Chili Paste Starter
Coming up in a few days, I’ve got the first real test of my cooking skills. We have another website we run about typhoons in this area. My husband and I have lots of fun with it, coming up with crazy memes, funny songs, and using real, accurate info from meteorology friends in Tokyo, Seattle, and across several bases here. After some friendly bashing of weather reporting skills of the American Forces Network radio DJs, we were challenged to a chili cook-off on air! I’ve been working hard on my recipe and finally perfected it, with the help of this little starter. (I’m not giving away my recipe until after the cook-off, so revealing this much isn’t a secret.)
This is just the simple chili paste starter adopted from The Best of America’s Test Kitchen. I’ve modified it a bit based on my own allergies, though you can do the same for yours. It yields about 2 cups of paste, depending on the size of your chiles. The dried anchos have a sweet aroma, almost like dried dates or prunes and add a bit of sweetness to the paste. Cornmeal holds the paste together and adds consistency when the paste is used in soups and sauces. I used it in my Peach Chili Pork Ribs and it was SO good. I usually prepare a mise en place to speed up the preparation process since there are so many ingredients; plus laying the ingredients out is so pretty. The second picture below shows the consistency you’ll want after combining all the ingredients.
For an extra smoky flavor, you can also gently roast the jalapeños in the skillet after the ancho chiles, which will add heat to the onions and garlic. Be careful to have plenty of ventilation or the oil produced in the air by the peppers can cause coughing and breathing issues. Something learned by trial and error, unfortunately. *wheeze, choke*
Wish me luck though! It’s going to be a fun week!
- 6 dried ancho chiles stemmed, seeded, torn into 1-inch pieces
- 2-4 dried árbol chiles stemmed, halved and seeded
- 4 Tbsp cornmeal
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp cocoa
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup chicken broth no sodium
- 2 onions cut into 3/4 inch pieces
- 4 small jalapeño chiles stemmed, seeded, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- In a 12-inch skillet (I prefer cast iron), toast the dried ancho chiles over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 4-6 minutes. Reduce heat when chiles start to smoke. Transfer to food processor to cool. Do not wash skillet.
- Add árbol chiles, cornmeal, oregano, coriander, cocoa and salt to food processor with toasted ancho chiles; process until finely ground, about 2 minutes.
- With processor running, slowly add the chicken broth until a smooth paste forms, scraping down chile remnants as necessary. Transfer paste to small bowl.
- Place onions into now empty processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Add jalapeños and garlic and pulse until a chunky salsa-like consistency.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon olive oil to the skillet on medium-high heat and add the onion mixture. Cook down until moisture is gone and combine with pepper paste.
- Let mixture cool completely before transferring to a storage container. Keep in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for a month for future use.
What's new, gnu?