The foundation of Southwest cooking is chile
peppers, corn, and beans.
From mild to hot, chiles are
a fundamental in Southwestern cuisine. Today more chiles are grown
and we devour them more than any other seasoning. Southwestern
recipes often mix chiles, allowing you to enjoy the diverse tastes
provided. Each chile type has its own distinctive taste.
Southwesterners want the flavor, not just the heat. For those who
prefer the mature tastes go for the slightly less hot red chiles.
For those who want the hotter version go for green version of the
Note: The chiles we use in
our recipes are those that are easily available.
There are hundreds of
varieties of chiles; some even have similar names, which adds to
the confusion. For example, chile ancho is dried poblano.
The same chile in California is called pasilla. Other
problems stem from differences in soil types and climatic
conditions. All these variables go into creating a wide range of
So what�s the difference
between CHILI and CHILE? Chili spelled with an �i,� mixes
spices with chile peppers and meat. Many cooks add beans; however,
to the real chili fanatic, chili is only spices and meat, most
often pork. Chile spelled with an �e,� a specific plant�s
Chile Pepper Types
The Ancho chile is the most
usually used dried pepper. Ancho is the dried green poblano chile
and it is a reddish brown, flat, heart shaped chile. Their
pungency varies from mild to medium. Their smoky flavor is
suggestive of coffee, prunes, and tobacco.
Ground form of the dried
It is a dried, dark reddish
brown chile with smooth tough skin. In Spanish Cascabel means
�rattle.� The chile rattles from the seeds inside the dried
pepper. It has a medium-hot quality and is slightly acid.
It is the crushed New Mexico
dried red chile and it includes the seeds.
It is the dried and smoked
form of a fresh green jalapeno chile. The color is a dusty brown.
It has a rich smoky-tobacco zest with a very marked heat.
It is canned Chipotle chiles
in a tomato, vinegar, garlic, onion, and spice sauce.
A dried bright red chile and
part of the cayenne pepper family. It is very hot with an powerful
It is a dried red chile and
looks like a dried New Mexico chile. However, it is smaller and
smoother in texture with an earthy flavor.
It is a fresh, small, green
chile with a thick skin. It is the most popular hot green chile.
It is another type of dried,
smoked jalapeno chile. Their color ranges from a deep red to a
New Mexico Green Chile
Fresh, New Mexico variety of
New Mexico Red Pods
These are green chiles that
have been ripened, dried and color turned red. Farmers tie them in
a long bunch called a ristra.
New Mexico or Chimayo
Dried version of the New
Mexican Green chile which has been ripened (turned red) and ground
into powder without additional ingredients.
A type of poblano chile,
dried browner in color than the ancho chile and slightly smokier,
but without the depth.
It is also known as Chile
Negro. It is dreid chile. It is brownish-black in color, wrinkled,
long, and tapered.
It is a fresh green chile.
This is a good chile for chile rellenos, due to it size and the
thickness of its skin. A dark green color, the poblano is usually
charred and peeled to enhance its full flavor.
It is a fresh green chile.
The taste is crisp and hot. Used in salsas.