I didn’t really like the smoky taste of chipotle peppers over a year ago, but something has switched in the past year. I now appreciate that smoky flavor and actually, CRAVE it every once in a while. More specifically I love that flavor in soups and side dishes, not particularly in salsas, but I keep trying it. So maybe I like it as a background or base flavor instead of the star of the show.
Chipotle peppers are actually smoke dried jalapenos. They are jalapenos left on the plant until they turn bright red. Then they are smoke dried for a number of days, giving the peppers that smoky flavor. You can find them in their dry state or canned in adobo sauce. I use the canned in adobo peppers.
Chipotle peppers provide and support a number of health benefits, including:
· Cancer Prevention – Certain chemicals in the chipotle pepper, most specifically capsaicin (what gives the pepper heat) causes cancerous cells to die off.
· Decreases Risk of Cardiovascular disease – Chipotle peppers reduce cholesterol and capsaicin widens and relaxes blood vessels creating a wide passage and lower blood pressure.
· Supports Immune System with high amounts of vitamin C.
· Supports Digestion – Chipotle peppers have a high amount of fiber.
I made a side dish last week that I am absolutely obsessed with now! I wanted to share it with you right away, but I had already planned out my blog post for that week. Let me tell you, it was soooo hard to wait until this week to share it. This is another Robyn Original, so work those cooking skills and tasting habits!
Chipotle Butternut Squash & Kale
By Robyn Johnson
1 Butternut Squash
½-1 red onion
2 cloves garlic
1-3 chipotle peppers in adobo, to taste
1 Bunch Lacinato Kale
1 Bottle of craft beer
Preheat pan. Dice Butternut Squash & Red onion. Chop kale after removing hard stem.
Add a little oil to pan and add squash and onion. Add a little sea salt. Sautee until squash softens.
When squash and onions are soft, add smashed and diced garlic, and chipotle peppers. Cut the chipotle peppers in half and scrape out the seeds. Then chop them up a bit. I started with one pepper and then waited to taste after a little while and added one more. Remember, you can always add, but you can’t take out! Let the garlic and peppers heat up for about 30-60 seconds, stirring to get all there love mixed in to the veggies.
Add the kale. Stir everything. Let the kale cook for a few minutes.
Deglaze with ½-1 whole bottle of beer. You could use stock or water, too. Let the simmer for a little while. Test the squash to see if it’s done to your liking. The dish will be done when the squash is done. If it dries out add a little more beer or water and cover the pot.
You could eat this plain, as a topping for rice or any other whole grain, you could use it for a filling in a wrap, or quesadilla. I used it as a topping on a quesadilla with a little dollop of Greek yogurt. SOOOOO GOOOOOD!!
Side Note: Chipotle flavors go REALLY great with mango, too – match made in heaven for that sweet and spicy flavor!