Pepper Jelly is a weird, awesome ingredient that automatically makes whatever you are cooking just a little sweet with a bit of a kick. It’s a fantastic ingredient for soups, and makes an awesome appetizer over some cream cheese or even goat cheese with crackers. But, I wanted to do something a little different with it.
I’m finally coming to the point in this blog where I’m starting to throw together my own ideas instead of using recipes from my favorite bloggers, so this was really fun and a little stressful. Basically, the whole time I was cooking this awesomeness last night, my face looked like this:
It was worth it. I spent the whole day planning out when I would cook what so it would all come out at the same time, but it was worth it!
Start by chopping off the tops of a couple of dried New Mexico chiles. Split one side of each of them and get rid of all the seeds. Toast these in a pan for a few minutes until they are fragrant, and then put them in a bowl of warm water, whole, until they soften. This will take about fifteen minutes, and it will give you time to prep everything else.
Time to get started on the “Snazzy Pesto”. I just needed a good name for the title so I wouldn’t have to write “Arugula-New Mexico Chile Pesto without Nuts (because I don’t have any)”. Plus, I wanted to go in a slightly southwestern direction with everything, hence the chiles, so bear with me. It’s going to be fun.
If you are a garlic-head like me, chop up two cloves of garlic and throw them in your food processor. Otherwise, just use one kinda big one.
Here’s how I cooked everything so it would be done at the same time:
- Bring a pot of water almost to a boil. At this point, you want to add your chicken to a hot and slightly oiled cast iron skillet, or whatever kind of pan you have. Cast iron is my baby.
- When the water boils throw in your whole wheat angel hair (this is the timing for this particular pasta).
- In a small pan, cook down two tablespoons of hot pepper jelly, add a splash of water and a splash of tequila. Cook until it doesn’t taste like you’re taking a shot.
- Take the chiles out of their bowl of water, put them in your food processor with all the other goodies, and pulse until everything is all chopped up and pretty. Add cheese and continue to pulse until incorporated. Then pulse while you drizzle in as much olive oil as you like. I like a wet pesto, not a pasty one.
- When the pasta is done and the glaze is done and the chicken is brown, turn off the heat on the chicken and add the glaze. Stir it all around until the chicken is pretty and happy.
Thought I would get that out of the way so you don’t have to stress out the way I did. Here are some process shots!
Chicken (salt, pepper, pepper jelly, tequila)
Pesto (dried New Mexico chiles, arugula, garlic, salt, pepper, manchego, olive oil)