Fresh flavors, vibrant colors, intoxicating aromas...Saturday night's dinner began like so many before...with my husband lighting his Weber charcoal grill...a male, meditative ritual acted out in backyards and balconies clear across the globe! First up was a Poblano Pepper Cream Sauce, something I've been dying to make ever since watching Rick Bayless lovingly ladle some atop a perfectly grilled salmon fillet. (I wanted to dive into the television and profess my love for the man... until he was joined table side by his college aged daughter and wife Deann - then it just seemed wrong.) If I couldn't have Rick...I'd surely have that sauce!
This particular evening, however, the salmon was replaced with 1lb. Chicken Breast...salt and peppered and marinated in garlic, onion & chili powder, paprika, pinch of cumin, 2 tablespoon chipotle in adobo, cilantro and just enough olive oil to coat - a combination of flavors we're been using on poultry for some time. While I can't remember exact measurements, bathe your chicken in any form of this marinade for a few hours, and your guests will assume you spent a brief stint as an apprentice in the finest establishment in Mexico City!
We roasted the poblanos on top of the grill, then placed the charred peppers in a brown bag to steam. A few minutes later...their blackened skin was simple to peel! Removing the stems and seeds, we gave the peppers a rough chop, then added them to sauteed garlic and onion, 1/2 cup of heavy cream, pinch of salt and pepper and pulsed in the blender until silky and smooth. One spoonful was all it took, to put me right there back with Rick. (We were sipping wine, reminiscing over our respective travels and sharing our dismay towards the dwindling intensity of jalapeno peppers.) Meanwhile...my husband was inside putting the final touches on a Black Bean Salad - cilantro, red onion, tomato, pepper and ripe avocado... all folded together harmoniously in a fresh, homemade lime vinaigrette. (Rick ...who?!)
Lightly grilled flour tortillas warmed atop the smoldering coals...we found ourselves eating alfresco, drinking muddled mojitos with mint from the garden. We were enjoying a Southwestern spread you'd expect to see displayed in a sunset desert setting...deep within the pages of Bon Appetit!
Poblano Pepper Cream Sauce (this is the recipe that came together after messing around with the amounts - delicious and can certainly be adjusted to your desired taste and consistency)
4 smaller sized poblano peppers, rinsed and dried (or two larger ones)
2 T olive oil
1 small onion chopped
2 large cloves garlic chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 T butter (optional) just felt it rounded the sauce out nicely
S&P to taste
Roast peppers over grill, open flame on stove or broiled in the oven until black. Carefully place in brown paper bag and close up the bag to allow the peppers to steam within. (We place a damp paper towel in w/the peppers - just to encourage a steamy environment and make the skin easier to peel.) After about 5 minutes, remove the blackened, charred skin, remove tops, stems and seeds, coarsely chop and set aside. Saute onion a garlic in olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped pepper, cream, butter, dash of salt and fresh cracked pepper. Pulse in blender until smooth and almost foamy. S&P again to taste - only if needed.