For spicy ribs, incredible briskets or smoked chili con carne, this homemade chili powder recipe provides flavor and aroma that's impossible to get from commercially prepared chili powders. Freshly ground whole peppers are the reason for its fantastic flavor.
Making fresh chili powder is easy to do. You'll need a spice mill to grind the peppers, scissors or a knife, and a tight-sealing bottle or jar to store the powder.
It's always best to make just what you need as you need it, but there always seems to be a bit left over that needs to be bottled up. I keep my storage jar in the freezer, which helps stabilize the flavor.
Dried peppers most commonly used in chili powder are the ancho, the pasilla, and New Mexico chiles. Others choices include chipotle chiles, chiles de arbol, habaneros, guajillo chiles and pasilla chiles, also known a chile negros.
However, don't let that short list of peppers stifle your creativity. When it comes to making your own chili powder, any dried peppers are fair game as long as you're aware of the final flavor you're shooting for.
Some dried peppers have a sweet taste, while others have flavor that's more on the earthy side. Fruity taste is also a charastic of some types of chiles. Another consideration is the heat level of the peppers used.
Looking at a list of the flavors found in various types of chile peppers might have you believe you're reading about wine flavors. Tastes found in peppers may include notes that are grassy, fruity, and citrus-like.
You may also pick up notes of chocolate, tobacco, raisin or plum. Acidity, astringency and earthiness can also be added to the list.
Heat levels vary widely, from being nonexistent in sweet bell peppers, with others having a rating of over 1 million SHU's (Scoville Heat Units) on the Scoville Scale.
Many of the super-hot peppers also have great flavors in the background. Use with care!
Ancho (Dried Poblano) - These have mild to medium heat and are dark red to black in color, with a sweet taste and mild, fruity flavor.
Chile de Arbol - A very hot pepper, similar to cayenne. The flavor is said to be of light grassiness with a bit of smoke.
Chipotle (Dried Jalapeno) - Made from red-ripe jalapenos, ideally left on the plant as long as possible. With medium heat, these have bold flavor that includes some smokiness and fruity notes.
Guajillo - These can be mild to medium in heat level, and are bright red to dark red in color. The somewhat sweet taste balances well with the bold spicy, earthy flavor.
Habanero - Very hot! Actually, it's one of the hottest peppers, but it also has a great flavor that includes notes of tropical fruits and citrus.
New Mexico (Dried Anaheim) - Typically mild in heat, New Mexico peppers are sweet with a slightly fruity flavor.
Pasilla - Also known as chile negro because of their very dark color, these have a medium level of heat, a sweet, earthy taste, and fruity flavors, including notes of raisin. There may also be a bit of chocolate flavor.
This recipe includes three different types of peppers, along with a few other spices that when freshly ground, make a complex, flavorful chili powder.
An electric spice mill or a dedicated coffer grinder are great for making small batches of chili powder. An electric blender will also do the job, and is better for larger batches.
Remove the stems and seeds from the peppers. Gently toast in a skillet over medium heat for about five minutes. Break the peppers into small pieces by hand, or cut with scissors.
Grind the toasted, dried peppers in a spice mill or blender until finely powdered. Let the dust settle for a couple of minutes before opening up the mill or blender. Getting a snoot full of freshly ground pepper dust can be a painful experience!
In a mixing bowl, combine the ground peppers with the oregano, cumin, garlic powder and onion powder. Your homemade chili powder is now ready to use.
For the best flavor, use this chili powder immediately. However, it can be stored in a tightly sealed container, kept in a cool, dark location, for a few weeks.