Saturday, November 7, 2009

Smokin' Hot

It's about time for me to share my Halloween chili recipe. This recipe features another chile pepper - the chipotle chile.

The chipotle is actually a pepper that I'm pretty familiar with, although it's always fun to learn more. Believe it or not, it's really just a dried and smoked jalapeno pepper. What I've read is that dried peppers tend to be hotter, and chipotles DO seem slightly hotter than jalapenos.

So where do you find a chipotle? Not in the produce section but in the Mexican food section of the store. It will be in a can labelled "chipotle in adobo." Adobo is a Mexican sauce or condiment that is very smoky and barbecue-like, and for whatever reason chipotle peppers are most often sold submerged in adobo. I have read that you can also buy chipotles in both dried and pickled forms, but I have never seen it.

Here are a few more tidbits to peek your interest in chile peppers: There are over 200 different varieties. Most of their heat sits in the seeds and the white membranes, so to reduce the heat you can remove those parts of the pepper. And finally, a chile pepper contains more vitamin C than an orange. Wow!

Black & Orange Chili (slow cooker or stovetop)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 Poblano/Pasilla green chile, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 1/2 T chili powder
  • 1 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 4 15 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups water
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1-2 T minced chipotle, or to taste
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, chile pepper, and carrots, and cooked until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder and cook for 30 seconds. Add the sweet potatoes and stir to coat with the spices.

Transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. (Or stockpot, if cooking on the stove.) Add the tomatoes, beans, and water; season with salt, cover, and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours. (It will take approximately 1 hour on the stovetop.)

When ready to serve, stir the chipotles into the chili. Taste to adjust the seasonings.

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