Fire Onions And The Red Habanero - Swampy's Kitchen Blog at - 281972

Swampy's Kitchen

Fire Onions and The Red Habanero 
Aug. 16, 2012 10:02 am 
Updated: Aug. 29, 2012 4:42 am
I know I said that I was going to write about my hot sauce / spice rack at the end of my last blog but when have I ever really done what I said I was going to do ? So with that out of the way, I wanted to introduce you to a little friend of mine that I found out in the Swampgarden last week.

The Red Habanero.
{edit 8/17 - last night I had to use an orange habanero because the reds weren't ready yet but there are pictures below}

I love to grow Habanero Peppers. My family knows it. My friends know it. My neighbor knows it because I see him looking over the fence watching for those bright blazing globs of orange to appear from under the big green leaves of my Habanero bushes. This year however, I must not have been paying attention when I grabbed my plants from the local nursery. I got my 12 Habanero plants like I always do but 3 of them turned out to be Red Habaneros. I thought something was up when I noticed that the peppers coming in on a few of the plants were a very light greenish-yellow instead of the rich shiny Kelly green I was used to seeing. I thought maybe I had planted them in a bad spot in the soil but I knew that wasn’t right because they were planted where every other bumper crop of Orange Habaneros has ever come from in my garden. So I watered, pruned & waited.

Then last week, when I got home from another successful visit to The Red Iguana in Salt Lake City, (SEVEN different Mexican moles – all to die for – see blog from August 2010) I went out to the garden and what caught my eye was a beautiful ruby red jewel of a Habanero. I was almost speechless. I had seen pictures of Red Habaneros but had never held or eaten one. I didn’t even know if there would be a heat or flavor difference. I just knew I had to do something with it.

As fate would have it, we bought a new Weber Kettle the very next day and we decided to christen it with some Alligator Burgers ( and regular burgers too. Any time I cook burgers, I also make sautéed onions to dump on top and that is where inspiration hit. I decided this time to make what I called Fire Onions. While the coals were heating up, I headed into the kitchen and grabbed my Red Habanero. It was time to make that bad boy dance.

So I grabbed the largest Vidalia (sweet) Onion I could find and cut it into as many rings as I could. I like the visual aspect of the rings to start even though I know that the onions will never hold their shape during the sautéing process. I also threw in a big chunk of butter, some sea salt & white pepper and set the burner to medium heat. Then I grabbed two sandwich baggies for my hands, my sharpest knife (yes the one that cut off the tip of my finger on Mother’s Day – I found where my wife had hid it from me) and sliced the Red Habanero into the thinnest rings I could cut (fingers are fine just in case you were wondering) and mixed them in with the onions.

I sautéed the Vidalia Onion & Red Habanero down until the onion had nicely caramelized and the Habanero was barely visible as only thin wisps of red. Then I added more butter and sautéed it some more. All this while, I had formed the burgers and begun cooking them so that when they were ready, so were the Fire Onions.

They were beautiful to look at. I am sure that my camera would have taken a great mouthwatering Pinterest worthy picture of them had I not been so excited to try them that I completely forgot about the camera sitting on the island behind me for just that reason. We all sat down at the table. I patiently waited for my wife & son to get their burgers first and then I attacked. I piled 2 huge spoonfuls on top of my two burgers with some guacamole & ketchup and then took a bite. The heat wasn’t present at first but before I could even swallow, it kicked in. Boy did it ever kick in. It was HOT & flavorful and just about the perfect condiment for my burgers. I even began to sweat down the back of neck and I don’t think I have done that since my Denver days at The Riviera. The more I ate, the hotter it got and I loved it. I also figured if I ate faster then I wouldn’t feel the heat as much. Sometimes I don’t think right because the heat just stayed to visit for a while longer well after the burgers were gone. In fact I did it all over again the next night with the rest of Fire Onions and they may have even better hotter the second time around.

