Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ask Mary: Loving the Peppers, Not the Spice!

Ask Mary: Loving the Peppers, Not the Spice!

Dear Mary,
My husband loves all different kinds of chilies and peppers, so I try and cook with them often. Unfortunately, because they are spicy, the meals often come out unbearably hot. Is there anything I can do to tone down the heat?
Thanks, Virginia from Milwaukee

Hi Virginia,
When I was in culinary school we had a chili contest, and being from the south I jumped in really quick with my knowledge of chili, utilizing my new culinary skills. I made the chili ahead of everyone else, and decided to add a thickening agent of butter and flour (almost like dough) to improve the consistency.

Although the thickening technique worked, the heat of the dish disappeared completely. I didn’t win the contest, but I learned an invaluable lesson. Adding fat to your dish will decrease some of the heat of the chilies. Just be careful to use it in moderation as your husband, like most chili lovers, probably enjoys a little kick in the meal.

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