November 28, 2010

Spicy Cauliflower over Rice

I wonder why chipolte peppers come in cans.  Every recipe I have ever used that calls for chipotle peppers calls for "1 or 2 chipotle peppers from a can."  I open the can and freeze the rest, and if I am lucky, I label the bag that I freeze them in, so I don't get it confused with tomato sauce.  Why don't they just sell chipotle peppers in adobo frozen in the first place?

Recently I opened a can of chipotle peppers in adobe and I have been chipping away at the leftovers in the freezer ever since.  They add a nice smokey heat to things, but be careful, because they really are spicy.  A little goes a long way. 

Serve this comforting dish of soft veggies in a spicy, creamy sauce over plenty of steamed rice to counteract the heat.  For some textural contrast and a protein boost, top with toasted slivered almonds. 

Spicy Cauliflower
Inspired by the New York Times
Serve over steamed rice.  Serves 6 as a side dish, 4 as a main dish.

Chipolte peppers packed in adobo sauce offer a smoky heat. They are generally found in the Mexican section of the supermarket.  If you don't have them, substitute a dried chile of your choice.  Dried chiles can be purchased in the Mexican section of most supermarkets.  I get mine at the farmers market in the winter. In fact, Mr. Vogel had bags of them available this week.  Stored in an airtight container, they keep at least one year. 

1 lb cauliflower, cut into large florets, trim stalks and stems and cut into bite-size pieces.
2 carrots, sliced on the diagonal
1 green pepper, sliced into 1" squares
1 clove garlic, crushed

1 chipolte pepper from a can
1 dried chile of your choice, I like cayenne
1/2 cup chicken broth or water
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 can coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon sugar

 Red pepper flakes  to taste
 Cilantro and lime wedges to garnish
Optional:  toasted slivered almonds
To serve: Steamed jasmine or short-grain rice

In medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, combine cauliflower, carrots, green pepper, garlic, chipotle, chile and broth or water.  Bring to a simmer.  Season with salt.  Make sure that chipotle pepper is immersed in liquid.  Cover pan.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 5-7 minutes, until cauliflower is tender.  Remove lid, increase heat to medium high.  Make sure that chipolte pepper has broken up into pieces to incorporate the flavor into the whole dish.  If not, crush it with a spatula or spoon.  Add coconut  milk and sugar.  Stir to combine and let simmer another minute or two.  Remove dried chile and add red pepper flakes to taste.  Transfer to serving dish and garnish generously with chopped cilantro and almonds (if using).  Have lime wedges available.

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