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Season 3

Show 310: The Southwest

The Professor takes a turn through the desert bringing all the flavors of the Southwest alive over live fire. He demonstrates Grilled "Fry" Bread - originally a Navajo dish - is a great side dish or can be drizzled with honey sprinkled cinnamon sugar for dessert. In Mexico, rellenos are fried, but Raichlen lays 'em on the grill to produce smokey flavored BBQ Bean and Cheese Chile Rellenos. Then he offers a southwestern twist on a Latin American favorite with "Churrasco" Portobello Mushrooms, complete with a garlicky rich chimichurri sauce.

Grilled Fry Bread printer-ready version

Adapted from: BBQ USA
Method: direct grilling
Serves: Makes 6 breads

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
  • 2 tablespoons powdered milk
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (such as Crisco)
  • 2/3 cup hot water, or more as needed
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, or 2 to 3 tablespoons butter, melted

1. Place the flour, powdered milk, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk or stir to mix. Add the shortening, cutting it in with two knives; the mixture should be the texture of cornmeal. Add enough hot water to obtain a soft, pliable dough. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it for 5 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2. Divide the dough into 6 even pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Working on a lightly floured cutting board, roll a ball into a thin disk 5 to 6 inches across. Place the disk on a lightly floured baking sheet, then repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. Keep the rolled-out dough covered with a damp cloth until you are ready to grill it.

3. Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high.

4. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Brush the top of each disk with oil. Place a few of the rolled-out disks, oiled side down, on the hot grate; to do so, hold the dough by the edge and gently lay it on the grill. Brush the top side of the dough with oil. After 2 or 3 minutes, the bread will start to puff and blister and the bottom will become golden brown. Turn the bread with tongs and grill the other side, 2 to 3 minutes longer. If you serve the grilled breads at once, they'll be soft and puffy. If you let them sit for 5 to 10 minutes, they'll become delectably crisp.

Barbecued Bean & Cheese Chili Rellenos
printer-ready version

Source: BBQ USA by Steven Raichlen
Method: indirect grilling
Serves: 6

  • 6 large poblano peppers or green bell peppers
  • 2 cans (16 ounces each) low-sodium pinto beans or black beans
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon for drizzling
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped (for a hotter filling, leave the seeds in)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/4 fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup hulled pumpkin seeds (optional; see Note)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons of your favorite hot sauce, or more to taste
  • 3 cups (about 12 ounces) pepper Jack, Monterey Jack, or white Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
You'll also need:
  • 1 cup wood chips or chunks (preferably mesquite), soaked for 1 hour in water to cover, then drained

1. If using poblano peppers, cut them in half lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds. If using bell peppers, cut off the tops about 1/2 inch below the stems. Scrape out the veins and seeds, taking care not to puncture the bottoms.

2. Drain the beans, place them in a colander, rinse under cold running water, then drain again.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeľos, red bell pepper, cilantro, pumpkin seeds, if using, and cumin and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Stir in the beans, hot sauce, and 2 cups of the cheese. Taste for seasoning, adding salt, pepper, and/or more hot sauce as necessary. Spoon the bean mixture into the hollowed-out peppers. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top, dividing it evenly among the peppers. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the cheese.

4. Set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium. If using a gas grill, place all of the wood chips or chunks in the smoker box or in a smoker pouch and preheat on high until you see smoke, then reduce heat to medium. If using a charcoal grill, preheat it to medium, then toss all of the wood chips or chunks on the coals.

5. When ready to cook, place the peppers in the center of the hot grate, away from the heat. Cover the grill and cook the peppers until they are tender and the cheese is browned and bubbling, 30 to 40 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer the peppers to a platter or plates and serve at once.

NOTE: Hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas) are available at natural food stores and Hispanic markets.

© 2005 Steven Raichlen | site design Benjamin Wilchfort