Dried California Chili Pods
- JSchwo7 Jun 6, 2007 01:13 PM
I found these in the grocery store but am at a loss at to what to use them in. Any ideas, suggestions, recipies?
Many threads about chile talk about using whole pods. One approach is to tear them open, remove the seeds, and soak them in a bit of water. Some toast them a bit before soaking. The soaked pods can be pureed in a blender, or the skin and pulp can be separated in a food mill. The puree makes a great base for chile, and many other Mexican style dishes.
I'm not familiar with California chiles. You can probably make a decent red chile sauce with them. I've posted my recipe here a few times (uses different kinds of chiles, but you can figure out where to fit your pods in), so if you keyword search it, you can probably find it pretty easy. I'd cut and paste, but don't feel like finding it right now.
The sauce is very versatile, and you'll have no trouble finding a use for it.
Are these the same as Anaheims? If so, look for recipes calling for New Mexico chiles. I make New Mexico chile sauce which I use for enchiladas and breakfast burritos, anywhere a tasty chile sauce with mild kick would add some zip. I highly recommend dry toasting the chiles in a pan before using. It brings out a smoky depth of flavor. I made two batches of chiles, one with toasted chiles, one without (too much of a hurry) and the difference was very obvious.
I just used California chiles for the first time in the Chicken Chile Verde recipe that I found here on Chow. Really good for a party.
'California chile' is primarily a marketing term for the dried form of milder New Mexico (a.k.a. Anaheim) fresh chiles; 'New Mexico' has come to mean spicier (mas picante).
Those who market New Mexico chiles haven't really bothered to cater to foodies who care to distinguish between the multitude of varieties.
OTOH you can purchase distinct varieties of *fresh* chiles from the Hatch, NM area when in season (either on the internet or in some out of state locales like SoCal).
I use California chiles strictly as a 'stretcher' because they are half the price of well known Mexican varieties (ancho, guajillo, pasilla, etc).
The above rec to toast, soak, puree, then filter into sauce is right on. Besides enhancing flavor, any acid component (tomato, tomatillo or vinegar) to the sauce will increase shelf life immensely.