Ina Garten Shares Her Favorite Spicy Recipes on the Latest “Barefoot Contessa” Episode

updated Nov 4, 2019
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On the latest episode of Barefoot Contessa: Cook Like a Pro, Ina brings the heat in the kitchen with a few spiced dishes that’ll warm your belly and work well for parties during the cooler months of the year. I don’t know about you, but my body craves spicy, hot foods when it’s cold outside, so these recipes are perfect for right now!

She starts with a lamb and chickpea curry with spices, which is secretly great for leftovers, as the longer it sits the better it tastes, she says. As for the spices, she goes with ground cumin, paprika, and ground fennel seeds, as well as fresh herbs, like thyme and rosemary.

Ina uses lamb rather than beef or chicken, as lamb works best for a curry due to its hearty flavor, she explains. She cooks it for 10 minutes until it’s browned, and then adds the rest of the flavor enhancers, like wine, coconut milk, tomato paste, hot chili paste, spices, and more.

Then she adds in veggies, like celery and carrots, followed by golden raisins and chickpeas. As for toppers, have some fun! Go with Greek yogurt and cilantro, and pair with rice, which is just a hearty staple that works well with it. 

Get the recipe: Lamb and Chickpea Curry

Beyond this dish, she also makes lobster corn fritters, which are great as an appetizer or as a surprisingly easy weeknight meal. She has a great way of making corn — she holds the corn upright on a kitchen towel, and she scrapes the corn off the cob, letting it fall right into the towel. That way, she just needs to pick up the towel and throw the corn into the pan! Mess-free. 

Ina says using seasoning like paprika, saffron, and old bay adds some good comforting flavors and spice to the dish. Plus, she makes a spicy sauce to go with the fritters, too, which requires ZERO cooking. Always a perk. 

The great thing about fritters is you can make a bunch and leave them in fridge to keep for leftovers. Just don’t crowd them on the pan, or else they won’t brown easily, she says.

Get the recipe: Lobster Corn Fritters

She makes two more dishes during the episode — a spicy sweet potato empanada and a shishito pepper appetizer. For the empanada, she blends sweet and savory by pairing a sweet potato and maple syrup with chipotle chili peppers and citrus zest.

She recommends zesting right into the bowl to get all the oils, and using pure maple syrup over pancake syrup, the latter which doesn’t have any maple syrup in it at all. (I didn’t know that!)

The shishito peppers are easy for pass-around apps for parties, and Ina recommends charring them, adding lime juice, and salting before serving. And be warned — most shishito peppers are sweet, but you might get a super-spicy one thrown into the mix (and if so, you’ll want a glass of milk to wash it down nearby). 

She also says she frequently gets the hidden spicy one — bad luck?