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GREEN CHILI GILA MONSTER SURPRISE
(Southwest Cuisine, July 1987)

Poolside party-givers who want something different will enjoy this as an alternative to nachos.

To prepare you will need the following:

6 - 4.5 oz. cans diced green chiles
3 - standard size French baguettes
2 - cups Orville Redenbacher popping corn (regular)
1 - 16 oz. jar peanut butter (crunchy or smooth as preferred)
6 - medium size Gila Monsters (live)

Slice the baguettes lengthwise and set aside.

Soak the Gila Monsters in warm cooking sherry until their movements begin to slow, then grasp the reptile’s upper body, using your fingers to restrain the forelimbs back against its sides. Next, place your mouth completely over the Gila Monster’s head and blow forcefully until a musical note is heard. This means the poison sac in the Gila Monster's tail is completely drained. Return the reptile to the sherry. (This will have a calming effect. A Gila Monster that has struggled will be tough, chewy, and an embarrassment to the chef.)

Mix the green chilies, the unpopped popcorn, and the peanut butter into a paste. Then, one by one, grab each reptile as before and apply gentle pressure behind its jaws with your thumb and forefinger. This will cause the jaws to open. Spoon the chile-popcorn-peanut butter paste into the creature’s mouth, forcing it down as you go. When the reptile’s eyes bulge out, this is your signal that the body cavity is full. Squeeze the creature gently until it breaks wind. Repeat until all Gila Monsters have been packed and filled, and return them to the sherry.

Light the grill. When the coals are uniformly white, add presoaked mesquite chips. Carefully place the reptiles on the grill about three inches apart. (Remember, when the corn begins to pop they will expand!) Cover the grill until the popping and high-pitched cries have stopped.

Although the classic “red wine with meat” maxim applies to most reptiles, many find a good, dry Reisling (Alsatian, not German) the perfect accompaniment.

Bon appetit!