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Help me use up my dried chili stash

I've been looking for Sichuan chilies recently, and all this talk has gotten me thinking about my rather vast collection of dried Mexican chilies in my pantry. I have a large collection of ancho, guajillo, pulla, chipotles mecos and the other red kind, nora chilies, New Mexico, and short, stubby red chilies I bought in the Yucatan.

I'd like to make salsa, preserves, moles and other things to just get this collection down, so I can start buying more! Ideas?

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  1. The most obvious solution is to roast, grind and then make vast cauldrons of chili. A typical pot of chili will take approximately five tablespoons of ground chile per 2 1/2 lbs. of beef. And of course there's nothing stopping you from using even more chile than that. In fact, you might be better off for doing so.

    1. rough chop/grind, into a jar, with pre-jarred storebought chopped garlic, a little salt, and cover it with olive oil, and KEEP IT IN THE FRIDGE!!!!

      The pre-jarred garlic will have already been treated to avoid any scares of botulism. Salt and fridge temp will basically nullify any remaining scares of unwanted critters growing. you'll have a universal condiment that can be added to whatever sounds good with olive oil, salt, garlic, and chile. (Which is basically everything, imo!)
      eggs, pizza, dip for plain bread, moles, salsas, grilled meats, salad dressings, quesadillas, burger topping, topping for fish, I could probably go on for a while.....

      2 Replies
      1. re: gordeaux

        Gordeaux, how long do you think it would keep? I'm sure I'd power through it, but just asking out of interest.

        Also, to any posters, how long will dried chiles retain their heat, flavour and colour, if kept in sealed packages and in a dark cupboard? I've had some for years that I rarely use, but would like to use. However, I'll be pretty disappointed if the chiles have lost their punch once I've prepared them in a recipe. If I'm wasting my time keeping relics around, I'll just pitch them and buy new ones. Some (ie. pasillas de Oaxaca -- quite hot and super smoky) I've had for 7 or so years, but they look totally fine.

        1. re: 1sweetpea

          Minimum, a year.

          Also, another thing to do?
          Your own hot sauce!

      2. FYI: Sichuan "peppercorns" aren't actually from a chile plant at all, nor are they actually a pepper in the sense that we think of them (like black pepper), they are from a shrub. If you're an avid gardener you could try growing the shrub, but I can't imagine it's easy to find.

        1. I use ancho chile powder in my flourless chocolate cake; I can post the recipe if your interested

          2 Replies
          1. re: Cherylptw

            I would LOVE to have this recipe please!

            1. re: ElenaRose

              Flourless Ancho Chocolate Cake

              4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)
              1 stick + 1 1/2 teaspoons (for greasing pan) unsalted butter
              3/4 cup sugar
              2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
              1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract (I prefer Mexican vanilla)
              3 large eggs
              1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus additional for sprinkling

              Preheat oven to 375°F; butter an 8-inch round baking pan. Line bottom with a round of wax paper or parchment paper and butter.

              Chop chocolate into small pieces and whisk with the butter in a double boiler or metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water until melted.

              Remove from the heat; whisk sugar, chile powder and vanilla into chocolate mixture. Add eggs and whisk well. Sift 1/2 cup cocoa powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined.

              Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 25 minutes, or until top has formed a thin crust. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes and invert onto a serving plate.
              Dust cake with additional cocoa powder and serve with fresh whipped cream with orange zest or vanilla ice cream if desired.

              Cake keeps, after being cooled completely, in an airtight container one week. This is also good glazed with ganache. Serves 6-8

          2. I use chile in my brownies along with cinnamon. Heavenly.

            Chile sauce for hunks of meat or enchiladas sound good for you. Paupered Chef has a good Chili Colorado sauce recipe.

            I like some in my collard greens too.

            But really, make a pot of chili. It does the body good.

            1. There are lots of good recipes in Rick Bayless' Mexican kitchen for salsas and moles that will use up several ounces of dried chilies at a time. The basic guajillo sauce and the roasted tomatillo/chipotle salsa are especially good. It's one of my favorite cookbooks. Also I've used various Mexican chilies for Thai roasted chili paste, which makes an awesome soup base.

              1 Reply
              1. re: rhizomatique

                Rhizomatique -
                Does your Thai roasted chili paste have dried shrimp in it? If it doesn't I'd love the recipe for that as well!

              2. i think you can make your own version of harissa by roasting and soaking them in hot water, puree with garlic etc... it is really handy to have in the house!

                2 Replies
                1. re: jeniyo

                  Harissa is a great idea! Do you use just anchos, or anchos and guajillos?

                  1. re: mielemaiale

                    I make my own harissa with reconstituted dried chiles, garlic, salt, coriander seed (ground), caraway seed (ground) and cumin seed (ground - optional addition). Pound these ingredients in a mortar and pestle or puree in a small processor. Store in a nonreactive dish, covered with olive oil and the dish sealed. Keep in the refrigerator up to a month. Amounts are all to taste. I like a lot of spices in my harissa and a lot of heat. I don't stir in much oil at all, but each time I use some of the harissa, the oil covering it gets mixed in, so I add a bit more to cover the harissa remaining in the jar/dish.

                2. I have had success with saving the intermediate 'chile paste' stage of chile colorado (after the pods have been soaked/pureed/strained, then fried in oil) in small containers in the freezer. All you have to do at that point is defrost it, thin it with water or stock, season,and use it for any manner of soup or stew. It's great for during the week because all of the messy, time-consuming, work has been done. It would even work as a quick enchilada sauce if you're really pressed for time. Guajillo (or even NuMex)/Ancho/Chipotle is a great flavor combo.