Dried & Smoked Jalapeños
Chipotle peppers, often simply called chipotles, are dried, smoked, ripe jalapeño peppers (part of the highly variable species Capsicum annuum). They’re quite common in Mexican cooking, and have also become favourites in Tex Mex and Americanized Mexican cooking. Chipotles moderately spicy, but they are much more important for their ability to contribute a distinctive smoky, complex taste to foods.
Chipotle peppers are available whole (as shown in the picture), ground, and preserved in a tomato-based adobo sauce. Chipotles in adobo are quite distinctive in and of themselves (the adobo sauce is a big part of the flavour), so they are treated separately in a different Pantry Page found here.
Chipotles can be subdivided into two primary groups – the smoky brown chipotle meco peppers (shown above and at the bottom of the page) and the glossy purple morita peppers (shown at the bottom of the page). Chipotle meco peppers are smoked for a longer time, giving them a more intense flavour. Morita peppers have a milder, fruitier flavour due to their shorter smoking time. In the English speaking world, the word chipotle is generally used to refer to chipotle mecos. Morita peppers, when and where available, are generally referred to by that name. These names are Spanish, and are (unsurprisingly) common in Mexico as well. The terms chile ahumado and chile seco may be encountered as well, though these simply mean ‘smoked chili’ and ‘dried chili’ respectively, and may be used in reference to other peppers as well.
Scoville Heat Units
3,000-10,000 (moderate to hot)