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Chicken with Roasted Poblano Chile Cream Sauce

Fire Up The Grill
By Steve Collins
The Home Chef

I love the simplicity of this dish. Fire roasted poblano peppers have a wonderful complexity of flavors. You can roast them on the grill, under the broiler, or on the gas burner of your stove. Simply heat the peppers using direct heat until the skin begins to char. When all sides are charred, put the peppers in a paper bag for 15 minutes, then peel, remove the seeds, and chop. Don’t worry if you don’t get all the char; it will still be good. Serve with rice and a side salad.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp. butter
1 medium onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 poblano chilies, roasted, peeled, seeded, & coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 c. heavy cream

Prepare a hot fire in your grill. Put the poblano chiles on the grill directly over the fire and roast on each side until the skin begins to char. When all sides are charred, put them in a paper bag for 15 minutes then peel, remove seeds, and coarsely chop. (Don’t worry if you don’t get all the char; it will still be good.) If using charcoal, add more charcoal to the grill; if using gas, allow 10 minutes to reheat the grill.

Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and lime juice. Refrigerate them until ready to cook.
To make the sauce, heat butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for five minutes (until tender). Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the chilies and cook for three more minutes. Stir in the cream and cook until the cream begins to thicken. Add the cilantro and remove the pan from the heat.

When the grill is ready, place chicken on the grill rack and cook for three to four minutes. Turn and cook for three more minutes on the other side.
Serves 4.

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Side dishes guaranteed to make your summer cookout sizzle

By Paul Kirk CWC, Ph.B., B.S.A.S.
Kansas City Baron of BBQ
Barbecue Guru
Order of the Magic Mop
Ambassador of BBQ
Certified Master BBQ Judge

It’s time to work on side dishes. Last weekend I was talking to Jason Day (Burnt Fingers BBQ), and it came up in the conversation that he needed to do something different with pulled pork for his uncle’s pot luck party for 150 people. I said I had just the thing from America’s Best BBQ, Revised Edition which came out May 1, 2015. When Ardie Davis and I were doing some research for the book, we came across BBQ Corn Bread at Spencer’s Smokehouse & Barbecue in Midwest City, OK, and I have made it at least six times and love it! This can be served as a side, bread, or as an entrée.

BBQ Corn Bread
1 lb. pulled pork
1 c. cornmeal
1 c. all-purpose flour
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. whole milk or as needed
1/2 lb. (2 sticks) butter, softened
4 large eggs
14.75 oz. can creamed-style corn
1-2 jalapenoes, seeded and minced or to taste
1-1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

4 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. barbecue sauce
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne or to taste

Preheat oven to 350° F. Generously spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Shred the pulled pork into fine pieces and set aside.
In a large bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt.
In a separate large bowl, stir together the sugar, milk, and softened butter. Stir in the eggs one at a time until well incorporated. Add corn, peppers, cheese, and pulled pork and stir by hand (don’t use an electric mixer), until well blended.
Add the flour mixture to the corn mixture and stir by hand until well blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.
To make the topping: Combine all of the ingredients and melt in a microwave. Brush over the cooked cornbread and return to the oven for 5 to 7 minutes. Cool completely, then cut into squares and serve warm.  
Years ago I opened Molly Potts Chops and Chicken, where I served spicy fried chicken so I needed a spicy coleslaw and this is what I came up with.

Paul Kirk’s Bayou Hot Slaw
1 medium head cabbage (2-1/2 to 3 lbs.), shredded and chopped
1 large onion, minced
1 large green pepper, minced
1 small sweet red pepper, minced
4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1/2 c.vegetable oil
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. water or chicken stock
1-1/4 c. white vinegar
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne

Place the first five ingredients in a large salad bowl and mix well.  In a saucepan, heat the oil and bay leaf and stir in the flour, but don’t let it brown.  Add the sugar and water, stirring until thickened. Pour in the vinegar and the rest of the ingredients, stirring until you have a smooth, thick sauce. Cool to lukewarm and pour over the slaw. Toss and mix well. Chill and serve cold. (If you want a hotter slaw, add more cayenne)
So I’m sure none of you could live without that bit of information. Why on earth August is baked bean month I can’t imagine. August is usually the hottest month of the year, and the last things I am interested in doing in The Dog Days of August is eat hot baked beans or have my oven on for hours and hours. But just to keep in the spirit of things, I’m offering a couple of recipes, one for traditional Boston Baked Beans and one for a similar, yet zesty dish that I ran across in the Yucatan.

