Chow Town

Here’s a barbecue recipe to take advantage of fresh peppers arriving soon in markets

Finished pie with crumbled bacon garnish.
Finished pie with crumbled bacon garnish. SPECIAL TO THE STAR

Fresh Anaheim hot and mild peppers from Hatch Valley, N.M., will arrive soon in Chow Town markets.

Shipments will be in full swing by early August. Buy them fresh and roast them at home on your grill, or stove top in a cast iron skillet. Or you can buy them roasted on-site at select Hen House markets and the Roeland Park Price Chopper.

If you can’t wait, shop for locally grown Anaheim peppers at area farmers markets.

Pepper aficionados can extol the flavor profile that Hatch Valley terroir imparts to peppers as eloquently as wine experts can compare a French Bordeaux to Basehor Tailgate Red, but to the untrained pepper palate, differences are subtle at best.

I buy quantities of roasted peppers; remove the stem, seeds and membranes and seal four or five at a time in freezer bags for easy year-round use in chili, soups, burritos, tamales, sauces, salsa, barbecue beans, omelets and my favorite Barbecue Pepper Pie.

Barbecue Pepper Pie

I have served variations of this pie, always a pleaser, for years. If you don’t have leftover frozen barbecue meat scraps at hand, get a small takeout order from your neighborhood pitmaster. This recipe features barbecue rib scraps because that’s what I had in the freezer. I made two pies with double the ingredients below. Family and neighbors unanimously pronounced it delicious.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

1 deep dish pie crust (I buy pre-made frozen crust)

1/2 pound hickory or maple smoked bacon

1/2 pound roasted Hatch or other Anaheim peppers, seeded and sliced into lengthwise strips

8 ounce package of shredded Cheddar/Monterey Jack cheese

4 large eggs — local organic taste best

1/4 cup Texas sweet or Georgia Vidalia onion, chopped (optional: sauté in 1/2 teaspoon olive or canola oil until golden tender)

3/4 cup meat scraps from barbecue ribs, chopped — barbecue brisket, pork, chicken, duck, turkey, lamb or cooked ground meat scraps also work; delicious way to get the most from your leftover barbecue meats, burgers or meatloaf

Fry the bacon until crisp; remove from pan and set aside on paper towels to cool.

Line the bottom and sides of the pie crust with strips of roasted chili pepper. Spread the cheese evenly in the crust. Beat the eggs, add onion and meat; pour the mixture over the cheese. Top the pie with remaining chili strips, if any.

Bake the pie at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes until firm, with golden brown crust. Garnish with crumbled bacon. Slice into individual wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

Lemonade, margaritas, a dry white wine or cold beer make a perfect complementary beverage.

Cooking option: This pie also takes well to your kettle, ceramic or other grill. Place opposite direct heat; lid the grill and maintain a steady temperature of 350 degrees. Add 1/3 cup dry pecan, hickory or apple wood chips atop fire for extra flavor.

Ardie Davis founded a sauce contest on his backyard patio in 1984 that became the American Royal International Barbecue Sauce, Rub & Baste contest. He is a charter member of the Kansas City Barbeque Society and an inductee into the KCBS Hall of Flame. He has been interviewed on food shows and writes for barbecue-related publications. His most recent release is America’s Best BBQ (Revised Edition), with chef Paul Kirk.

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