Chipotle Chilies

Course : Chili
Serves: 1
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6 medium jalapeno peppers

Preparation / Directions:

I made my first batch of chipotles two weekends ago and they tasted great. My Mexican-American friends at work gave them a positive thumbs up. How I did it: Preparing the smoker: I borrowed my neighbors Cajun Cooker II water smoker (borrowing is much better than buying). His unit has two grills, one near the top and one just above the water pan. I put 5 lbs. of self-lighting briquettes in the bottom, and set them on fire. I put 3 qts. of cold water in the water pan that sits above the charcoal pan. I bought a 3 lb. bag of mesquite wood chips and soaked them in water while the briquettes got going. Preparing the chilies: I picked them in my garden the morning of the smoking. About half of the chilies were red. I washed them and cut off the tops, at the calyx. I put about 2 lbs. of standard Jalapenos and TAM Jalapeno (50:50) about two peppers thick on the top shelf of the smoker. I prepared a second similar-sized batch of Jalapas and Fresno chilies for the second batch. The Smoking: When the briquettes got going, I started to put a few mesquite chips on the charcoal. About every 15 minutes I had to add more mesquite as the smoke would stop when the mesquite was consumed. I did the first batch of chilies for 3 1/5 hours and removed them. I added the second batch. Temperature in dome of smoker stayed around 170-180F. I put all the smoked chilies on two foil-lined cookie tray and put them in the oven set at the lowest setting. I left them in the oven to dry for about 24 hours. I tested the chilies until they were crisp and would break when I squeezed one. I let them cool and put them into my blender and chopped them to fine flakes/powder. Beware of the powder, it'll make you cough big time! I them blended them all together and was surprised how little I ended up with, about 3/4 qt. My powdered chipotles have a very rich Smokey flavor and are mildly hot. So far, I have used them on tacos and I tried them sprinkled on top of cream cheese spread on crackers

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