How To Make a Dried Chile Puree
If you are not from the Southwest or border areas, this may be a completely foreign concept to you, but I thought it worthy of writing about since I love my hot peppers and Texas Chili. Around the Austin area, most grocery stores reserves a section of the produce department for dried chile peppers. They can be bought in bulk or packaged in 5-10 peppers. We like to buy them in bulk because they keep for a long time, and it never hurts to have some in the pantry. Yesterday, I made a chile puree out of dried Ancho chiles and dried Guajillo chiles. It's very easy to do, and it can be mixed with other items and refrigerated.
What you'll need:
Step 1: Stem and seed the peppers. Use a sharp knife to cut the stem section out of the peppers and discard them. Slide the knife down one side of the pepper, splitting it open. Pick out all of the seeds and discard them.
Step 2: Toasting. Heat an iron skillet or griddle over medium heat. place three or four peppers flat on the dry skillet or griddle and toast them for a few minutes on each side. Be careful of any smoke that wisps up. It will singe your eyes and lungs. Don't forget ... these are still hot peppers. They're just dried.
Step 3: Hydration. Place the toasted peppers in a large bowl and fill wtih hot tap water to completely cover them. Set the medium bowl inside to keep the peppers submerged. Soak them for 30 minutes
Step 4: Make the Puree. Place the rehydrated chiles in a food processor or blender and add a couple of cups of the soaking liquid. Puree until smooth. You may have to add more water to keep the mixture smooth and running through the blades.
Now you are free to do with it as you please. You can add it straight to your chili or add more things into the puree such as garlic and onion and make a paste. You could add sugar, cinnamon, and spices to the puree for a nice sauce for sweet potatoes or pork.