Thursday, January 11, 2007

Spice of the day - Chipotle Chili

This is one of my very favorite spices. It is made from Jalapeno peppers. They are fully ripened red Jalapenos. Mexican kitchen have used them for centuries. In order to keep them from spoiling, as fresh vegetables have a tendancy to do, the Mexican people would slow roast them over a wood fire until dried completely. The slow roast develops a smokey full bodied Jalapeno flavor. They can be used whole or ground to a powder. They have gained quite a bit of favor in the states over the past 15 years and have become a staple for many of us. It can be combined with meats or other foods while cooking or can even be used in a shaker at the table. They can be considered quite spicy to an undeveloped palate, yet only rank in the mid range on the skovill scale. I love them. Give them a try yourself!

From Food and Wine:

Crispy Spiced Fried Chicken

* 4 pounds chicken wings, legs and thighs, trimmed of excess fat
* 2 cups buttermilk or plain nonfat yogurt
* 2 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
* 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons ground chipotle powder
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* Peanut oil, for frying

Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Cut the wings in half and discard the wing tips. In a bowl, mix the buttermilk with 1 tablespoon of the kosher salt and 2 teaspoons of the chipotle powder. Add the chicken, turn to coat and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.

In a resealable plastic bag, mix the flour with the remaining 2 tablespoons of chipotle powder, the cayenne and the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of kosher salt. Seal the bag and shake to blend.

In a large, heavy skillet, heat 3/4 inch of peanut oil to 360°. Working in 2 batches, shake the buttermilk off the chicken, put the chicken in the bag with the flour mixture and shake to coat well. Add the chicken to the hot oil and fry over moderate heat, turning once or twice, until golden and crisp, about 20 minutes; lower the heat if necessary so the chicken doesn't brown too quickly. Drain the chicken on a rack lined with paper towels and serve immediately.