Read The Laughing Chef's bio and previous columns


October 8, 2008

Roast Those Jalapenos, and Start Bellowing


There is something primitive within us all that is attracted to roasted foods. It is partly based on the method, which carries with it all the subtlety of a 21-howitzer salute.


It is this – you create a massive amount of heat, preferably direct fire, and apply that directly to the food.


Then, if you are holding true to your caveman forefathers, you eat with your bare hands and bellow into the night.


If you are roasting jalapeno peppers, on the other hand, this route is not advised since the oils that make the peppers hot can be as easily transferred to your fingers and then to other body parts as it is transferred to your tongue and mouth by eating one.


You may, if you wish, roast them in much the same way as your caveman forefathers did, by building a massive fire – perhaps even one visible from space – and cooking the peppers directly. If you do not have a fireplace or someplace outside specifically designed for this, you may wish to avoid it and seek an alternate route.


The method will depend on what kind of stove you have, and we will simply skip ahead to running jalapeno peppers that have blackened, blistered skins under cold water and removing the seeds from inside. To do this, you should wear gloves, or a casual wipe of the eye will send you into pain the memory of which may fade over time but will never totally disappear. You will forever be a scarred human being.


Once skinned and seeded, you will need to do something with the peppers. If it is cold outside, you will perhaps consider soup, which in some places is studied as if it were its own religion.


In a skillet, sauté some bite-sized pieces of chicken with garlic and chopped onion until softened and browned. Toss with the roasted jalapeno, which you should chop up.


In a pot, warm some chicken stock and add some corn kernels. Frozen, canned or cut right from the cob, it makes no difference. What you will want are corn kernels in just enough chicken stock that each kernel violates the personal space of the kernels all around it. This may cause some irritation at first among individual kernels, but you cannot worry yourself at this point about the personal aspirations of individual corn kernels. If they didn’t wish to give themselves over to the collective, they shouldn’t have so readily joined their fellows on cobs out in the field.


Boil until the corn is hot, and then puree it into a fine mush. If it is too watery, cook it down.


Add the chicken, onion and peppers and stir to blend flavors. Add some chopped cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. The final step is to add some shredded cheddar cheese and stir until it is melted and smooth.


Ladle into bowls, eat and – in the very finest traditions of your caveman forefathers – bellow into the night.


© 2008 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


Click here to talk to our writers and editors about this column and others in our discussion forum.


To e-mail feedback about this column, click here. If you enjoy this writer's work, please contact your local newspapers editors and ask them to carry it.

This is Column #TLC105. Request permission to publish here.

Op-Ed Writers
Eric Baerren
Lucia de Vernai
Herman Cain
Dan Calabrese
Alan Hurwitz
Paul Ibrahim
David Karki
Llewellyn King
Gregory D. Lee
Nathaniel Shockey
Stephen Silver
Candace Talmadge
Jessica Vozel
Feature Writers
Mike Ball
Bob Batz
The Laughing Chef
David J. Pollay
Business Writers
Cindy Droog
D.F. Krause