"Mom's Best Baked Beans"
1 c. dried navy beans
1 c. chopped onion
1 chopped clove garlic
2 c. water
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. molasses
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/16 tsp. ground allspice
8 oz. can tomato sauce
Rinse and drain beans; place in large bowl (I put it in the crock from my crock pot) with all remaining ingredients, except tomato sauce. Mix well, cover, and place in the refrigerator overnight.

To cook: Transfer bean mixture to crock pot (if you didn't soak in crock). Add tomato sauce and cook on medium for 8 hours or until beans are tender. Check beans halfway through and add more water if necessary. Remove bay leaf before serving.

For a quick, easy meal, serve with cornbread and sliced fruit or a salad. Makes about 6 servings.

For people who don’t want sweet baked beans, I offer this delicious pinto bean recipe.

Santa Fe Pinto Beans
15 oz. can Bush’s Black Beans drained
15 oz. can Bush’s Pinto Beans drained
10 oz. can diced tomatoes and green chilies undrained
1 medium green pepper, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil or canola oil
14-1/2 oz. can chicken broth
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
10 oz. pkg. frozen corn, thawed
1 c. cooked rice
Grilled chicken breast

Make sure all your windows are closed.  In a large skillet sauté the green pepper onion and garlic in oil for 3 minutes. Stir in the broth and cumin. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add Bush's Black Beans and Pinto Beans tomatoes with chilies corn and vinegar. Heat through. Serve over rice with grilled chicken. Enjoy and don't answer the door no matter how much the neighbors beg. Makes 6 servings.


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Reduced Cola Pecan Glaze

By Kent Whitaker
The Deck Chef

Years ago I had the opportunity to whip up a few pork chops and steaks for a visiting reporter. He was visiting Ally and me for an article and photo shoot. While we were talking a few days before his arrival, he mentioned that most cooks and chefs try to over prepare for articles, and he was hoping I stuck to my blue collar, down-home, Southern style cooking.

I wasn’t so sure what he meant because I know plenty of Southern chefs who can really whip up a meal. “Your books are filled with easy and simple ideas,” he said. “Oh, I get it. Be myself.” His reply was simple, “Be yourself.”

When he arrived, Ally and I showed him around our outdoor cooking area, Ally’s famous fridge magnate collection, the Tiki Bar, and more. We found out we all had lots in common, including good food. When we started talking about recipes, we told him what we were cooking “Dickel Marinated Pork Chops with a Cola Pepper Glaze.” He looked at us minute. “A what glaze?” he asked. “Cola.”

We had prepared a few steaks and chops with a simple rub of salt and pepper, marinated them in equal parts of George Dickel Whisky, and mustard, and tossed them on the grill. “Now that’s simple,” he said as we grilled. “But what’s the glaze?”

I grabbed a small saucepan and tossed in a bit of butter and some chopped pecans and heated the up until golden. I removed the pecans to a paper towel, tossed some chopped onion and garlic into the pan and readied my secret ingredient. “I took out a few cans of regular cola, not diet, poured them slowly into the hot pan, and began to boil over high heat.

When the cola was reduced a bit, I added a few splashes of hot sauce and the pecans. As the cola continued to reduce, it turned into a thick, syrup-like glaze that I drizzled over the chops and steaks.

When you try this glaze, do not overcook it or you will get a bitter taste and a thick goo like paste. However, you don’t want it runny either. Also, make sure you use a splash screen. This stuff tends to splatter.

If you are wondering if he liked the recipe, the answer is yes. However, he liked desert as well. We had Grilled Pound Cake with Pineapple. Just slice up some pound cake, butter it, toss it in brown sugar, and grill it on a griddle with some pineapple chunks. Cook until golden and serve hot with ice cream.

This was a bad month to start a diet! And for the record, George Dickel Whisky is spelled without an e. Jack Daniels, the other Tennessee Whiskey made a few miles away from Dickel, is spelled Whiskey.

Kent Whitaker is the author of eight cookbooks, ranging from hometown cooking with a culinary history twist to titles for NASCAR tailgating and barbecue. He has also written and illustrated two books for children, is a trained USCG AUXCHEF, and is the winner of the Emeril Live / Food Network Barbecue Contest. His latest book, Bullets and Bread,  is in bookstores nationally and is also available online at, as well as at Barnes and Noble and on Amazon.

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