My parents have a love/hate relationship with hot peppers. Mama Chick hates them. She’s what’s called a supertaster. She has ultra sensitive taste buds that can pick up even the slightest hint of heat. If one of us is making a spicy dish for a family dinner, we’ve learned to leave the “spicy” out of it.
Papa Chick, on the other hand, loves hot peppers. Forget the Scoville scale, he measures how hot a pepper or a dish is by whether or not it makes him sneeze. If it’s sneeze-worthy, it’s hot.
Sister Chick and I fall somewhere in the middle. We like a little spice, but find that a burning mouth tends to ruin our enjoyment of a meal.
Papa Chick’s love of hot peppers is not limited to taste. He also enjoys growing them. Lot and lots and lots of them. This year, his harvest was particularly plentiful. So plentiful, in fact, that he had to resort to drastic measures to get rid of his bounty.
He gave some to the neighbors. He gave some to Nephew Chick. He sent some with Sister Chick to church. He dried some, ground them into powder and put the powder into jars for cooking.
Then he got sneaky.
I was home visiting the family at the peak point of pepper season this year. Papa Chick’s plants were so laden with fruit that the air around his garden felt a bit warmer and you could almost smell the spicy aroma in the air. Before I left to return home, he asked me if I wanted any bell peppers (another pepper he grows prolifically) to take with me. I like to make stuffed peppers so I responded with an enthusiastic “you bet!”
In typical Papa Chick fashion, by 6 a.m. on the day of my departure he had picked and packed up the bell peppers into a brown grocery bag, and loaded the bag into my car. It wasn’t until I was unloading the car after returning home that I realized what he had done.
Hiding underneath the two bags of lovely orange, yellow and green peppers was another bag filled with more peppers. Jalapeno peppers. Many, many, jalapeno peppers.Papa Chick is an expert at growing peppers.
If that were a bag of M&Ms, it would not have been a problem. But a bag filled with jalapenos…what’s a Chick to do?
I found this recipe online for Cream of Roasted Jalapeno Soup. It sounded interesting and I could just imagine how good the smokey, spicy flavor would taste.
The recipe called for 12 large, roasted jalapenos. That seemed like a lot, so I used 9. I roasted them on the grill and painstakingly removed the skin and seeds (wearing rubber gloves, of course) before blending them up with onion and cream and adding them to a soup base of thickened chicken broth.I originally started with 10 jalapenos, but mangled one beyond redemption while removing the skin and seeds. I strongly recommend roasting jalapenos outside on a grill. The scent would have been overpowering if I’d roasted them on the stove.
Finally, the moment to taste had arrived. I’d planned an entire dinner around this soup. It was to be the featured performer in our dinner show that evening.
Hot hot hot hot hot!!!!!!
All you could taste was the heat from the peppers. Where was all the smoky goodness? Where was the creamy, rich flavor? It was unpalatable. The Big Man agreed. Our mouths were ON FIRE!
That pot of Cream of Fire soup is definitely one of the most major recipe failures of my cooking career. Papa Chick had some ‘splainin to do.
“You should know I don’t grow the mild jalapenos, Chick,” was his only excuse.
Lesson learned. The next time Peter Piper Papa Chick picks a peck of jalapenos, I’m going to stay far, far away.
What do you make with jalapenos? Tell me in the comments.