In the spirit of a new cookbook, I wanted to try a recipe right away! So, I settled on something I knew would be an instant winner! Corn Risotto stuffed Poblano peppers! We also threw in a skirt steak with a little chimicurri sauce that I was toying with in preparation for some guests we have coming over in a few weeks time! I even got a couple new plates too (per suggestions from friends for better photographing)!
Now, I can’t share the recipe here (because that wouldn’t be nice or fair), but I will share some of her tips that I found useful/were very new to me (I love that I’m always learning something new), and some tips I have for some of the other components in my dish. The first, regarding skin removal of peppers.
The technique of blistering pepper isn’t new to me, but I am learning that blistering can alter the flavor profile of a dish in so many ways, and usually for the better, but you won’t know unless you do or do not. So, I decided to a) blister the jalapeno I was using in my chimichurri, and b) not blister the poblanos I was using for the risotto (which the recipe said I could choose to do if I liked the skins, which usually, I do). That being said the chimichurri was by far the best I’ve ever made (recipe below), but the peppers…yeah, I should have listened to Ms. Perelman on that one…the peppers took twice as long to get nice and soft with their skins, and frankly the skins were so overpowering in a watery, bland way that it tamed the entire dish to a flat-line. For the smaller peppers that blistered naturally on the bottom as they roasted, those were the best bites, applying themselves more agreeably to the corn risotto that was super rich and creamy. Lesson learned: If you have the option to blister your peppers, do it…your taste buds will thank you for it.
Risotto: I’m definitely a converted traditionalist now, and I’m cringing at all the recipes that skipped these steps because this was by far the best risotto I’ve made. The main things: 1) Your stock should be hot, boiled separately from your risotto, and left to simmer until ready for use so as not to reduce the cooking temperature of your risotto (and also saves a few minutes on cooking time). And 2) After researching this a little more afterwards, adding a little stock at a time will allow the starch from the rice to dissolve into the sauce you’re making, which makes it creamy.
This is definitely a dish I’ll make again (skin off for sure), but it was definitely super yummy! And I HIGHLY recommend checking out her cookbook for more awesome recipes! Her website is also chock-full of amazing recipes too! I also paired it with blacked chicken tacos for next day leftovers! YUM! (Seasoning recipe link included below, but I didn’t do the pineapple salsa mostly because I have to be in a mood for pineapple…what can I say, I’m a little picky too!)
Blackened Chicken Tacos from Jessica Gavin: Culinary Scientist
Yields 1/2 cup
- 1 jalapeno, skin blistered & deseeded
- 1/2 cup parsley
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt (can add more to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Juice from 1/2 lime (can add more to taste)
- 1 tablespoons red wine vinegar (add more to taste)
- 1/4 cup olive oil (add more if you like your chimichurri more liquidy)
Directions: Blister your jalapeno on the rack of a stove burner till skin is black. Place in a bowl and cover for a few minutes. Then, remove skin, deseed, and place in a food processor. Add parsley, cilantro, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and lime juice. Blend all ingredients together till well mixed, then add red wine vinegar and the olive oil (a little at a time) until chimichurri sauce is at desired consistency. Add more vinegar/oil/lime juice/salt to taste.