Monday, July 9, 2012

Cooking with Chile Peppers

One of my favorite ingredients to work with is chile peppers.  However, they can be quiet intimidating.  Before you buy a bunch of peppers and toss them into your dish, know what flavor and how much heat it will add.  One of my favorite peppers is the poblano.  They are medium-hot peppers that offer a sweet undertone.  I prefer to roast them and use them in soups and my chili recipe.  They are large in size so they are great to stuff.  I love stuffing them with black beans, chicken and cheese.  Another chile you might find in your local grocery store is the Anaheim chile.  They offer a mild flavor and are most often used in chili verde.  Anaheim's and poblano's can both be used to make chili relleno.  One of the most common chile's used in American cooking is the jalapeno.  Jalapeno's give off more heat than the Anaheim and poblano, but offer a more distinct flavor.  They are available pickled which is how I enjoy them (yep, right out of the jar!).  When smoked, jalapenos become chipotle pepper.  The serrano resembles the jalapeno in shape and color, but are smaller in size.  They are about 2-4 inches long, but offer more heat than the previous chiles.  They offer a more intense bite than the jalapeno as well.  You can help tame the heat while keeping the flavor by using it with mild ingredients or in sauces, such as a cilantro serrano cream sauce.  Another favorite of mine is the habanero.  The habanero is a very hot pepper whose heat can be balanced by other ingredients, my favorite, mango!  I have a love addiction to mango habanero salsa (yum!).  Whatever chile you decide to use, make sure you know the flavor and intensity of the heat before you bite into it!  Happy cooking!

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