I was out in the Swampgarden again last night and noticed two light greenish-yellow peppers with a red highlights coming in and my heart skipped a beat. I’m stopping at the grocery store on the way home tonight to pick up a few more Vidalia Onions. It’s going to be time soon to light them up as well. So come back next time when I actually do talk about the 4 shelves in the lower half of my spice rack or maybe I’ll talk about stuffing the grenade sized jalapenos I noticed in the next bed when I bent down to look at the two new Red Habaneros.
The Red Habanero
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My Orange Habaneros from 2008
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8/16 - slicing Orange Habanero
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8/16 - picture RED instead of Orange
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8/16 - that pan will never be the same
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8/16 - Fire Onion of the Orange variety
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Aug. 16, 2012 10:17 am
OK hot it a pepper contest? I'm in with my whimpy peppers LOL
Aug. 16, 2012 10:19 am
Lol, Doug! Ain't love grand?
Aug. 16, 2012 11:06 am
Hi Julie - bring your peppers on but I have a feeling we will both get outscorched by wisweetp and her patch of pepper heat.
Aug. 16, 2012 11:07 am
And spicy too....thanks Bibi
Aug. 16, 2012 11:59 am
Fire Onions and The Red Habanero... My DH will love this. He likes spicy food. Habanero and Thai chiles are his favorite.
Aug. 16, 2012 12:01 pm
Hi, Doug. Thanks for the mention! My pepper patch is just a bit behind yours, but it is definitely going to be full if fire! We are harvesting the Naga Morich (cousin to the Bhut Jolokia and according to my husband almost as hot), but we haven't quite gotten there with the others yet. Should be soon though. Is the red habanero the same as a Red Savina? We have 2 of those plants, and they are getting close. Supposed to be a habanero type, so we'll see...well my husband will see! I'll stick with my wimpy ones...serrano is about the top of my limit. : ) We are are also closing watching a Fatalii and a Devil's Tongue which are close, and we should be able to get a couple of 7-Pot Yellow ones this weekend, too, for salsa making. And the fire husband will definitely want to try those as soon as I tell him about them!
Aug. 16, 2012 12:03 pm
Yum, Doug! I love spicy! We put habaneros in our chili and red beans and rice! Love the idea of sauteeing with some onions for a burger!
Aug. 16, 2012 12:22 pm
My husband will love this one he likes spicy also,not so much me.
Aug. 16, 2012 1:06 pm
Never had red, they must taste the same however, yes?
Aug. 16, 2012 1:47 pm
Hi DoubleTigers - I have some great thai chilies going too. What do you throw them into that I could try ? Thanks & have a good night
Aug. 16, 2012 1:52 pm
Hi wisweetp - your pepper garden sounds like a chileheads dream. We will need to see pictures. Not sure what the real name of the red habaneros is but I'll dig around in the dirt and find the tag. Hope your husband enjoys the fire onions.
Aug. 16, 2012 1:53 pm
Hi arich01 - and I love the idea of using them in red beans & rice. I am definitely going to borrow that one for football season. Thanks
Aug. 16, 2012 1:56 pm
Hi manella - another great idea for sauteed onions that I once got from Mark Bittman/NY Times was Balsamic Onions. Same basic principle but instead of peppers you use balsamic vinegar. We served it as a side dish at Thanksgiving a few years back.
Aug. 16, 2012 1:57 pm
As far as I could tell KingSparta - the flavor & heat were the same but just to be sure, I am going to make them with some ripe Orange Habaneros tonight.
Aug. 16, 2012 2:04 pm
Thinking along the same lines as wisweetp - my first thought when reading your blog was Red Savina. A Red Savina is definitely hot! I envy you, I love heat.
Aug. 16, 2012 2:09 pm
Doug I was just looking for a source for the red Habanero peppers, and it seems they also have mild red Habanero peppers besides the "~Hot~" ones. so I think I will be planting some next year along with my normal veggies.
Aug. 16, 2012 5:43 pm
Hi bd - we used a straight orange habanero tonight and the heat was definitely there.
Aug. 16, 2012 5:43 pm
Thanks for the info on the mild habaneros KingSparta - my wife & kids will appreciate that.
Aug. 16, 2012 6:07 pm
Thanks for that Doug,will give it a go.
Aug. 16, 2012 9:11 pm
DM: As one who asks for "wimpy salsa" at the local Mexican cantina, I wouldn't consider stepping anywhere near your Fire Onions. But I am thrilled that you enjoyed them!
Aug. 17, 2012 4:35 am
Good morning bikerfamily - nothing wrong with "wimpy salsa" - I have kids who aren't quite chileheads so I have to find flavorful mild substitutes all the time. Have a great weekend.
Aug. 17, 2012 5:32 am
Nice peppers Doug. I have a habanero pepper plant, but they are for my son, father and brother, just too hot for me. My pepper of choice is the jalapeños, unfortunately those plants which I've had for a few years died this summer due to the wet weather we've had. The habanero doesn't seem to mind the wet hot summers, nor the pimento, they are the only ones doing well in my garden this year. I do think they are pretty peppers. :)
Aug. 17, 2012 6:03 am
Good morning *Sherri* and thanks. Our jalapenos have gone nuts this summer as well. I have even let a few of the smaller ones stay on the plant until they turn red. I tried pimentos last year and failed miserably. Have a great weekend.
