Some like it hot

Capsicum Chinense Peppers

These are not for the feint of heart, and I am not sure if I will make them again. My friend Sarah took about 30 minutes before she could feel her lips again after eating one. They are certainly not something to savor in the mouth for a long time.

The stuffing is easy to make. Cook the finely chopped mushrooms with some olive oil. When they are cooked, remove them from the heat and allow them to cool.

For the recipe you will need:

Capsicum chinense peppers
A tomato
Feta cheese
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

While the mushrooms are cooling, chop tarragon, feta and tomato. Then mix the ingredients into the mushrooms once they are cool enough not to melt the cheese.

To prepare the peppers, chop the tops off, and wash them in running water. The washing process removes some of the heat (with the aroma coming of these little beast it can sometimes be hard to breath during the washing). Depending on how much heat you like, keep washing and soaking them to make sure all the seeds are gone. I spent about 30 minutes doing this, and they were still a bit to hot. If you can find an alternative bit sized pepper with less fire please let me know. Perhaps the chili man’s database of more than 3500 chili peppers is a good place to start.

Stuffed Capsicum Chinense Peppers

Once the peppers are washed, stuff them with the mushroom mixture, and bake them for about 20 minutes in a hot oven.

Once cooked, allow them to cool, and drizzle with more olive oil. I like them served cold with a very large icy cold beer.

Not mushroom on the grill

In my article about buying a new grill, I mentioned that my grill was too small. Part of that reason was due to cooking more than the meat element. Most of my friends are also a barbecue enthusiasts’ nightmare, they are vegetarians. Rather than excluding the veggie eaters from the party, I see this as a challenge, and it’s one of the reasons I have invested so much time into the vegetable barbecue.

On Monday night, unquestionably the star feature of the main course what the grilled Portobello mushroom with blue cheese. Two of my guests won’t eat cheese, and it works equally well without the cheese. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures, so I made them again with a goal of taking some photos.

Grilled Portobello Mushroom – Photo: Chris Summers

The dish is a very suitable starter or side dish, but equally a really large (or two smaller Portobellos) could be presented as a main course. Wash the outside of the mushroom, being careful not to get the gills too soggy, and place the mushroom cup side up on a plate. Sprinkle it with some olive oil, salt and pepper and drop a few knobs of butter on the top. Today I topped it with a few blobs of Brie and a sprinkle of fresh thyme instead of the butter. Other alternatives could be blue cheese or finely chopped garlic and other herbs.

For best effect these are cooked very slowly, away from the direct heat. This allows the juices of the mushroom to slowly come out and make it really soft. I normally put them on the top shelf of my grill before I put the meat on and cook them for about 40 minutes. They also work just fine in the oven (about 180 degrees C for 25 minutes). They can be a bit greasy, and if you use cheese they can be very rich, so I tend to serve them with a strong tasting salad of something like arugula or watercress. I hope they bring you as much joy as they have my guests.