Tag Archives: chilli

Is it Hot in Here or…

Our unusually warm September has been breaking temperature records especially in the south of England. Here at Caoba we’ve been generating our own heat, chile heat.
Latin American in origin, the chile pepper (capsicum) has spread its fascination across the world. In culinary terms they are both challenging and highly addictive. As ceramic decorations they brighten up any northern European kitchen with their fiery red, yellow and green glazes.

Is it chile the or chili? The former is largely Spanish in usage, the latter American English. One suggested way to distinguish between the two is to use chile for the plants and fruit and chili for the stew. There are hundreds of chile varieties and as the fiery fruit’s use has spread across continents so have these varieties and different names proliferated.
The relative heat of a chile is measured on the Scoville Scale, named for its creator Wilbur Scoville.
What follows is a very short and not in the least comprehensive guide to the chiles available in edible and decorative form from Caoba:

The Jalapeño Pepper

Large, red, ceramic Chile Jalapeños

Large, red, ceramic Chile Jalapeños

Small, red, ceramic Chile Jalapeños

Small, red, ceramic Chile Jalapeños

Large, red and green, ceramic Chile Jalapeños

Large, red and green, ceramic Chile Jalapeños

Chile Jalapeño, the one familiar to most of us. Dried and smoked it becomes the chipotle chile used in salsas and chilis. It has a heat range of 1,000-20,000 Scoville units. The Jalapeño is usually eaten when still unripe i.e. green, although our ceramic versions are resplendent in a very ripe, bright red. With a nod to Wikipedia I can tell you that Jalapeño pepper is the state chile for Texas and has in the past been taken into space. It doesn’t report whether or not they returned.

The Serrano Chile

Tinned Serranos available from Caoba

Steve, our resident strong man eats these serranos straight from the tin

The Serrano chile, originally from the mountainous regions of Puebla and Hildago (Sierra = Mountain in Spanish). They are usually hotter than a Jalapeño with a Scoville range of 10,000-25,000 units. The Serrano is most often used in a Pico de gallo (fresh, chopped tomatoes, onion, coriander and chiles) and as such, eaten raw.

The Chile Hungaro de Cera

Ceramic red, yellow and green Chile Hungaro de Cera

Ceramic red, yellow and green Chile Hungaro de Cera

In English, the Hungarian Wax chile, is widely grown across eastern Europe and in its red, ripened form used a lot in Hungarian cooking.
It has a wide  range of 1,000-15,000 Scoville units. i.e. mild to moderate heat.

Red ceramic Chile Hungarito, the Hungaro's smaller cousin

Red ceramic Chile Hungarito, the Hungaro’s smaller cousin

 

 

 

 

 

Chile Cristalino

Red ceramic Chile Cristalino

The mysterious Red ceramic Chile Cristalino

This mild chile (just 500-700 Scoville units) is known by  so many different names you have to wonder whether it has something to hide.
From the Yucatan region of Mexico, it is variously known as the Xcatic chile,  the Santa Fe Grande Chili pepper and the Carrocillo chile. There may be other aliases…

The Miracielo Chile

Also known as the Mirasol chile, on the plant these chiles grow upwards towards the sun and the sky.  Dried, they are called Guajillo and often used in moles (sauces), particularly in Peruvian cuisine. They measure a healthy 2,500-5,000 units on the Scoville Scale

Red ceramic Miracielo Chile

Red ceramic Miracielo Chile

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Caoba Eats

Watching the World Cup is hungry work. The Caoba team sustain themselves with chillies all year round of course, but during intensive tv-watching sessions it is important to have food to hand without having to break screen/eye contact. Last night’s Mexico v Brazil match was one of those moments. Luckily our Caoba Chilli Wrap, prepared just before kick-off, fended off the hunger pangs as effectively as Guillermo Ochoa fended off that Brazillian header.

Caoba Chilli Wraps

Caoba Chilli Wraps in 4 steps

1. Make a chilli: steak mince, chopped onion, garlic, tinned tomatoes, chipotle chillies, hot paprika, ground cumin, a tiny touch of cinnamon, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook about 1 hour.
2. Cut corn or flour wraps in half and fold into a pocket. Fill with the warm chilli mix.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and place the wraps with the seam facing down in for a few minutes each side until they are golden brown.
4. Serve with salad, avocado, sour cream, and a squeeze of fresh lime. And a cold beer.

 

 

A Stockbridge Mole

No, we haven’t resorted to spying on neighbouring Comely Bank; mole is a Mexican style sauce. We often enjoy cooking with the different Mexican ingredients we sell at Caoba; making dishes with little claim to Mexican authenticity but lashings of flavour and otherwise locally-sourced ingredients. Our Mole paste has just a hint of dark chocolate and also works well with chicken and turkey. Here is one we prepared earlier…

Beef Mole with rice

Beef Mole with rice

Beef in Mole Sauce

For this beef dish we bought everything locally in Stockbridge, going to George Bower for the stewing steak, chorizo and a lovely beef gravy (we diluted half a tub to replace the stock).
The recipe makes a mellow, not too spicy stew. If you like your chilli fiery add some dried chilli flakes at the onion-frying stage.

Serves 3

 

 

25g cooking chorizo, diced
1.5 lbs stewing or braising steak, cut into 2” cubes
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Groundnut oil
1 tbsp tomato paste
500ml good beef stock
1 tin kidney beans, drained
2 tsp dry chilli mix
2 dtsp mole paste
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt & pepper to taste

To serve:
Fresh coriander, finely chopped
Sour cream or yoghurt
Nachos chillies
Basmati rice or corn tortillas

Fry the chorizo until the fat begins to run. Add the beef in batches to brown. Set the meat aside and add the chopped onions and garlic to the pan. You may need to add a dash of groundnut oil to the pan. Fry the onions until they are soft and translucent. Stir in the tomato paste and cook gently for 5 minutes. Pour in the stock, add the mole paste, dry chilli mix and oregano and bring to a simmer. Return the meat and any juices to the pan.
Cover and cook over a low heat (or in a medium to low oven) for one hour. Add the drained kidney beans and return the stew to a gentle simmer for another hour or two, until the beef is tender. Add more stock if required.
Stir in some chopped fresh coriander just before serving with plain rice or warm corn tortillas.
Have side bowls of sour cream or yoghurt and some Nachos chillies to hand for so diners can adjust the heat factor to taste.