When someone finds out I cook for a living, one of their first questions is usually “What’s your favorite thing to cook?” and until recently I’ve never had a good answer. But I think I’ve finally figured it out. I like to cook food that has a story or reminds me of a special memory or person. And that’s exactly the case with this spicy guacamole recipe.
During my first week at my job, I was sitting down enjoying my lunch when my coworker Jaime came over and put a few slices of habanero pepper on my plate. I had heard about the peppers Jaime grows in his garden and I knew this was him challenging me to a ‘kitchen initiation’ of sorts. I’m not a whimp about spicy foods but when a small crowd gathered around to watch, I knew I was in trouble. I started small, taking a piece that was maybe the size of a pea, and started chewing. It hit me after about 10 seconds when my eyes started watering profusely, I couldn’t stop coughing, and my mouth was in serious pain. Patrick, a past victim, saw my struggle and quickly poured me a glass of milk. I had never drank a glass of milk in my life but I chugged that as fast as I could. I had passed and was now an initiated member of the team but I could still feel the burn hours later!
Jaime eats these habanero peppers like they are candy. He puts them on everything – tortillas, hard boiled eggs, chicken, whatever he’s eating for lunch that day. I’ve never met someone who can handle heat like Jaime. I don’t know if it’s because he’s from Mexico and grew up with it or maybe because he’s just crazy, but it’s definitely impressive. Sadly, Jaime retires next month after 27 years with the company. I’ve been lucky to work with him this past year and we will really miss him in our kitchen. I’m sure he will gladly come back for future new hire ‘initiations.’ He told me I’m not allowed to put his picture on my blog so I snuck this one when he wasn’t looking.
While I won’t be eating any more habaneros on their own, I will eat them in spicy guacamole and Jaime makes the best I’ve ever had. If you want to make the guacamole spicy or ‘el diablo’ then add the habanero peppers. If you want a normal but really good guac, then leave them out. You may be surprised to see lemons since most guacamole recipes call for limes, but Jaime uses lemons because that’s what his mom used.
Start by gathering all of your ingredients. You’ll need 5 avocados, an onion, 3 tomatoes, 4 lemons, and a bunch of cilantro. Start with 1 habanero and add more if it’s not as spicy as you want.
Now, get all of your ingredients ready. Finely chop the cilantro. Small dice the tomato and onion. Juice the lemons. Wearing gloves, mince the habanero. Make sure to wash your hands afterwards.
Place all of your chopped ingredients in small containers. This is called mise-en-place or “everything in its place.”
Now, prepare your avocados like this:
Once your avocados are ready, it’s time to mash them. Jaime uses an immersion blender but if you don’t have one, you can use two forks or a potato masher.
This is the texture you want. Leave some lumps in it.
Now, add the cilantro, tomato, onion, habanero, lemon juice and salt.
And stir it all together.
And that’s it. Enjoy your El Diablo Spicy Guacamole!
EL DIABLO SPICY GUACAMOLE
1 Onion, small dice
Juice from 4 Lemons
1 Bunch Cilantro, finely chopped
3 Tomatoes, small dice
1 Habanero, minced
Salt, to taste
1. Core avocados and scoop flesh into bowl. Mash using immersion blender or 2 forks.
2. Add onion, tomato, lemon juice, cilantro, habanero, and salt. Stir to combine.