A chipotle pepper is a smoke-dried jalapeño. It is a chilli used primarily in Mexican and Mexican-inspired cuisines, such as Mexican-American and Tex-Mex.
The word chipotle (pron.: chi-PO-tlay) comes from the Nahuatl word chilpoctli meaning "smoked chili pepper"
Varieties of jalapeño vary in size and heat. In Mexico, the jalapeño is also known as the cuaresmeño and gordo. Until recently, chipotles were largely found in the markets of central and southern Mexico. As Mexican food became more popular abroad, especially in the upper nations of North America, jalapeño production and processing began to expand into northern Mexico to serve the southwestern United States, and eventually processing occurred in the United States and other places such as China.
Its heat is similar to that of the Espelette pepper, jalapeño, Guajillo chili, Hungarian wax pepper, New Mexican varieties of the Anaheim pepper, and Tabasco sauce.
A chipotle is a jalapeno which has been left to ripen until it is deep red and has lost most of its moisture. they are smoked in a firebox on metal grills, stirred every few hours to improve smoke penetration.
Chipotles impart a relatively mild but earthy spiciness to many dishes in Mexican cuisine. The chillies are used to make various salsas. Chipotle can be ground and combined with other spices to make a meat marinade called adobo. Quite often you can buy chipotles canned in adobo sauce, or just adobo sauce by itself.
Chipotles have heat and a distinctive smoky flavour. The flesh is thick, so the chillies are usually used in a slow-cooked dish rather than raw. Whole chipotles are added to soups, stews or in the braising liquid for meats. They can also accompany beans or lentils.
Let's have a recipe, shall we?
Here's a great one from Megan Gordon of thekitchn.com:
Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Chili
Adapted from Bon Appétit
As with most soups, stews, and chilis, think of the water quantity as a rough guide. You may find towards the end you'll need to add more water as both the beans and quinoa start absorbing it.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 14.5-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
1/2 pound dried black beans, rinsed well
1 chipotle chile from canned chipotle chiles in adobo, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons kosher salt + more to taste
1 1/2 cups sweet potatoes (2-3 small), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
sour cream, to top (optional)
green onions, chopped, to top (optional)
fresh cilantro, chopped, to top (optional)
Heat the oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and beginning to brown, 6-7 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, and coriander and stir. Cook together for 1 minute.
Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, beans, chipotle pepper, and oregano. Add 5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover with lid slightly ajar and simmer until beans are flavorful and tender, anywhere from 2 - 4 hours (depending on the age of your beans).
After 1 1/2 hours of cooking, add the sweet potatoes, quinoa, and salt. Place the pot's lid back on slightly ajar and allow to simmer on low heat until the beans are soft and the sweet potatoes and quinoa are cooked through. Add more water if the chili becomes too thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with sour cream, cilantro, and green onion.
Can make two days ahead. Store in refrigerator. Freeze leftovers.
Thanks for that great recipe, Megan!
OK folks - what's the new food?