Aug. 17, 2012 6:18 am
I love super hot, spicy foods and always have an array of hot sauces close by. That being good as this looks, I don't think I could handle it!
Aug. 17, 2012 6:40 am
Hi Wyattdogster - I have tried this with Tabasco Chipotle and it was good but didn't have quite the bang that these did. Have a great day.
Aug. 17, 2012 8:24 am
Mmmm "Tabasco Chipotle Sauce" I put 1\3 of a bottle of it in my Tomato Juice (64 oz bottle). Good Stuff.
Aug. 17, 2012 9:32 am
KingSparta - Chipotle Tabasco may be the greatest thing to ever come out of that plantation on Avery Island. I can put it on almost everything. It's great with sweet potatoes.
Aug. 17, 2012 7:54 pm
I agree, but I have not found or tried there Habanero sauce yet.
Aug. 18, 2012 1:42 pm
O.k. Doug, I'm sweating here just reading about all that HOT! Oldest DS would love those peppers. He makes chili every year on Halloween for our annual Family Chili Feed. (Who me? Oh, mine is the whimpy pot... a 1/2 tsp of chili powder is all I can take) And, every year he tries to make it hotter than the year before. I need to get him some of those! Please pass the latex gloves. GREAT Blog!
Aug. 18, 2012 2:45 pm
Hi Candice & thanks- I love the idea of a family chili-feed. I could see combining that with a family episode of CHOPPED. Have a great rest of the weekend.
Aug. 19, 2012 3:45 am
My husband is a pepper lover too. His next quest is the infamous newby Trinidad Moruga Scorpion. He really enjoys habaneros sauted with onions too. The previous hottest pepper, Bhut Jolokia, almost melted his lips and tongue but he said it has great flavor. Sweet and HOT is how he likes it.
Aug. 19, 2012 8:12 am
I like chili on anything. Also, my favorite onion is the Vidalia onion. So, your killer Habenaro and Onions would be definitely be on my hamburger. The summer has been hot here in Co. and that means the hotter tasting chili peppers. I can't wait to get a bushel of Pueblo Chilies from our local farmers. Great Blog!
Aug. 20, 2012 2:52 pm
Hi Jujulew - I haven't heard of that scorpion pepper but now I wonder if that is the main ingredient in a scorpion hot sauce I have on my shelf. I know I have never had a Bhut Jolokia straight but I have had it mixed in Uncle Dougie's Spooky Dude Hot Sauce and there is some definite oral scorching going on when I eat it. It does have a great flavor. Thanks for checking in. Have a great day.
Aug. 20, 2012 2:56 pm
Hi Lela & thanks. I was out in Colorado a few weeks ago and I felt your heat big time. I bet those Pueblo Chiles are going to be great. I can't wait to hear what you do with them.
Aug. 20, 2012 3:12 pm
Wow, great blog. I love HOT too. If only I get get the rest of my family to heat up their taste buds!
Aug. 21, 2012 2:18 pm
Hi TheBritishBaker & thanks. I have one daughter who now reaches for the hot sauce herself, One daughter who will think about it and one son who won't even go near my pepper patch. It's a start. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.
Aug. 22, 2012 7:12 am
so jealous here, I can grow nearly all the peppers, except the habs. I have tried, year after year to start seeds with no luck. The little plant just does not have a long enough growing season here. I have never found a started plant at the nursery and even when I started seeds in Jan, they did not sprout until March, so no luck. I do buy habs at the store, not the same but love the heat....bring on the flames!
Aug. 23, 2012 6:53 am
Hi RNG - In the summer of 2008 I had an explosion of habs but every year since then it has just been a few on each plant. This year I may come close to an explosion again on at least 3 of my plants. And for the first time it looks like I may actually get a red tabasco pepper. Never had anything but yellow in the past.
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Doug Matthews

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About Me
My mother decided early on that her sons would never have to rely on someone to feed them so we all learned to cook at an early age. I really started to branch out when I moved out west to Denver, SF & Dallas. Combine that with extended business travel to Louisiana & my growing love of spices and you get a real mix of flavors.
My favorite things to cook
Love to make cajun food with my favorites being crawfish pie, alligator stew & alligator chili - I go nuts on Super Bowl Sunday
My favorite family cooking traditions
We didn't have a lot of traditions per se but you could count on pancakes or waffles on sundays - dad making scrambled eggs twice a year on christmas morning & mother's day - veal parmagiana on christmas eve, Thanksgiving with Grandma Matthews and any menu of your choice on your birthday. We weren't a spicy family so I learned a lot of good strong basics in the kitchen from Mom that I have carried over into my cooking today.
My cooking triumphs
I love to experiment with variations of dishes I try around the country. My biggest success is here on allrecipes where I had 2 recipes published in the same cookbook - Southwestern Turkey Soup & Curried Carrot Soup. I think my corn muffins are a great starting point and my alligator chili has become a much requested Super Bowl favorite.
My cooking tragedies
There have been a few times in the past where I tossed everything and took everyone to a restaurant instead. I'm not too proud to say my cooking is awful when it really is.
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