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Chipotle Chiles


RaisaB
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As long as we are on the subject of chiles, does anyone know the name for a chipotle chile when it is dried? I am pretty sure it is a different name.

As far as I know a dried chipotle is still a chipotle, but before it's smoked, it's a jalapeno.

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The other significant fact about chiles chipotles is that they start out as RIPE jalapenos--in other words, red jalapenos. They are then dried in a smoky environment. Canned chipotles are dried chipotles that have been rehydrated and packed in adobo, which is a pasty cooked sauce made of re-hydrated red chiles, tomatoes, onions, garlic, spices and vinegar.

A friend of mine grew up in a small village in Guatemala, and she has given me some of her community's traditional chiles, which are also dried over a smoky fire. If you can believe it, they are spicier than chipotles.

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As long as we are on the subject of chiles, does anyone know the name for a chipotle chile when it is dried? I am pretty sure it is a different name.

Dried chipotles can be called moritas (the red ones) or mecos (the brown ones). I've also heard capones for the ones with no seeds. Apparently it means castrated. ;) I think I've also read other names - it would have been in either Rick Bayless or Diana Kennedy, and neither book is handy since I'm packing for a move. If anyone has one of Bayless' cookbooks, it will be in there.

Anyone know where I can get some good chipotle powder? Either in (metro accessible) DC, or a good supplier online?

I stockpile at the HEB or Central Market in Texas, but I have seen good ones at Penzey's in Falls Church.

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Chile nomenclature can be misleading. Gardeners tend to eschew common names, since a "windflower" in one part of the world can be Anemone nemorosa, while elswhere it can be Anemone prattii. And some common names can refer to plants from different families altogether.

Something similar happens with chile names. Some people believe a Scotch bonnet is the same thing as a habanero; others swear they're entirely different. Last I read on the subject, plant geneticists were still arguing the question from their particular viewpoint. [That was on the order of ten years ago; that question may have been settled in the meantime.] The whole thing is made more difficult because chile peppers hybridize so readily. So it's entirely possible that many years ago Scotch bonnet and habaneros were the same thing, but localized breeding turned them into noticeably different cultivars.

So I suppose the point is caveat emptor.

For what it's worth, the New Mexico State University Chile Pepper Institute defines chipotle as "Usually a smoked jalapeno, or other thick-meated varieties of chiles that have been smoked to preserve them".

On another pedantic geeky note, consider that one grower's jalapeno can be spicier than another's serrano. Capsaicin levels are affected by growing conditions. That's why peppers' capsaicin levels are usually given as a range of Scoville units.

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On another pedantic geeky note, consider that one grower's jalapeno can be spicier than another's serrano. Capsaicin levels are affected by growing conditions. That's why peppers' capsaicin levels are usually given as a range of Scoville units.

I remember reading that a lot of the commercially grown jalapeños in recent years are a type that are less spicy than traditional jalapeños, to make them more palatable to Americans. So, if you want more a fresh green chile with reliable heat levels, use serranos.

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Chipotles are smoked chiles from the species Capsicum annuum, if that helps. In contrast, Scotch bonnets and habaneros are members of Capsicum chinense. Mecos and moritas are both made from jalapeno peppers, jalapeno being the varietal name (how did you guys get the tilde in there?), and the names refer to the coloration resulting from different processing methods. Now if I could just remember HOW they were made differently...

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I remember reading that a lot of the commercially grown jalapeños in recent years are a type that are less spicy than traditional jalapeños, to make them more palatable to Americans. So, if you want more a fresh green chile with reliable heat levels, use serranos.

I thought it was my imagination that I wasn't getting the chile-head rush I used to when eating jalapenos. It seems you never know how hot they'll be. When I'm working on a chile-based recipe, I often look at the little pile of chiles I've diced up and wonder if I should use it all or cut back.

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I remember reading that a lot of the commercially grown jalapeños in recent years are a type that are less spicy than traditional jalapeños, to make them more palatable to Americans. So, if you want more a fresh green chile with reliable heat levels, use serranos.
I would add that the jalapenos at the Asian grocery stores tend to be quite a bit kickier than the ones I get at regular grocery stores. So I don't know if they're getting them somewhere special...
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The ones from Grand Mart have been reliably hot, and it's easy to grow a plant in a pot on your deck, too. If you forget to water it (not that I would ever do such a thing...), and the summer is particularly hot and dry, those babies will make you cry.

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(how did you guys get the tilde in there?)
One way is to hold down the ALT key and then type 0241 on the numeric keypad of a PC. This doesn't work on a PC without a numeric keypad, like a laptop. There are other ways, I gather, but I don't know what they are (other than finding the ñ character somewhere and cutting and pasting it). Jalapeño.

ETA: You can read about it and see the codes for other special characters here: CLICK!

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One way is to hold down the ALT key and then type 0241 on the numeric keypad of a PC. This doesn't work on a PC without a numeric keypad, like a laptop. There are other ways, I gather, but I don't know what they are (other than finding the ñ character somewhere and cutting and pasting it). Jalapeño.

ETA: You can read about it and see the codes for other special characters here: CLICK!

Or, if you are lucky enough to be a mac user, hit option+n and then n.

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Jalapeño jalapeño jalapeño. Macs rock. ;)

Back on topic, Rick Bayless has a recipe for salsa negra from Oaxaca that uses chipotles that you toast by quick frying in hot oil, then soak in sugar water and blend with roasted garlic. It uses vast quantities of chipotles and makes a thick paste that keeps for months, and you can put it in anything that needs spicing. I love this stuff enough that there is almost always a jar in my fridge. Stirred into black beans, mixed into cornbread batter, smeared on toast about to receive a poached egg, blendered with mayo and pan-fried mirepoix for a spicy potato salad, etc. etc. etc. I don't care if chipotle has become cliché. (Thank you zoramargolis for the accent trick) I love the stuff.

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