I pickled my own jalapenos…..
So I could make The Fort Restaurant’s Pickled Jalapenos Stuffed with Peanut Butter appetizer recipe.
Before we get to the recipe, let’s talk a little about the restaurant. The Fort Restaurant is a Denver landmark full of western culture, history, charm and western food. Do Rattlesnake, Quail Eggs Wrapped in Buffalo Sausage, Rocky Mountain Oysters and Bone Marrow get your attention?
For as long as I’ve lived here, (30 years) it’s been “the place” to take out-of-town guests for a taste of the Wild West. With its unique menu items and servers dressed like Kit Carson, The Fort reflects the years when trappers, settlers and Army explorers first traveled the Santa Fe Trail to our region.
It all began in 1961 when amateur historians Bay and Sam Arnold set out to build an adobe style home in the country west of Denver. They modeled the home after Bent’s Fort which is located in southeast Colorado which was built in 1833 and was famous as a fur trade destination.
Hiring a top Santa Fe architect and a contractor from Taos 22 men puddled over 80,000 mud and straw bricks, weighing 40 pounds each, to construct the main building. When the costs of construction exceeded the budget, the bank suggested a business be placed in the “fort”. Sam turned to Bay and said, “You can cook!” and then she said to Sam, “Well, you can cook!” and The Fort Restaurant was born. Throw in the adoption of a Canadian black bear cub named “Sissy” who became a family pet and who was taught to belly up to the bar and drink with patrons, and the rest is history. The Fort has had its share of famous visitors, President Clinton hosted a G8 Summit Dinner there and Julia Child’s favorite dish was the Buffalo Tongue.
Both the Arnold’s have now passed on and their daughter Holly runs the restaurant. She has recently published a cookbook “Shinin’ Times at The Fort”. It’s a beautiful book full of house recipes, stories, celebrations and history about the restaurant.
Sam Arnold got this appetizer recipe from Lucy Delgado who was a well-known New Mexican cook in the 1960’s. Sam thought they sounded “stranger than five-legged buffalo”, but gave them a try. He served them to Bryant Gumbel on NBC’s Today Show. Gumbel couldn’t stop eating them. Arnold added them to the The Fort menu where they have been a mainstay appetizer since.
Let’s take a look.
Fort-style Pickled Jalapenos:
- 1 pound medium size fresh jalapenos (12 - 16)
- 3½ C. cider vinegar
- 1¾ C. water
- ½ C. sugar
- 1½ t. salt
- 2½ t. sesame oil
- 1 t. pickling spice
- ¾ C. coarsely chopped yellow onion
- ¾ c. coarsely chopped carrot
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled, whole
- ¼ C. peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
- 2 T. Mango Chutney
- Rinse the jalapenos and trim off the woody end from the stems. In a 4 - 6 quart stainless steel or enameled pot, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, sesame oil and pickling spice. Add the jalapenos, onion, carrot, and garlic. Cover and bring to a simmer over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for five minutes. Remove from the heat.
- While still hot, transfer the jalapenos and pickling juice to a sterilized 2 - 3 quart canning jar or other glass container. Cover tightly with lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one week before using.
- To make the appetizer:
- Slice the pickled jalapenos in half lengthwise not quite all the way through, leaving the two halves attached at the stem end. Using a knife or spoon, remove and discard the seeds and ribs. In a small mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter chutney. Stuff the chiles with the peanut butter mixture and press the halves back together. Arrange on a platter and serve.
Now, there are rules to eating this appetizer. Be sure to warn guests to put the whole chili (except the stem) in the mouth before chewing, to get 70 percent peanut butter and 30 percent jalapeno. A nibbler squeezes out the peanut butter which changes the percentages and makes it very hot indeed.
Be brave and consider bringing these to your upcoming Super Bowl gathering. To make the process easier, find whole pickled jalapeno peppers at the market.
Pickled Jalapenos Stuffed With Peanut Butter….It’s What’s For An Appetizer!