Contributing Monkie GreenChef Staff Monkies
Published on April 20, 2009
Chipotle Chili [chee-POT-tleh] is the famous jalapeno of Capsicum annum, smoke-dried to bring out the distinctive smoky and biting flavor characteristic of a lot of Mexican and Tex Mex cuisine. Chipotle is moderately hot between 5,000 to 10,000 Scoville Units and has been described as having a complex smoky sweet flavor with subtle molasses undertones. Smoked for several days in sealed chambers, the chipotles dry up like prunes. The smoke drying turns the chilies from bright green to dark brown and shriveled up, taking about 10 lbs of jalapenos to make one pound of chipotle. It is speculated that the Aztecs smoked the chilies for long term storage as drying the chilies was a difficult process due to the thick flesh.
Chipotles can add a spicy and smoky flare to soups, sauces, salsas, dips, guacamole, dressings, marinades, and even some deserts.
You can find them whole at various markets and online or you can buy them powdered. I’ve had a difficult time locating them, especially organic versions. I have found a place that sells an organic chipotle spice blend I might try. However it doesn’t appear to be authentically smoke-dried jalapenos, but rather a blend of jalapeno with spices and smoked adler salt.
Here are some recipes from GreenChefs that make use of Chipotle’s bold flavor:
Summer Mojo Madness
[heirloom tomatoes, bitter green, and avocado with a curried hazelnut dressing]