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Jalapeno Peppers Pair Well with Cool Weather and Game Day

Peppers are still available at area farm stands. Take advantage of the bounty by adding them to your game day menu.

Even as the fresh produce season wanes, pepper plants in the area still seem to be producing.

A bumper crop of jalapenos and habaneros inspire spicy dishes ready for college football fans.

While I have a bumper crop of peppers in my garden, I still need to supplement with peppers from the O’Fallon Farmer’s Market and other area produce stands. ,  and  are great sources for all of your pepper needs.

Black bean soup is simple, spicy and delicious on a cool fall day. The amount of jalapeno can be adjusted to suit any taste. Jalapenos add flavor without overpowering heat. For added spice, chop extra jalapenos and serve alongside the soup as a condiment.

Dried beans are certainly less expensive and more flavorful than canned, however, when pressed for time, canned beans are a great stand-in. The following is a simple guide that will help you get your substitutions correct.

  • 1 pound dried beans = 7 ½ cups cooked beans
  • 1 cup dried beans = 3 cups cooked beans
  • 1 14 ounce canned beans, drained = 1 ½ cups beans

Stuffed and fried jalapenos are a chain restaurant appetizer staple. A healthier, yet just as flavorful version is quick to prepare at home.

Simply slice your jalapenos in half lengthwise and discard the seeds. Tear string cheese into pieces that will fit into the jalapeno halves. Broil the cheese stuffed peppers for 2 ½ minutes. The cheese should be golden and the jalapenos soft enough to bite through.                

Quick Black Bean Soup

Serves 8

  • 1 pound bacon
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon bouquet garni
  • 6 cups cooked black beans (or substitute 4 cans drained black beans)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 16 ounces cooked, diced ham
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (for garnish)
  • Chopped cilantro (for garnish)
  • Sour cream (for garnish)

Cook bacon to your desired doneness. Remove the bacon from the pan, reserving the bacon fat. Cool bacon, crumble and set aside.

While bacon is cooling, add bouquet garni, onion, jalapeno and garlic to the bacon fat. Saute the vegetables until fragrant and tender, about 10 minutes.

When vegetables are soft, add beans and ham to the pot. Slowly add chicken stock and bring to a simmer.

Cook at least 30 minutes stirring frequently. Add water, one cup at a time if necessary.

Top with cheese, crumbled bacon, cilantro and sour cream.

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