Healing Kitchen

Chipotle Peppers
A chipotle pepper is not actually a separate pepper species. It is a jalapeno pepper that has been smoked, which is why it has such nice, rounded, smoky tones. Traditionally smoked over mesquite, chipotles are medium-hot with a dark (some say almost chocolatey), smoky flavor. Preserving chili peppers by smoking dates back to the Aztecs. It is guessed that they smoke-dried the jalapeno peppers because this type of chili is so fleshy that it tends to rot before it can be air-dried. Smoking hastens the drying process and gives the dried peppers a longer shelf-life (so to speak).

Though it is possible to get dried chipotles, they are commonly preserved in adobo sauce (a vinegar-based chili sauce) and sold in cans or jars. The chipotles take on another layer of piquancy from the adobo sauce, which can also be added to the dish to enhance its flavors.

In the recipes listed below, we've used dried chipotles in a salsa topping for a bruschetta appetizer. And we've used chipotles in adobo sauce for marinating a broiled flank steak and to spike up the flavors in a kale and potato soup.

Date Published: 06/12/2002
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