Are the Jalapeño and the Chipotle two different chili peppers right?
Yes. And no.
The Jalapeño is this green chili that you buy in jars and add to your nachos. The Chipotle is in your favorite hot sauce (hint: it’s TheSauceMan Beetroot and Chipotle ) or ground into little jars at the spice shop. What happens then? Well, it’s actually the same chili but prepared in two different ways. Here we go…
When they are green on the vine, they are bitter and sour, you’re most likely to see them pickled in cans or jars. They have a pleasantly acidic flavor and add a great contrast and a spicy and sour touch to a wide variety of dishes. You probably know them from the nachos at your local Mexican bar, where they throw it on top and make a perfect contrast to the mountain of fried tortillas and salty cheese.
Now we move on to the famous Chipotle. It is the same chili as the jalapeño, but this time it is left on the vine to mature to a very deep red. They are then harvested and placed in wood-fired smokers, where they are subjected to an smoking process as aggressive as Snoop Dogg´s. They are left there for several days, reducing the moisture content from 88% to 8%. When they emerge from their smoking chrysalis, they resemble raisins after a sabbatical in the Gobi desert and have a wonderfully smoky, woody aroma. There are actually two main varieties; Morita and Meco. La Morita smokes for less time and has a very intense purple color. Meco looks rather ugly like tree bark (or a cigar rind) but is more prized than Morita due to its deep, rich, earthy flavor.
If you are lucky enough to see a chile before smoking, you will see the characteristic brown “scorched” lines. Fun fact: the more brown lines there are, the hotter the chili is. Fear not, they are not hot, they are at the milder end of the Scoville scale, between 4,000 and 8,000, giving a very mild spiciness and they are excellent for giving your dishes a little slap. At The SauceMan we use the best Meco chiles, which contrast with the sweetness of the beets and orange juice. They perfectly complement the fiery Habaneros and the fragrant hit of rosemary.
This chili is grown predominantly in the southern US and Mexico and is a somewhat delicate flower: it must be kept warm at night, it is very susceptible to pests and aphids, and it must be watered well but not excessively. You’re probably better off satisfying your Chipotleos cravings for your favorite brand of hot sauce. I think I referenced it at the beginning of the article.