Mise en Place: Chile Peppers

August 7, 2009

Welcome to Mise en Place, a journey of culinary delight where anything can happen. Based on the Colorado Department of Agriculture's list of food by month, KRCC takes a look at farmers, chefs, and fodder, all with a Centennial State bent.

Each month, the state's agriculture department highlights a commodity and provides a recipe using that product. We take it a step further.

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The chile pepper owns August. KRCC's Aaron Retka took a trip to Peppe's in Pueblo, where owner Shane Milberger of Milberger Farms talked about the peppers...Aaron also talked his wife, chilephile Bettina Swigger, into whipping up a batch of green chile mac-n-cheese.

Click below for the green chile mac-n-cheese recipe heard in today's Mise en Place, and for a recipe for Rocky Mountain Jalepeno Jelly from the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

Green Chile Mac-N-Cheese
Recipe supplied by Bettina Swigger: chilephile, executive director of the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region and reporter Aaron Retka's wife.

3 cups penne rigate pasta
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
1 1/4 cups low-fat milk
pinch cayenne
pinch cumin
pinch chili powder
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups medium cheddar cheese, cut in chunks
1/2  cup parmesan, grated
4-5 green chiles, chopped
1/2 cup tortilla chips, crumbled

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cook pasta according to directions. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit, but don't let it brown - about 2 minutes. Add the milk, continuing to stir as the sauce thickens. Add salt and pepper, cayenne, chili powder and cumin, lower the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more. Stir in chopped cheddar cheese, during the last 2 minutes of cooking, stirring slowly as it melts. Add the chiles. Add parmesan last.

Butter a 1 -quart casserole. Put the cooked macaroni into the casserole, pour the cheese sauce over it, and mix gently with a fork. Sprinkle the crumbled corn tortilla chips over the top. Bake, uncovered, until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling, about 20 minutes.

Recipe from the Colorado Department of Agriculture

Rocky Mountain Jalapeño Jelly
Chef Jason K. Morse, C.E.C., Valley Country Club, Aurora, Colo.
ACF Colorado Chefs Association President

1 red bell pepper, diced small
8 green jalapeño chiles, diced small with seeds in
8 red jalapeño chiles, diced small with seeds in
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups sugar
1 pinch Kosher salt
2 tbsp. powdered pectin
1 tbsp. olive oil

Heat a small sauce pan and add oil, then sauté the pepper and jalapeños until just soft. Add the vinegar and bring to a rolling boil. In a separate bowl, mix the pectin powder with the sugar and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the boiling mixture and return to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, remove from the sauce pot and chill. Perfect on corn muffins, corn bread or corn pancakes.