Mr. Food: What Are Chipotles?

Chipotles are creeping into all sorts of restaurant menu items and onto our market shelves. What are they? How to enjoy them? We're taking the mystery out of this fiesta favorite.

Chipotles are simply the dried, smoked jalapeño peppers we know so well, and they hail from Mexico. See, the C-H-I stands for “chile” and P-O-T-L-E is the Aztec word for “smoke.” Legend has it that the Aztecs smoked the chilies because the thick, fleshy jalapeño was difficult to dry to be stored. They're available to us dried, whole, powdered, pickled or canned, and for the same original reason.

If we have a small bag of them on our shelf, we've always got that exciting smoked jalapeño taste at our fingertips, and that popular taste is being seen all over our markets today. There are sauces (even some of our long-time favorites) with a zest of the smoky touch of chipotle. It's like home!

We are seeing chipotle flavored mixed spices and cheeses flavored with chipotle. Some of our restaurants are using them in new exciting cream sauces. For us at home, we can capture that same excitement by adding a touch of chipotle flavor to our sauces and soups, stews, burgers, whatever! Why, a touch on some simple eggs turns them into a south-of-the-border treat.

You know, with chipotles we can have a fiesta every day, and every day an "OOH IT'S SO GOOD!!®"