James Beck’s Habanero and Bacon Mac ‘N Cheese

James Beck’s Habanero and Bacon Mac ‘N Cheese

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James Beck of eatmoreheat.com concocted this seriously hot take on mac ‘n cheese. Of course, for you wimpy Denny’s-loving mama’s boys out there, you can reduce the amount of pepper-bearing cheese materiel and substitute plain old cheese.


6-10 Slices Cooked Bacon, Chopped
1 Tsp. Garlic
1/2 Cup Minced Onion
1 1/2 Sticks Butter
3 Cups Milk
1/2 Cup Flour
1 Tsp. Salt
2 Tsp. Black Pepper
2 Tsp. Green Chile Powder
3 Cups shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
3 Cups shredded Habanero Cheddar Cheese
3-6 New Mexican Chiles, Roasted, Chopped, Seeded and Rinsed
1 lb. Large Elbow Macaroni
1/2 Cup Bread Crumbs


Cook the bacon, and set aside the bacon fat. Sauté the onion and garlic in that fat in a large skillet until the onion is tender. Heat the milk over medium heat in a sauce pan. While the milk is heating, add butter to the garlic and onion. When the butter is completely melted and begins to bubble, add the flour and whisk until well mixed. Pour the warm (not boiling) milk into the butter, whisk it until thick. Reduce this mixture to low heat and add the salt, black pepper, and green chile powder. Mix well and simmer for 5 minutes to marry the flavors.

Boil the macaroni until al dente. Preheat your oven to 375 F. Add 3 cups of habanero cheddar, 2 1/2 cups of pepper jack cheese, and the chopped New Mexico chiles to the sauce. Mix this well and remove it from the heat.

Spray a 9×13-inch casserole pan with cooking spray. Place the drained pasta in the pan, then pour the cheese sauce over the top. If the cheese sauce is too thick, mix it gently with a whisk. Sprinkle the pasta mix with the bread crumbs, bacon pieces, and remaining 1/2 cup of pepper jack cheese. Bake it until brown and bubbling (approximately 30 minutes).

Belizean Habanero Sauce

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To preserve the distinctive flavor of the habaneros, don't cook them 
with the sauce but add them afterwards. This sauce will keep for weeks
in the refrigerator. Use it to spice up eggs, sandwiches, soups, and
seafood. This was the original, classic habanero sauce that has been
imitated in commercial products countless times.


1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 cup water
3 fresh habanero chiles, seeds and stems removed, minced
1/4 cup lime juice


In a sauce pan saute the onion in the oil until soft. Add the carrots 
and water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the carrots
are soft. Allow the mixture to cool at room temperature.
Add the habaneros and lime juice to the carrot mixture. Place the
mixture in a blender and puree until smooth.

Chipolte-Habanero Hot Sauce

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Jalapeno, habanero and Scotch bonnet are the most common types of fresh chiles found in Miami cuisine. Plenty of chipotles (smoked jalapenos sold both dry and canned) are used too, as well as the many other dried varieties available. Though most recipes call for some type of chile, the real source of heat in many Latin and Caribbean dishes is the hot sauce. Here, I have included two versions. The Chipotle-Habanero Sauce is a thinner, Latin-style sauce with a scorching finish, and the other is a chunky Caribbean-style version with a little sweetness to temper the heat.

Note: this recipe requires advance preparation.


  • 3 dried chipotle peppers
    1 tablespoon canola oil

    1 medium onion, chopped

    Salt and pepper, to taste

    1 tablespoon mustard seeds, ground in a mortar or spice grinder (or 1 tablespoon mustard powder)

    1/2 inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped

    1 clove garlic, chopped

    1/4 cup pineapple juice

    3 habanero chiles, chopped

    1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

    1 teaspoon tomato paste

    1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses

    2 tablespoons white vinegar

    1 teaspoon red curry powder

    1/2 teaspoon chile powder


Soak the dried chipotle peppers in warm water for 1 hour. Drain the chipotles, reserving the soaking water, and finely chop.

Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the ground mustard seeds and chopped chipotles and cook for 2 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the remaining ingredients, bring the contents to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat.

If you have an immersion blender, put it directly into the saucepan and run it until you reach the desired consistency. If you want a thinner sauce, add small amounts of the reserved chipotle soaking water.

If you are using a regular blender, be sure to leave the air hole open so steam can escape. Hold a dish towel loosely over the hole while blending. Puree to the desired consistency. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Habanero Parmesan Chicken

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Rex Swank invented this recipe based on Blair’s Habanero Chips.


  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 2 2-ounce bags Blair’s Original Habanero Chips, finely crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Mix the cheese, seasoning salt, crushed Habanero Chips, and garlic powder together in a bowl. Moisten the chicken with water and coat with the cheese mixture. Place in a shallow baking dish, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked throughout.

Cranberry-Habanero Jelly

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Although a bit of effort to prepare, this sweet and hot jelly goes well poured over a brick of cream cheese or just atop some crackers. It is also good when melted and used as a glaze for chicken or pork. Use caution to avoid breathing the vapors while processing or cooking the chiles. Be sure to wear food-safe gloves when handling habanero peppers and wash hands, knives, and cutting boards thoroughly, first in cold water and soap and then again with hot water and soap. Do not touch eyes, nose, mouth, or other sensitive body parts when handling the chiles.


  • 17 to 20 habanero peppers (about 1 cup diced)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 large red bell peppers (about 2 cups diced)
  • 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup whole cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup dried, sweetened cranberries (Craisins)
  • 7 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 ounces liquid fruit pectin (1 pouch Certo)



Wearing food-safe gloves, stem, seed, and dice habanero peppers. Seed and dice the bell peppers. Process peppers in a food processor or blender until minced. Add the vinegar and continue processing until smooth.

Heat a 6 1/2-quart stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the pepper slurry, and the whole and dried cranberries. Cook, simmering and stirring often, until the whole cranberries burst, about 6 to 8 minutes. (Do not breathe the vapors!) Remove from heat. Use an immersion blender or food processor and puree until smooth.

Return stockpot to heat, add sugar and cook, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Add the lemon juice. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a rolling boil, add the pectin, and, while stirring constantly, cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat, ladle into sterilized containers, and process containers in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.