Candied green chiles taste like soft sugary peppery herby gourmet gum drops. Oftentimes served over cheesecake, coffeecakes, pancakes, waffles or any number of desserts, today I’m serving up these sweet aromatic emeralds with bacon cornbread and vanilla bean ice cream for the perfect sweet – salty Southwest parfait.
Fresh chiles are best for this recipe. They hold their shape and don’t get mushy.
For 4 parfaits you’ll need 4 large green chiles.
Prep them using the traditional method of roasting and charring, steaming in a plastic bag for 20 minutes, then removing the skins seeds and stems. Here is a link with step by step and photos.
Chop the chile fillets into 1/4 inch pieces.
The candying process is simple … just place the chiles into a sauce pan with 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 cup water. At medium high the mixture will froth and bubble, so stir often and look for when it thickens (in 10 – 15 minutes) to the consistency of pancake syrup. Then remove from heat to cool.
When cool, strain them and be sure to keep that herby sweet syrup to pour over pancakes or use for green chile martinis.
For the bacon cornbread … I am still perfecting the proportions for my gluten free recipe so, for now, I use a ready-made box mix of Gluten Free Organic Cornbread Mix. This is becoming more available in mainstream markets, and definitely at whole food natural grocers. Gluten free … because I’m cutting down on gluten intake and also know a bunch of people with food allergies, so everyone can enjoy.
I use a 16 oz. mix and change it by using a can of whole coconut milk, 3 tablespoons of bacon pan drippings, 1 egg and 6 pieces of crisp crumbled bacon for the batter. I also grease the baking dish with bacon drippings. (And reserve 2 pieces of bacon for garnish.)
Sweet coconut and salty bacon … it’s divine … so the very first step in assembling the parfaits is to cut a big piece of the cornbread and eat it. It’s that irresistible and anyway isn’t the first slice always for the cook?
Cut the cornbread into 1 to 1 1/2 inch cubes.
To plate, start by arranging the cubes in a parfait or wide sherbet glass. They’re also cute when served in mason jars. Layered in a fluted champagne glass offers a more elegant look.
Then place a big scoop of high quality Vanilla Bean Ice Cream in the center or to the side. This is where you can get artsy. Spoon the candied chiles over the ice cream, and drizzle some of the chile syrup over the cornbread.
Drizzle some of the bacon drippings (warmed up) onto the cornbread as well, if you like.
Using the 2 pieces of reserved bacon, tear into pieces and place on top, along with some cornbread crumbles.
The combination of sweet, salty, crumbly bread, herby and creamy is fabulous.
If you’d like to cut down on the sweetness, a tangy thick greek yogurt instead of ice cream is a good substitute. For a Dairy Free version, use a non-dairy ice cream or frozen yogurt.
I’d Order That!
Recipe for Bacon Cornbread (Gluten + Dairy Free)
For 4 parfaits you’ll need 1 pint of high quality ice cream … I prefer Haagen-Dazs or Godiva. If you’d like to make your own, here is one of my very favorite recipes from the guy who literally wrote the book on ice cream, David Lebovitz. (From ‘My Paris Kitchen’, former pastry chef of Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse, and one of the very first food bloggers … before the word blog was even invented.)