Home Cooking

When Life Gives You Dried Chiles . . .

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Home Cooking 17

When Life Gives You Dried Chiles . . .

CindyJ | Jan 26, 2009 12:54 PM

...what do you do with them? I started going through my pantry earlier and found an abundance of dried chile peppers. I think I'd like to make chile powder, but I don't know which chiles combine well with others, and in what ratios. I like heat, but I don't want to end up with a killer powder that's so hot I can hardly use it.

I've made chile powder before, but I've always followed a recipe. In the past, I've toasted the whole, dried chiles in the oven for a few minutes, until they puffed up. Then I removed the stems and seeds and ground them in an old coffee grinder that's now used exclusively for spices. I assume that's a good way to toast them, but if there are other ways, I'm interested in hearing about them. The powder will be used in dishes like (what else?) chili, which I'm just as likely to make with ground turkey as I am to make it from chuck.

Let me add, these chiles have probably been in the pantry for about two months; I don't know if that matters. They've been in glass jars with tight-fitting lids. Here's the assortment I found:

Ancho Chile peppers
New Mexico Chile Pods
Chile Arbol
Chile Pasilla
Chile Guajillo
There are also some unidentified chiles, red, thin, about 2 inches long. I have no idea what they might be.

So, what should I do with my stash of chiles? Which ones will combine well? And, should I add in any cumin (I have whole cumin seed), oregano (I've got a new bag of Mexican Oregano from Penzy's), or anything else?

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