Note: The fairly mild heat of this pepper translates well to an onion-ring preparation. You’ll need an instant-read thermometer for monitoring the frying oil. In testing, we found that roasting the peppers in the oven yielded rings that can easily become too soft for creating good poblano rings, so we recommend blistering their skins over a gas flame — or watching them closely in the oven. These are best eaten right after they’re made. Adapted from Marcela Valladolid’s recipe in “America the Great Cookbook: The Food We Make for the People We Love From 100 of Our Finest Chefs and Food Heroes,” edited by Joe Yonan. Japanese breadcrumbs are larger and crisper than the traditional crumb, which could be substituted.
• 3 poblano peppers, preferably of equal size
• 3 c. vegetable oil, for frying
• 1 c. flour
• Coarse salt
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 1 c. panko breadcrumbs (see Note)
• 3 tbsp. chipotle powder
Working with 1 at a time, use tongs to hold each poblano pepper over a gas flame, turning to char the skin on all sides — but just long enough so the poblanos remain firm. They should take about 5 minutes per pepper. Immediately transfer to a heatproof bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap, so the skins will steam/loosen (about 5 minutes). Discard the skins, then cut the chiles into 1/2-inch-wide rings, discarding the stem and membrane/seeds.
Heat the oil in a deep pot or large, heavy saucepan to 350 degrees (over medium heat). Place a wire rack over a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
Meanwhile, arrange 3 bowls in an assembly line: 1 with the flour, seasoned with about 1 teaspoon salt; 1 with the beaten eggs; and 1 with the panko and chipotle powder whisked together.
Carefully and completely coat each ring first in the flour, shaking off any excess, then in the egg, and then in the seasoned panko.
Working in batches, fry the rings in the hot oil for about 1 minute, until golden, turning them as needed. Transfer them to the rack to drain; sprinkle lightly with salt right away. (Discard any unused flour, egg and panko.) Serve warm.
Chicken Pot Tot Hotdish
Note: There is something instantly comforting and wonderfully retro about this Tater Tot-topped casserole, with its expertly seasoned sauce and vegetables cooked to a nice texture. The original recipe mentions ketchup, for serving. But we like this hot dish just as it is. This casserole could be assembled, cooled and wrapped for the freezer; freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight. Adapted from a Molly Yeh recipe in “America the Great Cookbook: The Food We Make for the People We Love From 100 of Our Finest Chefs and Food Heroes,” edited by Joe Yonan.
• 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
• 1 large yellow onion, chopped
• 3 carrots (trimmed), scrubbed well and cut into 1/2-in. pieces
• Kosher salt
• 6 tbsp. flour
• 3 c. whole milk
• About 1 tbsp. concentrated chicken bouillon
• 3/4 c. fresh or frozen peas
• 1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-in. pieces
• 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 18 oz. frozen Tater Tots
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Melt the butter in a large sauté pan or deep skillet over medium heat. Once its foam subsides, stir in the onion, carrots and a pinch of the salt. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring a few times, until they have softened.
Sprinkle in the flour and stir to incorporate, then gradually pour in the milk while you are stirring, forming a sauce that is thickening. Then add the chicken bouillon base, peas, chicken pieces, dried thyme and a few grinds of pepper, stirring to blend well. Once the mixture begins to bubble at the edges, cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and add salt and/or pepper, as needed.
Transfer this filling mixture to an 8- by 11-inch baking dish or casserole with a 3-quart capacity. Use the Tater Tots to cover the surface of the hot dish, arranging them snugly and neatly. Bake (middle rack) for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Let cool slightly before serving.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 490 Fat 23 g Sodium 1,000 mg
Carbohydrates 40 g Saturated fat 9 g Total sugars 11 g
Protein 31 g Cholesterol 135 mg Dietary fiber 4 g
Creamed Rice With Vegetables and Ham
Note: This dish comes together like a risotto — with lots of stirring — so it helps to have all the ingredients prepped and ready to go before you begin. Adapted from a Steven Satterfield recipe in “America the Great Cookbook: The Food We Make for the People We Love From 100 of Our Finest Chefs and Food Heroes,” edited by Joe Yonan.
• 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
• 1 c. Carolina Gold rice or other aromatic long-grain rice, such as basmati
• 1/4 c. dry white wine
• 1 c. water
• 2 c. chicken broth, heated (may substitute pork or vegetable broth)
• 2 c. heavy cream, heated
• 1/4 c. finely chopped country ham
• 1 c. fresh or frozen peas
• 1 c. (1-in.) pieces trimmed asparagus spears
• 1 c. quartered radishes, plus rinsed and coarsely chopped radish leaves
• 1 to 2 tsp. kosher salt
Heat the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Once its foam subsides, add the rice and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring, until the grains turn opaque.
Add the wine; cook until it has been absorbed, then add 1/4 cup of the water, stirring until that has been absorbed. Repeat the additions of water until it is all used.
Gradually add 1/2 cup of the heated broth, stirring to incorporate. Then add 1/2 cup of the heated cream. Repeat with another 1/2 cup of each to form a risotto-like mixture that is well blended. Once those liquids are absorbed, stir in the ham, peas, asparagus, radishes and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt.
Continue to alternate adding the remaining heated broth and cream 1/2 cup at a time, until they are all incorporated. Taste and add some or all the remaining salt, as needed. Garnish with the radish leaves; serve hot.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 470 Fat 33 g Sodium 430 mg
Carbohydrates 34 g Saturated fat 20 g Total sugars 5 g
Protein 10 g Cholesterol 120 mg Dietary fiber 3 g