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!