Autumn, Dinner, Spice Abuse

Dried Chili Pepper Powder

My husband loves chili con carne. The simpler the better. No beans. And please don’t hide any veggies. Onions if you must; peppers, maybe. But generally this needs to be about the meat and the tomato sauce – and really it’s mostly about the meat. 

I’ve always used the “off the shelf” chili powder and find myself going through MOUNDS of it to get enough interesting flavor into that simple dish. After all, when there aren’t a bunch of “extras” adding flavor, that chili powder needs to hold its own. 

And the grocery brands just don’t. Then… I remembered the stack of dried chilis on my counter. My summer garden started HOT with a healthy load of Fresno peppers. Half are frozen in my freezer, half are dried on the counter. 2016-10-25-15-47-39 

So I’ve been experimenting with a homemade chili powder and the results are tasty!

I sliced the tops off the peppers and removed the seeds. It was far simpler than I imagined since they are so dry. The seeds fell right out, with just a bit of encouragement on a few. 2016-10-25-15-48-33

I used 6 small peppers for these – and the resulting powder had a nice kick, but nothing Smokey the Bear wouldn’t approve of so I’d call this mild to medium. 2016-10-25-15-48-59

I put these in my food processor- which is far larger than it needs to be for this job, but it’s what I had. It made a nice powder pretty quickly.2016-10-25-15-57-46

Word of warning – don’t try to smell the peppers while they are pulverizing. You’ll quickly regret that – unless you need an all-natural decongestant. I speak – and cough – from experience.

To that I added:
1 Tbs onion powder
1 Tbs garlic powder
1 Tbs cumin seeds (which I should have mortar and pestled first)
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp paprika
2 tsp cinnamon2016-10-25-16-08-51

I made a BIG batch of chili that night… so I used all that this made. I found a good ratio was about a Tablespoon of this powder to a pound of meat. It definitely wasn’t hot enough to justify sour cream so I might bump up the ratio for nights we want it really toasty, but this is a nice, mild amount – great for crowds. You can always add more!2016-10-25-16-44-39

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