s a delicious nonalcoholic refreshment, but if you want to liven up the experience, add a dash of vodka or (as they often do in Mexico) a splash of tequila.