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Chipotles are Jalapeños!
That’s right. Chipotle peppers are actually smoke-dried red jalapeños. I was blown away by this fact when I read about it after we decided to create the Ultimate Mexican Casserole with a kick.
Jalapeños grow in large fields by growers and are picked green (unripe) for immediate sale. Those are the typical jalapeños we know and love (see all our jalapeño recipes!). Towards the end of the growing season, jalapeños ripen and become bright red. Some of those are picked and sold as well. The remaining jalepeños are kept on the bush and when they turn deep red and have lost most of their moisture, they’re picked to be made into chipotles.
These deep red jalapeños are placed into a closed smoking chamber and spread out onto metal grills. A firebox connected to the chamber is filled with burning wood to fill the chamber with smoke. The jalapeños are stirred every few hours and after a few days, most of the moisture evaporates from the jalapeños. Voilà! You now have chipotles thanks to the heat of the jalapeños combined with the taste of the wood smoke. Did you know that to make 1 pound of chipotle it takes about 10 pounds of jalapeños?
We always love a good casserole and this one was phenomenal. The secret was, of course, the chipotle peppers. It was our first recipe ever using chipotle peppers and we were blown away by how much flavor they added to the dish. We got our chipotle peppers from Wholefoods (I was looking for fresh chipotle peppers and was disappointed when I could only find dried, but now I know why!). They were lying around for a few months before I got around to using them and boy did we realize how much we were missing out! Next time we’re in Wholefoods, we’ll be stocking up on them because they’re simply amazing to cook with.
We’ve been cooking with chipotles ever since this Ultimate Mexican Casserole. Expect more spicy recipes to come!
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