by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez / Saturday, September 8, 2012
Essential Sweet-n-Smoky Chipotle Paste
Take for instance this ancho chile that I have in my hand. I know you can't see it, but I want you to close your eyes and visualize it. But don't keep them closed or you can't continue reading my riveting words. So picture a chile. It's a deep, deep red. It is smooth on the outside and sticky with spicy resin on the inside. When I lift it to my nose and take in its scent, I smell sweet and rich and raisiny all at the same time.
No picture a gallon-sized baggie full of smaller packets of different types of dried chiles. Aside from the anchos, there are pasillas, and mulatos...there are guajillos and moritas. There are piquins and chiles de arbol.
Approaching the subject of making something with those chiles (while quietly leaving behind my weird habits), I want to talk about the glorious smokiness of the morita, or dried chipotle chile. There are a few different types of chipotles, but the red morita is my preference. A chipotle is a red jalapeño that has been smoked and dried over the course of several days. That is where those seductive smoky undertones come from. If you open up a package that is filled with dried chipotles, you'll get a big nose full of it. I highly recommend it. Getting a nose full. As if you couldn't have guessed.
- 2½ oz. piloncillo (or ⅓ c. dark brown sugar + 2 tsp. molasses)
- vegetable oil, for frying
- 4 oz. (~50) dried chipotle chiles (moritas/colorados), stemmed
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- ~½ tsp. salt
IHCC theme: ¡Esta Rojo!
Michiana-based food, drink, and travel writer with a fondness for garlic, freshly baked bread, stinky cheese, single malt Scotch, and Mexican food—who believes that immersing herself in different cultures one bite at a time is the best path to enlightenment.