Have you ever wondered what a chipotle pepper is? As complex as it might sound, chipotle peppers are simply jalapenos that have been smoked and dried.
The word chipotle is derived from “chilpotle,” – a Nahuatl word that means “smoked chili peppers.” The history of chipotles dates back to the Aztecs, where these peppers were made from the red jalapeno. The chili was smoked as a preventive measure to stop the jalapeno from rotting before it is air dried.
Chipotle adds depth and a buzz of flavors to your meals. They are a handy ingredient to make your dishes flavorsome.
You can easily find pre-smoked and dried jalapenos. However, growing your own jalapenos and smoking them is extremely fun.
Where Do Chipotle Peppers Grow?
Two primary types of chipotles are available namely Meco and Morita. These chilies are grown and harvested in Mexico.
Meco is the large chipotle also referred to as “chileahumado or típico.” The peppers have a dusty surface along with a gray-tan color. Some people claim that the Meco peppers have a striking resemblance with a cigar butt. These chilies have an extremely smoky taste and are sought after by natives. During Christmas, these peppers are used to cook a traditional dish that is sought by all Mexicans.
Morita which has its Spanish origin means “small mulberry.” It is primarily grown in the Chihuahua State featuring a dark, reddish purple in color and is smoked for a relatively shorter period. It is smaller in size and inferior in quality in comparison to Meco. Most of the chipotle peppers consumed in the United States are Morita.
How Are Chipotle Peppers Dried And Smoked?
The smoking of chipotle peppers is a rather simple and engaging process. To smoke these peppers, follow the steps stated below:
- You will need a smoker vessel to smoke your jalapeno peppers. Clean the jalapeno peppers by rinsing them thoroughly and place them on the smoker. There is no need to oil the peppers. All you need to do is place them down and leave some space in between.
- You will require almost 2-4 chunks of hickory wood to smoke the peppers for a minimum of 15 hours. After 15 hours of smoking, touch the peppers to feel its texture. If it still feels soft continue the smoking process until they are completely smoked. The time required to smoke the peppers depends on the humidity as well.
Once you are done, your chipotle peppers will be ready. You can keep them as a whole or grind them into a fine powder as per your need. Many people prefer to keep the chilies as a whole and grind them as and when required. However, to save time, grinding a substantial quantity is a smart idea.
How Can You Use Chipotle Peppers?
The chipotle pepper has a unique, charred flavor that gives cuisines a flavorful punch. There are multiple ways to use chipotle peppers. However, here are some ways that will add depth to your meals:
- Make a Chipotle Pepper Marinade
For a smoky and sweet flavor to your marinade, add a spoon or two of chipotle peppers depending on your taste buds. These peppers are great to lift up the flavor of various proteins like shrimp, meat, pork, or chicken. Moreover, a stir fried vegetable sideline with a hint of chipotle peppers tastes great and has a rich umami flavor.
- Make a Chipotle Pepper Glaze
Make a substantial amount of Adobo Sauce using chipotle peppers. This sauce makes a great glaze when mixed up with honey and ketchup. Shiny, glistening, and flavorful, the light sauce will accentuate your meat dish.
- Make A Dip:
Light mayonnaise, salsa or guacamole; all taste better with a chipotle dip. Chop up your peppers and add a dash of spice and warmth.
- Amp up Your Burgers:
A classic beef burger with a spicy and tangy chipotle pepper sauce is a no fail recipe. Flavorful, smoky yet mild. These sauces are destined to make your burgers delicious.