Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bring Color & Flavor to Winter Cooking with the Piquillo Pepper

Envision a rich, sweet pepper, hand-picked from the hills of Peru and fire-roasted before being packed so perfectly that each pepper is ready to use, straight from the jar. Roland® Piquillo peppers are delectable and easy-to-use. Their vibrant color and piquant, roasted flavor makes them the perfect ingredient to liven up winter cooking. Sandra Gutierrez, chef and author of The New Southern-Latino Table, makes a scrumptious Chicken Stew with Piquillo Peppers and White Wine (recipe below) that will bring warmth to your kitchen. “Piquillo” is Spanish for “little beak,” which describes the beak-like shape of the pepper. Traditionally grown in Spain, Roland® Piquillo peppers are grown in Peru in a similar climate and soil. Bright red, sweet, and tangy, the Piquillo is a great addition to salads, stews, and sandwiches. The slightly smoky flavor adds a depth and intrigue to dishes. Because the piquillo is so delicately packed, it is perfect for stuffing or serving whole. The peppers are nearly uniform in size, color, and shape which makes them easy to use with little waste.

Drain the piquillo peppers and blot them dry with paper towels so they're easier to slice.
Don't rinse piquillo peppers under running water; doing so, removes flavor.
Use piquillo peppers in place of roasted red peppers in your favorite recipes.
To make a deliciously flavored sandwich spread or dip, simply process 3 or 4 piquillo peppers with 1 cup of mayonnaise and 1 grated garlic clove, until smooth.
Add finely minced piquillo peppers to your next pot of chili for a sweet touch.
Stuff piquillo peppers with a creamy salad (such as egg, potato or tuna) for a quick, easy, and elegant appetizer.


Chicken Stew with Piquillo Peppers and White Wine
By Sandra A. Gutierrez

1 large chicken cut into 8 portions
Salt and Pepper
2 tablespoons Roland® extra virgin olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced white onions
1-½ cups sliced Roland® Piquillo peppers
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cups chopped plum tomatoes
8 ounces white wine
¼ cup Roland® capers
1 cup black Roland® olives (like Kalamata), pitted and left whole

Pat chicken dry with paper towels; season liberally with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, set over medium-high heat, heat the oil. When the oil is hot, brown the chicken pieces on all sides, until golden brown. Remove the chicken to a separate plate and set aside; remove pan from the heat and with a spoon, remove all but 1 tablespoon of the fat rendered in the pan (discard the excess fat). Set the Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add the onions and cook, while stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until onions have begun to soften. Add the piquillo peppers, oregano, thyme, and bay leaf stir well, until combined and cook for 30 seconds. Add the plum tomatoes and the wine, stirring well and scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pot (and any juices that collected on the plate as it rested) and bring the liquid to a boil; cover, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the capers and black olives and cover again; simmer an additional 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (the juices will run clear when pierced with a fork). Before serving, season with more salt and pepper, to taste. Note: I like to serve this in deep bowls with plenty of crusty bread to help me sop up the juices. It's also delicious when spooned over an easy pilaf made with rice (or farro) or over cooked noodles.

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