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Mexican Chiles

In Mexican cuisine dried chiles are more prevalent than fresh chiles. While fresh chiles are terrific for adding visual appeal, crunch and heat to a dish it's the dried version that provide complex layers of flavors from chocalty, ctirusy earthy, smoky and sweet to delightfully hot. The colors cover the camut from bright oranges, to deep reds to deep, dark blacks.

They're added to everything from adobos (paste made from pureed dried chiles), marinades, salsas, soup broths to corn tortillas (we like using chipotle or passila de Oaxaca chiles for these). Typically these dried ciles and called something other than what they are known for in the fresh incarnations (i.e. poblano when fresh and ancho or mulato when dried). 

As a rule of thumb they tend to be either red or dark in color. Chiles used in Mexican cuisine range in color from a burnt red to dark plum to black in color. The black chiles tend to be earthier and sweeter in flavor and work best in combination with dark meats like beef or duck. These chiles are often added to enhance color as much as adding flavor (i.e. in moles). Red chiles run the color spectrum from a vibrant orange to a rich maroon. These chiles tend to have good acidity, tropical fruit flavors and differing heat levels. As a rule of thumb the smaller the chile the hotter it is. These chile pair best with white meat like chicken, fish and pork. 

Look for some recipe ideas? We've tested a wide range of Mexican recipes in our test chicken that you're sure to find an idea or two to delight friends and family.

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