Saturday, 30 March 2013

Making chipotle from chillis smoked over a bonfire

Ever since visiting Atlanta, I've loved anything with chipotle in it.
So I thought I'd make some (it was always gonna happen!)

Home made smokey hot chipotleChipotle (and Betty pug)

The thought had been rolling round the brain for ages. And perchance, one day as I was passing a market grocer, conveniently he charmed me into buying a big bag of glossy red chilli beauties, with his rakish grocery ways!

Drying the chillis

Here are the beauties. The first thing to do was dry them out.
They were plump when I bought them, but here they have shrunk as they have been air dried on top of a boiler for about 10 hours. DSCN3438

Smoking the chillis

I chose a tray with holes in to allow for the smoking stage. Here is a close-up DSCN3439
This was covered loosely in foil to keep in smoke later.

Here's the fire. It was the same one I had been using for blacksmithing, to anneal (heat soften) the handle of a spatula.

Adding semi-green leaves to the fire created a lot of smoke. Of course, these have to be not from any sort of poisonous tree, just to be on the safe side (though probably very low risk). These are birch leaves from the lovely silver birch in the garden
Photos of smoke always come out rather underwhelmingly and this one is no exception. The foil covered tray of chillis

Of course even well died down fires give off quite a lot of intense heat and chillis are high in sugar, so burn real easy. The finished chillis here were just on the right side of charred. Any more and they'd have been bitter. These were air dried again after smoking to dry off any moisture from the wet leaves' smoke.
Smoked chillis

The chillis were very brittle after this process. They were popped into my heaviest mortar and pounded to oblivion with the granite mortar.
Smoked chillis ready to grind

A thoroughly enjoyable exercise. it takes quite a while to get all the seeds crushed to dust. Good for the arms. The smell was really good too - smokey, almost tomatoey pungency. Lovely! Grinding chipotle



  1. Well, my mouth is watering. A pinch of that in a rich vegetable chilli or pinto bean stew would go down very nicely, I'd wager.

  2. Wow, I never knew I could do this so easily myself. I love chipolte flavor. I am growing my own plant this year and am going to try this.

  3. I love knowing how to do this! And I also love that I'm not the only one with dogs in the background of my pictures! I'll also be planting some peppers to dry, but in the meantime there's always my friendly grocer.

  4. It's quite easy, but just watch them to avoid burning them. It tasted awesome. Quite woody and lovel smokey richness. yum yum!

  5. Chipotle is by definition, a dried jalapeño pepper. The peppers you used (pictured) are not jalapeño. Therefore, you did not make chipotle.

    1. while I would tend to agree, other definitions simply define it as a "smoked chili pepper", which is vague at best. Yikes - never considered using leaves though.

  6. Just one thing, how can you say they are smoked when you wrap them in foil, eliminating them from exposure to the smoke? They are basically roasted or baked, dry peppers. I bet there is one huge flavor difference between the chipotle that I make and yours

  7. Now I have to apologize. At first I didn't see that you were using a slotted pan. Sorry about that.