I have attempted to make chipotles before but this time with the surplus of late season jalapenos, I wanted to be a bit more methodical about our process.
Chipotles are simply smoked and dried jalapenos. Typically, red jalapenos are used. As we cleaned out the garden to put it to bed for winter, I picked most of them green this past weekend. After pickling and making hot sauce (using up four pounds), I still had 2 1/2 pounds left.
Time to make chipotles.
After reading many different techniques from drying them first and then smoking them to smoking them and then drying them, I settled on the following procedure.
Make Your Own Chipotles
- Pop the stems off. The easiest way is to use a small paring knife and simply pry them off.
- Wash and dry them well.
- Cut a slit through the top (where the stem was) and one slit through the side. This will allow the smoke to penetrate and will also let the steam escape.
- Prepare your smoker. Place peppers on a grill. (I used some foil made for BBQs that has holes in it.
- Smoke at low heat (around 195 degrees F.) with lots of apple chips for smoke. Make sure to keep your heat low. Low and slow and smoky is the key.
- Depending on the size of the peppers, smoke for 5-8 hours. I turned the peppers about half way through. I also removed the smaller ones as they were finished drying. My Mammoth variety peppers took almost 8 full hours.
Some ideas for using your own smoky peppers:
- Use a spice grinder to make your own chipotle powder.
- Make chipotle salt by mixing the ground pepper powder with coarse sea salt and letting it set.
- Make your own chipotles in adobo sauce.
- Make your own dry rub.
- Make chipotle mayo and mustard and ketchup by mixing the powder into these condiments.
- Mix the powder in chilis, pasta, stews, and soups for another level of flavor.
I loved sitting on the patio on one of our first truly chilly Sunday mornings, sipping coffee, writing this post, and smelling the peppers getting smoked, roasted, and dried on the grill.
I have these stored in a sealable container. It just reminds me of New Mexico every time I open the lid. I am making some chipotle powder today and probably making rubs and salt for gifts. I know we will be roasting more this weekend because I still have jalapenos in the back garden.
And, now an update on the hot sauce. I bottled it yesterday.
Still almost as pretty as when the were mellowing in the jars.
This is a great way to repurpose old vinegar bottles.