Chile - de Arbol
Pronounced "day ar boll", De Arbol chiles are also known as de arbol peppers, "pico de pajaro" (bird beak) or "cola de rata" (rat tail). The De Arbol chile is believed to be native to Mexico while some serious chile heads believe that it is related to the cayenne chile while others believe it is closely related to the Pequin chile. A member of the chile species Capsicum annuum, De Arbol means "tree like" in Spanish and was named that because of its instantly recognizable long woody stem. De Arbol chiles are narrow, curved and a bit pointed at the tip, theyâ€™re less than ½" wide and between 2" and 3" long with a thin flesh. While growing they are green and mature to bright red at which point they are harvested. While not as popular as some of the other Mexican chiles the De Arbol chile is rarely found fresh and is considered a hot chile that comes in at 15,000 - 30,000 SHU (Scoville Heat Units). De Arbol chile peppers are a favorite in Mexican cuisine because of their bold heat and subtle smoky taste. Unlike many chiles, these remain bright red even after theyâ€™re dried. De Arbol have a natural, grassy flavor with a hint of nuttiness and they have a searing, acidic heat. The dried De Arbol has a more distinctive taste than the fresh pepper as the drying process really enhances their flavor. The flavor of De Arbol chile is considered superior to other chile peppers by many competition chili cooks and is considered a staple in many southwestern US kitchens. We like to use it in place of cayenne as the heat levels are similar but the cayenne really provides no additional flavor just heat. In its pod form the De Arbol is often used to flavor oils and vinegars and as a powder the De Arbol is perfect in any dish where you want to increase its heat level. Grind at home in small batches and use in chili, hot sauce, salsas, soups, tacos, and stir fry. We like to dry toast them on a hot skillet and then toss in the blender with tomatillos, onion, roasted garlic and a little water for a flavorful quick table salsa.
Chiles are packed in resealable plastic bags rather than jars.