Chiles, Chiles, Chiles…

Latin American food fiesta featuring…Chiles.  Jalapeños in the guacamole. NM Hatch in the sausage.  Guajillos in the salad dressing.  First try at arepas was surprisingly easy.  I baked mine rather than frying to save some calories.  Only to be completely negated when I topped them with the wonderful hatch chile sausage I recently found at Food Lion !! Of all places!!  Very close to a Mexican style chorizo without as much paprika/annato. Topped with a little cheese and some crema, these little corn pillows are my new faves! 

Here is the recipe:

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal, finely ground in a rocket-type blender

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup grated cheese (cheddar, Mexican blend, mozzarella)

1/2 cup milk

1Tbsp butter + 1Tbsp vegetable oil

Warm milk, butter and oil in a pan or microwave.  Pour over remaining ingredients. Stir well. If too loose add more cornmeal.  Mixture must be thick enough to roll into a ball. Let mixture rest,covered for at least 15 minutes. Roll mixture into approximately 6-8 balls. Flatten balls into 3 inch discs about 1/3 inch thick.  Place on greased pan and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes until puffy and lightly browned on bottoms. Top with chicken, or sausage as mentioned above..or just cheese, if desired. 

 I rounded out the meal with a simple salad dressed with a guajillo dressing that is a knockoff of a recipe from “Pati’s Kitchen” that is simpler and yet so good you’ll want to put it on EVERYTHING you eat! 

My guacamole is a fan favorite around here….Psst…the trade secret for great guacamole….crush 1 clove of garlic for every two avocados with some  coarse salt and pepper in a mocajete or your favorite shallow bowl BEFORE adding the avocado, jalapeños, scallions, lime juice and a pinch each of cumin and chili powder.  

Finally, this most excellent guajillo chile dressing:

Blend together in a  NutriBullet 3-4 guajillo chiles cut into 2-3 pieces, with stems removed

1/2 cup oil (I like to use a blend of olive and vegetable oil)

2Tbsp water

1/8 cup cider vinegar

2tsp turbinado sugar

1/2 clove garlic

1tsp salt

Blend until a beautiful bright orange shade with peppers in tiny pieces

This dressing is good on salad but can be used to top bruschetta, as a drizzle in soups, as a sauce over rice and noodles, over a taco, over mac and cheese, as a bread dip…you get the point,  it’s addictive!

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