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Warm Up with Chiles on Chilly Days

By Jane Butel  January 25, 2023

With it so cold and blustery outside--a spike of chile is always one of the best tastes, almost tonics  around.  I just conducted a private class where we made my favorite Coq au Vin from  my "Hotter Than Hell"  cookbook.  It was so yummy, I thought  you might like to try it too.  The spice level can be as spicey as you and your guests would like.  If some of them have timid  palates or are afraid of chiles, you may leave the chile out of the flouring mixture and serve caribe chile on the side for each to add for their very own pleasure.

As an aside, I will never forget when I flambeaued this dish for a class in my early

days with the local electric utility and I leaned down close to the dish as I did it due to the overhead mirror being low.  As I leaned down, my hair caught on fire due to so much hair spray.  Several men in the front row jumped up and helped me bat it out.  I always say when I flame food now to have a lid handy i the flames leap high.

There were four people in the class and each was very interested in cooking and did quite well, which was great as they had chosen an ambitious menu.  Here’s the menu which is a  good "company-best dinner"  that works well for entertaining as it can be prepared ahead of time.  

Here's their menu--

Stuffed Mushrooms 

Coq au Vin with Buttered, Parsleyed Noodles 

Haricort Vert 

Baby Mesclun Greens with Honey Mustard Dressing 

Tres Leches Cake

Perfect Margaritas

We still have openings in each of our next classes, which are--Specialty and Basic Bread Baking--5 PM, Thursday, February 2, at 5 PM; and Red Chile Fiesta set for 5 PM Thursday, February 16.  More classes are listed on our website.

In the meantime, we have a weekend class set for the weekend before Valentines Day--what a Perfect Valentine?  It will be February  10 - 12.  And don't worry if you are football fans and the class runs late--we will have a large screen TV with the Big Game on it.   We are featuring a Valentines Special  of 2 for $1800  or $900 for one.  You may see  the very special menus for the weekend by clicking here. And there's a week long class in April and our Oaxaca tour in June.

Here's the Coq au Vin recipe--the best!  And anitger facirute chuku recuoe--

Coq Au Vin Caliente

This is my all-time favorite coq recipe, developed during my early New Mexico years. Fired with caribe and flamed with cognac, it’s a fabulous dish with a perfect marriage of flavors, certain to be a hit with family and guests—though you may want to hoard it all for yourself! Since this stew is so robust, accompany it with a soothing side dish. And, never, ever waste a drop of the savory sauce; if you have any leftover, freeze it for later use. It’s wonderful in all kinds of stews.

Yield: 6 servings

Cooking Time:

½ cup all-purpose flour

2 Tablespoons caribe (crushed Northern New Mexico red chile)

1 teaspoon salt

1 (3 ½ to 4 pound) broiler-fryer chicken, cut for frying

½ cup unsalted butter

6 Tablespoons cognac

1 clove garlic, minced

1 fresh bay leaf

4 sprigs fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme

¼ cup minced flat-leaf parsley

6 small white boiling onions, peeled

½ pound fresh mushrooms, any kind, sliced

6 slices thick bacon, heavily smoked country style sliced into ½ inch pieces

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup Burgundy or other good quality dry red wine

Fried Croutons

French bread, cut in 1 inch cubes

Olive oil

Unsalted butter

  1. In a paper bag or large shallow bowl, mix flour, caribe chile and salt. Dredge chicken in flour mixture. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large deep, heavy skillet (or in a chicken fryer) over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces and cook until browned on all sides, turning as needed; adjust heat as necessary to prevent over-browning.
  1. Add cognac to hot skillet and flame carefully, keeping a lid nearby to extinguish flames should they rise too high. When flames die, stir in garlic, bay leaf, thyme, 3 Tablespoons of the parsley, onions, mushrooms, bacon, and a generous grinding of black pepper. Pour wine over all. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 45 minutes, or until chicken is tender and sauce is thickened.
  1. Meanwhile, prepare Fried Croutons. In a skillet, toast French bread cubes in a mixture of half oil and half melted butter until light golden on all sides, stirring as needed. Cool.
  1. To serve, place chicken on a large warmed platter and cover with sauce, arranging onions decoratively around chicken. Sprinkle croutons over the top, and then sprinkle with remaining 1 Tablespoon parsley.

    Mexican Tortilla Chili

    Yield: 4 to 6 Servings

    Similar to tortilla soup, this spicy veggie chili is delicious. It is made in the Mexican style, whereby the vegetables are grilled prior to being added to the soup--the grilled veggies have deeper, more mellow flavor than their raw counterparts. The soup is made in two parts: the flavorful broth is prepared first and then poured over the vegetables.

    If you wish to make this a vegetarian dish, simply substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

    For the chili broth:

    8 large tomatoes, stemmed
    2 large Spanish onions, peeled and halved
    6 large Mexican garlic cloves, peeled (see note)
    1 quart chicken or vegetable broth (canned is fine)
    1 teaspoon chipotle powder, or 2 dried chipotles, reconstituted (see note)
    1 piece (2 inches) cinnamon, preferably canela (see sources)
    Salt (optional)

    For the chili vegetables:

    2 pounds butternut squash (1 medium squash), peeled, seeded, and cubed
    1 teaspoon ground dried Mexican oregano
    1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
    1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), with liquid
    1 small bunch Swiss chard, stemmed, sliced into 1-inch-wide ribbons (about 1 cup)
    1 teaspoon ground cumin

    For serving:

    1 lime
    Corn tortillas, warmed (optional)

    1. Prepare the broth: Score an X into the bottom of each tomato, cutting just through the skin. Place the tomatoes, onions, and garlic on a comal or other heavy griddle over medium-high heat and cook, turning, until the vegetables char on all sides, about 10 minutes. (Remove the garlic as soon as it browns a bit.) Transfer the vegetables to a plate and set them aside.

    2. Place the chicken broth in a large Dutch oven or small stockpot over high heat. Add the chipotle powder and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 5 minutes.

    3. Meanwhile, peel and chop the tomatoes. Chop the onions, removing any blackened spots and mince the garlic.

    4. Add the tomatoes, onions, and garlic to the broth, along with the canela. Simmer to blend the flavors, about 10 minutes. Remove the canela, taste the broth, and adjust the seasonings as needed, adding salt if desired. Keep warm.

    5. Prepare the chili vegetables: Bring 4 cups salted water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the squash and oregano, cover the pan, and simmer until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Add the black beans, garbanzo beans, chard, and cumin and cook, uncovered, until the chard is limp and tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the vegetables, reserving the cooking water.

    6. Cut the lime into quarters or sixths, depending on the number of servings. Squeeze a wedge of lime into the bottom of each individual bowl. Divide the vegetables among the bowls, and ladle the broth over them, covering the vegetables. (If the broth has become too stew-like, use the reserved vegetable cooking liquid to thin it to a soupier consistency.) Serve with warm corn tortillas, if desired.

    Notes: Before using dried chipotles, you must reconstitute them. To do so on the stovetop, place them in a small pot and add a dash of vinegar and water to just cover. Simmer them over low heat until soft, 30 minutes. Alternatively, place the chipotles, vinegar, and water in a quart size microwave-safe liquid measuring cup, cover with cellophane wrap and process 5 minutes.

    When the chiles are fork-tender, discard the water (or reserve it for later use in marinades and salad dressings) and mince the chiles.

    I’ve called for Mexican garlic here because it has a complex flavor and its large cloves are easy to peel.


Reprinted from the book “Hotter Then Hell




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