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The Habanero chile

A friend of mine once told me there is more to the culinary life than chile peppers. He might be right, but he keeps telling me this over my diner table, so go figure. The habanero chile (Capsicum chinense Jacquin) is the most intensely spicy chile pepper of the Capsicum genus. Unripe habaneros are green, but the color at maturity varies. Common colors are orange and red, but white, brown, and pink are also seen. Most habaneros rate 200,000-300,000 Scoville heat units (SHU), with the Guinness Book of Records recognizing the Red Savinas variety, developed by GNS Spices of Southern California, as the 'World's Hottest Spice' at 580,000 SHU.

For comparison, a Cayenne pepper is typically 30,000 to 50,000 SHU while police-grade pepper spray rates 5,300,000 SHU. A typical Jalapeno pepper is about 4,500 Scoville units. This means that 4,500 parts of sugar water are required to dilute one part Jalapeno extract until its heat can no longer be felt. Habaneros are believed to originate in Cuba.

Other producers include Belize, the Yucatan peninsula, Costa Rica and some US states including Texas, Idaho and California. The habanero's heat and delicate fruity, citrus-like flavor make it a popular ingredient in the hotter hot sauces and the spiciest of foods. We are going to discuss some ways of using the habanero for our own person cuisine, but keep in mind some to those heat statistics above. You don't want to accidentally get the juice from these peppers anywhere near your face or eyes. Recently I got a dose of habanero juice under my thumb nail, and it burned for three days no matter how much I washed it off.

So be careful, and we'll have some fun. Don't and possible side effects might occur. Bajan Chicken *3 fresh Habanero chiles, stems & seeds removed, finely chopped *1 tablespoon Caribbean-style Habanero sauce (I like Trinidad or Inner Beauty) *4 chicken breasts, skin removed *6 green onions, finely chopped, including tops *3 cloves garlic, minced *2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice *2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (I substituted cilantro) *1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (Because of a personal anti-clove bias, I substituted cinnamon; thanks to my dentist father, cloves remind me of stinky tooth decay .) *1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper *1 egg *1 tablespoon soy sauce *Flour for dredging *3 cups dry breadcrumbs *Vegetable oil for frying Combine the chiles, green onions, garlic, lime juice, parsley or cilantro, cloves (or cinnamon) and ground pepper. Cut deep gashes in the chicken and fill with the mixture. Secure open end with a toothpick to keep the stuffing from falling out.

Beat the egg and combine with the soy sauce and pepper sauce. Lightly dust the chicken with flour, dip in the egg mixture and roll in the bread crumbs. Apricot-Habanero Barbecue Sauce You want to do this sauce over and over again. A fruity sweetness, a rich vegetable aroma, and a dash of habanero makes this sauce just perfect for salmon, halibut, and catfish.

Try this with poultry and pork too. *1 yellow onion, finely chopped *2 cloves garlic *corn or canola oil *1 yellow bell pepper, roasted, peeled, and seeded *2/3 cup (150 g) dried apricots *1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinager *3 tablespoons (1/2 dl) brown sugar *1 1/4 cups (3 dl) water *1 tablespoon Colmans powdered mustard *4 tablespoon habanero hot sauce *salt In a pan, sauté the onion and garlic in a little oil until soft. Add the remaining ingredients, except the mustard powder and habanero. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, or until the apricots are soft.

Pour into a food processor. Season with mustard powder, habanero, and salt while processing to a smooth sauce. (Serves 4) Spicy Island Hot Sauce *1 ripe papaya, peeled, seeded & coarsely chopped *1 med yellow onion, coarsely chopped *2 med cloves garlic, minced *4 Habanero peppers, stemmed & seeded *1in piece fresh ginger, peeled & coarsely chopped *1/3 cup dark rum *1/3 cup fresh lime juice *1 tsp salt *2 1/2 tsp honey *1/8 tsp cardamom *1/8 tsp anise *1/8 tsp cloves *1/8 tsp turmeric *pinch of nutmeg *pinch of cinnamon *freshly ground black pepper to taste Combine all ingredients in blender and puree just until smooth (do not over-blend and aerate). Pour into saucepan & bring to boil, simmer gently, uncovered for about 10 min.

Remove from heat & allow to cool before bottling. Refrigerate, Sauce will keep approx. 6 weeks. Makes 2 cups. Enjoy. .

By: Jerry Powell


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