Recipe For Health
by Chef Kurt Kwaitkowski
Featured Food: Anaheim Chile Peppers Yield: Serves 4-6Learn more about Anaheim Chile Peppers

Ingredients

  • 2 T. canola oil
  • ½ c. diced onion
  • ½ c. diced celery
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 T. ground cumin
  • 2 t. chili powder
  • ¼ c. diced yellow pepper
  • 2 Anaheim chiles, medium diced (with ribs and seeds)
  • 5 c. vegetable broth
  • 2 (15 oz. each) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ t. apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 T. minced fresh cilantro (optional garnish)

Preparation

Heat stock pot over medium heat; add oil, then sauté onions and celery for 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and spices; continue sautéing for an additional minute.

Deglaze pot with vegetable stock. Add peppers and let soup simmer for 20-25 minutes until peppers soften. Add black beans and simmer another 10 minutes.

Stir in vinegar, taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Learn More About Anaheim Chile Peppers

If you can’t stand the heat, try a different chile. There are dozens to choose from, and the hotness varies tremendously. The heat sensation generated by chile peppers is measured on the Scoville Scale, a way of scientifically rating chiles according to their capsaicin (cap-SAY-ah-sin) content.

Although there have been several recent claims for the title, the Bhut Jolokia chile, coming in at just over a million Scoville Heat Units (SHUs), still reigns as the world’s hottest chile pepper. That’s 200 times hotter than the jalapeno which ranges in heat from 3500 to 8000 SHUs. The coolest pepper of all? Not surprisingly, it’s the sweet bell pepper with exactly 0 SHUs.

If you want a little heat and a lot of flavor, the Anaheim chile is a good choice. Ranging from 500 to 2000 SHUs, Anaheims are sweet and a bit lemony with just a hint of heat. Anaheim chiles are a mild New Mexican pod type chile. Their long, narrow shape and vivid green color make them a standout in the market.

Select Anaheim chiles that are evenly colored and smooth skinned. Chile peppers keep better than bell peppers, 2 weeks or more if stored in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Handling chile peppers can be a challenge—even the mild Anaheims can burn your fingers. Unless you know you’re not prone to chile burn, it’s best to wear protective gloves. Chiles store a lot of their heat inside, in their ribs and seeds. To control the heat, remove these parts, prepare your dish then add minced seeds as needed to fit your taste.

This time of year is chile roasting time in the southwest. New Mexican chiles are roasted to remove the skin and to soften the flesh for pureeing into sauces. Roasted chiles freeze well. Drying is another way to preserve chiles. But don’t expect them to be labeled with their fresh chile name. Anaheims when dried become “California chiles.”

Peggy Crum MA, RD

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