Chiles and peppers have been cultivated in the Americas for over 2000 years. They are now mainstays of cuisines throughout the world. Chiles contain variable amounts of capsaicin, while sweet peppers contain none. Capsaicin determines the hotness of a chile and is located in the skins, seeds, and interior ribs. Sweet peppers are great in a variety of foods, and work well for stuffing. Hot chilies can be used in many dishes to make food spicy and exciting. Anchos, paprika, and anaheims are generally mild, while cayenne, jalepeno and chipotle are usually hot. An ancho chile is a dried poblano, and a chipotle is a dried, smoked jalapeno. Peppers are high in Vitamin A, B, and C. They demonstrate anti-inflammatory qualities, and research shows they are good for the heart and immune system.
Tips for Fresh Chile Pepper Cooking & Recipes
The following recipes use fresh chilies. The next section provides recipes using dried chilies.
While both fresh and dried chilies are delicious, they confer different flavors, even when using the same type of pepper. Experiment with both, and you will be rewarded greatly.
Quick Quetzal Pepper Sauce
Chicken Paprika (Chicken Paprikash)
Poblano Chile Stew
Pimientos de Padrón
Chicken Breast in Poblano Sauce au Gratin
Dried Chile Pepper Cooking
Cooking with dried chilies opens up new horizons for beginner and experienced chefs. It’s fun, easy, and quite flavorful. Cooking with dried chilies requires whole pods to be ground into powder or reconstituted. Reconstituting chilies reintroduces water into the pepper. This makes them ready to eat or incorporate into another dish. Reconstituting dried chilies confers excellent taste to all types of dishes, and is Quetzal Farm’s favorite way to experience the dried chile flavor.
The powder and reconstitution preparations below work for all types of dried chilies: Ancho (which is a dried poblano), New Mexican, Anaheim, Chipotle (comes from smoked red jalepeno), and paprika. Smoked and dried chilies are prepared the same.
Reconstituted Dried Chile Preparation:
Remove stem and seeds from dried chile/pepper. Cut into strips and place in bowl. Bring water to near boil, turn off. Pour hot water on chilies. Let stand for 10 or more minutes, until soft. Chile is ready to be cut up and mixed with other foods, or further cooked.
You can also pour hot water over whole chile pods. This is messier, but allows you to peel the skins off, which can be preferable with some chile types, like New Mexican chilies and some paprikas. Remove stem and seeds of paprika before soaking, as paprika has many seeds, and it’s harder to remove seeds when the pod is wet.
Dried Chile Powder:
All dried chilies can be made into powder, then sprinkled on numerous types of dishes. It’s a quick way to add flavor to food. Paprika is popular as a powder used in many dishes,
especially those from Eastern Europe. Dried Anchos, New Mexican, Anaheim, and Chipotle work great in southwestern cooking.
You may wish to dry the pod before preparation. Dried chile pods vary in moisture level, though they are all fundamentally dry. Pods should be brittle to grind and cut well. Dry a pod at 250° for 5-10 minutes, turning occasionally. Thicker pods require more time.
Remove stem and seeds from chile pod (chopsticks work well for de-seeding paprika). Cut to size desired with sharp knife or grind in spice grinder (coffee bean grinders work well), blender, or Cuisinart to desired texture. Powdered spices are best used right away, but may be kept in a tightly sealed glass jar for up to a year.
Ancho Chile Sauce
Ancho Chile Salad Dressing
Chipotle Chile Sauce
Creole Seasoning Blend