The Humble Chipotle Pepper

The Humble Chipotle Pepper

The Flavor Profile

Chipotle peppers are distinct in that they are mildly – or more -spicy but yet smoky. A Chipotle leaves that same umami taste in your mouth that many Asian ingredients do. The popular restaurant chain, Chipotle capitalizes on this food trend and puts out some of the most delectable offerings.

Shhh: It’s Really a Jalapeño

Chipotle are smoked and dried Jalapeño peppers. Growing in popularity, you can easily find the ground version on your local grocery store spice rack.

Heat Scale

According to my source, which, by the way, is an excellent source to use if you are writing a recipe and you want to know how much of the pepper of your choice to use – the smoking and drying process doesn’t change the heat factor, which is between 2,500 – 8,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). It is considered to be moderately spicy compared to other peppers.

The Smoking Process

Jalapeños are mature on the vine. They turn red, and the peppers - smoked, like dried meat, flipping as needed to bring out the flavor profile. Chipotle peppers are dried, like a grape or a raisin.

Uses for the Pepper

 Taste of Home, a home cook’s magazine, posted a series about knocking off popular restaurant menu options. These included everything from Carnitas tacos to salsa, to Barbacoa to guac – but think freely. How about a hint of Chipotle in a dressing prepared for a wild caught tuna salad? Or a kiss in a Thanksgiving gravy? Might even get Uncle Earl to stay up past the second quarter of the game. From a chef’s perspective, how about adding it to bland veggies which you serve along even blander fish dishes? How about adding a Latin item to your menu which showcases Chipotle if you are a comfort food restaurant – Chipotle Infused Chicken or Chipotle Mac and Cheese. The possibilities are endless with this pepper.

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