Chile (or chilli or chili) paste for the pantry

I was perusing the list of favorite blogs that I follow on WordPress. When I got to the Chef Mimi blog I found an idea (and a recipe) that I just have to share.

I always have dried chilli peppers around the house, but they mostly just get used when I’m making chilli con carne because they take time and usually some unplanned effort to use.  I’d not thought of making paste out of them! A wonderful thing to have on hand. This will take you to the recipe for Ancho Chile Paste. No matter how you name those peppers they are great to have in the kitchen–and this makes them easier to use.

(I’m not going to give up my ancho chile powder from Penzeys Spices, though.)

Is it chili, chilli, chile…pepper?

The cool weather has inspired me to make renew the winter supply of one of my favorite comfort food: chili con carne. Looking over my stock of these spicy, flavorful peppers–pasilla guajillo, ancho, chipotle, jalapeno, serrano–brought on this rumination about what we call them.  I’m obviously terribly ambivalent since it seem I have to keep looking to see what I used last time.

In reference works like Merriam Webster Unabridged Dictionary, Encyclopedia Britannica or even Wikipedia, you find all these forms listed for what we call the spicy fruits of the genus Capsicum. Sometimes it’s with the “pepper”, other times it’s just chili. Other sources like The Deluxe Food Lover’s Companion seen to prefer chile.

Frankly, I really liked the suggestion of Harold McGee in On Food and Cooking that we simply use the chilli (which is what he does), from the original Nahuat where these lovely spicy, piquant fruits came from!

So, I guess it’s time to make some chilli con carne!