what to do with dried chili peppers?

vacuumfreakJanuary 10, 2010

A few months ago, I bought a bag of dried chili peppers to try in a recipe. I don't even remember what I was making, but I don't recall it turning out well (else I'd have remembered it). When you cook with them, do you cut them open and use the seeds as well, or leave them whole? I don't have much experience with peppers, when a recipe says to use a whole pod, what does is it mean? It was fun to watch them "inflate" again as they became hydrated during cooking!

Anyone have any suggestions for using up those peppers?

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Depends on what kind of peppers they are....if they are hot, best to remove the seeds.
You can soak and simmer in a little water then blend them to make a chili sauce....to use in enchiladas or fajitas...or if they are mild, in a soup or stew.
Linda C

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 2:13PM
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I use dried chilies to make chili sauce, but I only use certain specific chilies. I also learned from experience that it is not a good idea to mix too many different chilies in one recipe. Certain combinations of chilies are good and some are not, particularly ones that have smoky flavors.

I make a slit in the dried chili and remove all seeds before adding the chili to the recipe. If you are making a sauce that will be strained to remove the skins, the seeds can be removed at the same time. I generally use a food mill to remove the skins, but some people simply put the sauce in a blender, in which case it is a good idea to remove the seeds ahead of time, as they are not easy to digest.

Once you identify what types of chilies you are using, I can offer some recipes. I frequently use them to make adobo sauce.


    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 2:20PM
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My first thought would be salsa...or chili. Depending on what the recipe is and how hot you want it, you could leave out the seeds. "Whole pod" is the amount of pepper to be used in the recipe for the flavor(much as a whole fresh pepper would be used)...again you could leave the seeds out. The seeds absorb heat from the placenta, so if you use them you will get more heat in your recipe...lots of people like that.
I dry certain peppers that I grow to grind into powder with my coffee grinder. I like sprinkling it on bagels w/cream cheese, for example. It can be used in any recipe to kick up the heat.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 2:25PM
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I bought them in the ethnic section, they are called guajillo chiles.

By the way, when I went to look what kind they were, I noticed that the zip top on the bag didn't seal when I put them away. They've been open for two months in the pantry. I think they will be OK since they are dried. Do you think that the flavor would have diminished in that time so that they wouldn't be worth the effort to use?

As soon as I can gather the energy to crawl out from under the electric blanket, I'm going to make a pot of chili and cornbread (we're FREEZING in Florida), so maybe I'll use them in that.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 4:45PM
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Oh, the flavor will be fine. Dried chiles are good for a long tim, but all chiles, like all grain, can have "guests". I coul tell you a funny and slightly disturbing story about how I know that, but then I might scare you from using them. :) I keep my dried chiles in the freezer.

Guajillos can have a little heat to them. I've used them so often that I can sort of tell by the smell how hot they will be. They do vary from one batch to the next.

I usually rinse them since the place I get mine packs in the fields, Then I wipe them dry and toast them in a dry pan (less than a minutes) just until they soften. DO NOT SCORCH THEM or they will be bitter. Then I put them in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Once they are soft, I split and dessed/devein (just depends on what I'm making and how hot I want it.)

I have a VitaMix, which can puree darn near anything into a smooth sauce, so one sauce I keep in the freezer uses 5 or 6 guajillos, about a pound of roasted tomatoes, an onion, two heads of roasted garlic, cumin, coriander, thyme, morjarom, and chicken broth. I whir it into a sauce, then freeze it for later. It's good with chicken or pork espeically.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 7:56PM
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The method describes by beanthere for preparing chiles is the way it would be done in Mexico for many purposes. It's a very good method for preparing the larger, milder dried chiles where the chile pulp is a main ingredient, not just a flavoring.

Guajillos are sort of middle of the road for hotness, neither the mildest nor the hottest of chiles. Whether a sauce with guajillos as the primary ingredient has an acceptable heat level is strictly a matter of opinion. I would like it because a too mild sauce disappoints me. Real chile heads wouldn't consider it very picante. However it could easily be too hot for those who are inexperienced at eating chiles. For them, diluting the recipe with tomato sauce might be a good idea.

I'm not offering a specific recipe, but starting with beanthere's method, adding some broth, some herbs and spices, then cooking with will yield a spicy, tasty sauce.


    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 10:23PM
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