Okay, I’ll admit it…up until this year my idea of great Cinco de Mayo recipes consisted of margaritas (or a margarita marinated skirt steak). I would also admit to Sangria, but that is more Spanish than Mexican (but I threw some of those in too). Hell, up until a couple of years ago those Cinco de Mayo recipes were really only Cinco de Mayo tequila shots. But hey, I’ve matured (hi Mom!) and now I’ve actually got some legit Cinco de Mayo recipes up my sleeve. I’m only going to share one today cuz I don’t want to blow my load all in one shot ya know. I’ve got to have some material for next year too.
I was reading the latest issue of LA Magazine and checked out the Dine section. It’s a small part in the back that gives some restaurant reviews and does little write ups about new places (or fairly new places). And that’s where I found my inspiration! One of my favorite places in Los Angeles is LACMA (yeah, I’m cultured believe it or not). I haven’t been a member for a few years, but love going there to just hang out in the quiet and admire the art. A new(ish) restaurant and bar can be found there called Ray’s & Stark and LA Magazine had a photo and a little write up about the place. The photo looks a lot like mine and the dish is “Chile stuffed with Chorizo and Dates.” According to the restaurant website, it’s a wood roasted chile, chorizo sausage, dates, local goat cheese and almond sauce.
Bottom line…these stuffed chiles ain’t your mama’s stuffed peppers recipe. They. Are. Spicy. and they’ve got a TON of flavor. I didn’t use goat cheese for the tang…I used peppadew peppers. These stuffed chiles have a spicy growl from the chorizo sausage, a tang from the peppadew’s, a bit of a bite from the Anaheim chiles, and a little kiss of sweetness from Medjool dates, onions and tomatoes. There aren’t too many ingredients in these stuffed chiles, but people will swear that you spent all day making them (thank you chorizo sausage). They have such a complex flavor, you won’t believe it.
I realize that coating them in an almond sauce is a bit unusual, but trust me…it’s a sauce recipe that can be found in Mexican cooking. Hey, Rick Bayless uses it to coat his stuffed chiles recipe. It’s a very subtle sauce, but it adds a nice cooling balance to the heat in the stuffed chiles. There’s no cream in it and if your gluten intolerant, you could certainly use a gluten free flour when making the roux. You really won’t notice any difference since the nuts have such a strong flavor over the roux.
Since these stuffed chiles need to be eaten with a knife and fork (okay, really they just need a fork) I thought this would be the perfect time to give you ladies some advice I recently received from a very frustrated guy. Especially, in light of the the Cinco de Mayo holiday when you may be going out to get tacos, instead of making my delicious stuffed chiles with chorizo sausage and dates (shameless plug out of the way).
First date rules:
- Let the guy open the door for you. Yes, he can see that you are probably physically capable of opening the restaurant door for yourself. But he’d like to think that he’s being chivalrous and helpful, so let him get the door for you. (If he lets you walk right into a closed door, call a cab and go home immediately.)
- Order something that requires you to eat it with silverware. That means, no burgers or tacos. He doesn’t want to see you eating like a barbarian…he’s got his guy friends for that. As much as guys say they love it when a girl is “normal” and like a guy…if they wanted to be with a guy, and not a girl, they wouldn’t be out with you. Guys like to think, and see, girls behaving like ladies.
- Don’t be so self deprecating. If he compliments you on your outfit, say thank you…not “oh, I’ve had this for like 10 years.” He likes the way it looks on you…be happy and thank him. Don’t bitch about your day. At the same time, don’t act like you’re all drugged up on Prozac and be all shiny happy either (and if you are on Prozac, just be calm and pleasant).
It’s a first date. Even if he’s known you forever, this is the start of a potentially romantic endeavor. You can be yourself, and comfortable, but now he looks at you like you’re a woman and not just “one of the guys.”
Recipe: Stuffed Chiles with Chorizo Sausage, Dates and Almond Sauce
- 8 Anaheim Chiles (skins removed – see notes below)
- 4 Strips Thick Cut Bacon (chopped to small pieces)
- 1/2 Large Brown Onion (chopped fine)
- 1 Pound Chorizo Sausage (casings removed)
- 1/2 Pound Medjool Dates (remove pits and chopped)
- 4 Ounces Peppadew Peppers (chopped small)
- 7 Ounces Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes
- 2/3 Cup Slivered Almonds
- 2 Tablespoons Lard
- 2 Cups Chicken Broth
- 3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
- 2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin (or more to taste)
- Kosher Salt
- Pepper (I used white pepper so that there were no black flakes in the sauce.)
- After the skins are removed, cut off the tops of the peppers and remove the seeds.
- In a large sauté pan, over medium heat, cook the bacon until it begins to crisp up.
- Drain off bacon grease and return the pan and bacon to the heat.
- Add the onions, dates and chorizo to the pan.
- Stir to break up the sticky dates and to fully incorporate the ingredients together. Continue stirring until the chorizo is cooked through.
- Add the peppadew peppers and tomatoes and stir to combine with the meat mixture.
- Continue cooking until the excess liquid is almost gone. (You’ll need to stir this ocassionallly to ensure nothing sticks to the pan.)
- Remove from heat.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.
- Using your fingers or a small utensil, gently fill the peppers with the meat mixture.
- Once filled, lay them on a baking sheet leaving a 1″ space between each pepper.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven.
- Spoon some of the almond sauce onto a plate and lay two of the stuffed chiles on top of the sauce. Spoon more sauce over the chiles.
- Garnish with slices of the peppers and green onion tops.
- Lightly sauté the almonds in the lard until they start to turn golden in color, then remove from heat.
- Place almonds in blender, add the chicken broth and purée until creamy.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat and stir in the flour. Cook the flour until it turns a light tan color (continue to stir the mixture while it’s cooking so that it doesn’t burn).
- Add the almond mixture to the browned flour and cook over medium heat until creamy and thick, stirring constantly. The sauce should have the consistency of heavy cream.
- Taste for seasoning (with the salt and pepper) and adjust, if necessary. Add ground cumin and cover. Remove from heat.
- If the sauce gets too thick, thin it with some of your extra chicken broth and stir until you get the right consistency.
To remove the skins from the peppers. Wash and dry the peppers. Lay them out on a sheet pan and slide them under the broiler. Leave them there for 4-5 minutes (or until skins blacken a bit) then turn them over for an additional 4-5 minutes. Remove them from the oven, then cover them with a bowl. Let them sit for 10 minutes. The steam that accumulates in the bowl allows you to easily slip the skins off of the peppers without damaging the peppers.
You will have some of the filling left over. It’s fantastic in nachos or huevos rancheros.
Almond Sauce recipe from Mexican Meals
I used Peppadew peppers, but this would also be delicious with piquillo peppers.
I ended up using 3/4 teaspoon cumin…because I didn’t think that the cumin flavor was strong enough for my taste.
Preparation time: 30 Minutes
Cooking time: 30 Minutes
Number of servings (yield): 4
Meal type: dinner
Culinary tradition: Mexican