Sunday, September 2, 2012

Chipotle Chiles

Rolling into Harvest Time I always have some Jalapenos that have turned red.  The Jalapeno is usually thought of as a green Chile, and it is until it is fully ripened, and turns red.  The green Jalapeno has large concentrations of Chlorophyll, Vitamin C, and Capsaicin.  When the Jalapeno ripens and turns red the Chlorophyll and Vitamin C get converted to Beta Carotene and Sugars, making the red Jalapeno sweeter and less hot.  There is a distinct flavor difference.
I picked through the mid-Summer Chile Harvest and pulled out these beautiful ripe Jalapenos to make Chipotles.  The Chipotle is a Hickory Smoked and dried ripe Jalapeno.  The first step in this process is to clean and inspect all the Jalapenos.  Don't used Jalapenos with bad spots, because after they are dried you will not be able to distinguish a bad spot.  Then we go right into the smoker next.
I'm going to cook them the same way I cook my smoked meats.  An indirect hickory fire, and a long, slow cooking time.  The lower the temperature the better this process works.  It might take an hours and a half to cook those Chicken pieces, and the Chipotles will stay in there the whole time.
Now, about an hour and a half later, we are ready to transfer the Chipotles from the smoker to the Dehydrator.  The temperature in the smoker is around 250 degrees Fahrenheit, and the Dehydrator is around 170 degrees Fahrenheit.  The Dehydrator also has forced induction, a fan, which circulates fresh air into the dehydrating chamber.
They will stay in the Dehydrator until they are dry enough to be considered preserved, probably less that 20 percent of their original water content.  There is a gradient here also.  When a Chile has really low moisture it will become brittle, which is sometimes what we want.  When a Chile has more moisture it is more pliable, maybe like Raisins.  There are preferences, but the dryer chile will have the longer shelf life.
Here are the finished Chipotles.  They can be stored like this, or you can put them into the Adobo (Tomato) Sauce, which is a common practice in Meso-America.  They are good either way.  When you go to use the dried Chipotles you will have to rehydrate them, and I usually use a steamer.  The Chipotle in Adobo can be used as they are, may want to take the stem off first.
I also had some Cayenne Chiles in the Dehydrator as well.  These are good in anything...

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