Chile Flakes, Chipotle
Chipotles date back to before the Aztec civilization and originated in the region of Mexico that today is northern Mexico City. Chipotles are actually fully ripened and then smoked dried jalapenos. Chile historians believe that the Aztecs first smoked jalapeno peppers because the fleshy, thick jalapeno was difficult to dry and tended to rot. This smoke drying process was initially used for drying meats but the Aztecs found that smoking allowed the chiles to be stored for a long period of time. Chipotle peppers have become increasingly popular in the US with our fairly recent infatuation with chiles. Chiles immediately bring to mind their heat but many chiles may also be a bit mild while adding a deliciously subtle flavor to many dishes when used in correct amounts. It takes 10 pounds of fresh jalapenos to make one pound of dried Chipotles. The end result is a dark brown to black colored, shriveled pepper that has a smoky and slightly sweet chocolaty flavor and aroma. These chile peppers have a bit of a kick to them and are considered a medium hot chile coming in at 5,000 - 10,000 SHU.