I love wild hickory nuts. The extremely difficult task of removing the nut meat from the shell makes the unique flavor all the more precious. The last couple of years I have invested much time and effort gathering and shelling wild hickory nuts. To extend the benefits of my labor I have used most of the shelled nuts to make flavor extracts by soaking them in 100 proof (50%) alcohol for a long period of time. The result is more than just a flavorful liquid extract because the soaked nuts can also be used in recipes. In most cases when used in recipes the alcohol in the extract dissipates during the cooking process. Sometimes, immediately after adding the extract to food cooking in a hot pan, I will ignite it to burn off the alcohol.
Today I stuffed Anaheim chile peppers with hickory nut flavored rice with mushrooms.
First of all the *rice was put on the stove to cook and the peppers were charred with a torch.
Then I went about briefly sautéing onion, garlic, and celery with olive oil and kosher salt.
I then added the last of the freshly shelled hickory nuts from this season and also some of the soaked nuts from a jar of flavor extract made two seasons ago.
Next I added canned mushrooms, reserving the liquid to make gravy.
To complete the filling, cooked rice was mixed in. *I used hickory nut extract as part of the liquid for cooking the rice.
I charred the chili peppers with a torch to soften them so they wouldn’t split while being filled. Other than rinsing the charred peppers under running water while taking out the seeds I didn’t go to any lengths to remove the skin. The charring adds a nice bit of flavor.
I poured the gravy over the peppers and baked them 375ºF until soft.
The stuffed peppers did not disappoint. Sometime I may make a similar dish using walnuts and a few black walnuts in place of the hickory nuts.