Brennan G. Proctor (a.k.a. Uncle Brutha) sells his hot sauces in person at Eastern Market on the weekends. I have been picking up the occasional bottle over the last year on the weekends I that I am lucky enough to have the time to go by the market. I haven't been lucky enough to have his Chile Verde sauce yet but the next time that I hit the market I am certainly going to pick one up. You can also pick up Uncle Brutha sauces at his website, http://unclebrutha.com.
Throughout the country, you will find all kinds of chile peppers. Texans boast their citrus-hot jalapeños and squat poblanos. In Louisiana, cayenne and tabasco peppers are the chiles of choice. Cooks in Miami have fallen in love with the fiery habanero, and in California, the chiles selected are most often pasillas, fresnos, and California chiles. But in New Mexico, there is only one chile of any real importance, The New Mexico chile. The New Mexico chile comes in both fresh and dried varieties and depending on when they are picked are served either red or green.
The New Mexico chile comes in many different varieties. The most popular mild pepper is the NuMex conquistador, which is great for chiles rellenos. The NuMex sweet variety is used like a bell or anaheim pepper, as it has little or no heat at all. The NuMex Joe E. Parker is a medium-hot pepper that is excellent for salsas. And for the serious chileheads, there's the Sandia, a very hot southern variety, that is used in many green chiles that you will find throughout New Mexico.
This week we had our first whole weekend back on our boat since we had it put back in the water last week. After 6 weeks living away from our floating home I was ready to do some cooking.
I finished setting up my smokers on the dock in front of my boat and started them up. In the galley I had a brisket soaking in a quick rub I put together, two chickens and a mess of poblano chiles waiting.
In our time out of the water I had worked up the recipe that follows this posting for a smoked chile - and man did it turn out! Naomi and I had a couple of friends over for the results; Slow Cooked Brisket with homemade Mango Habenero Barbecue Sauce, bowls of Smoked Chicken and Pablano Chile and a mess of Green Chile Cornbread. By the end of the day the smoker had let all of our neighbors know we were home.
My father has loved Tabasco Sauce for years, and for almost as long I have been trying to convince him that while there is a place for Tabasco - it isn't on everything you want hot; because when you add Tabasco you also add a lot of vinegar, and in my opinion at least, scrambled eggs just aren't any better with vinegar on them - even if it is spicy vinegar.
Recently though my father switched from regular Tabasco to Chipotle Tabasco (which isn't really Tabasco anymore now is it?) In the last 2 or 3 years chipotle chiles have become very popular. A restaurant chain carries the name, and endless products containing some variation of the smoked chile have been put on the market, from sauces to mustards. When my father switched from regular Tabasco to Chipotle Tabasco - I saw my chance to introduce Los Chilernos Chipotle powder as an alternative to his vinegar habit.
I have tried a couple of chipotle powders and so far this is the best I have found (though the search continues!) Los Chilernos advertises itself as providing the ingredients for "gourmet" southwestern cuisine and in terms of chile powder so far as I have tried, they do sell a high grade set of products.
This powder is great stuff. The smoke is right up front, it has a sweet smell but the taste is all chile and wood. It is great sprinkled on salads, mixed with a bit of olive oil and used as a bread dip or added to soups and stews to add both heat and a great smoky quality. This chile powder is pretty hot and carries its flavor along way with just a touch, so use it carefully at first until you figure out how much you like.
I had my parents over for dinner on our boat and served a ceasars salad with a light dusting of this chile powder over the top, and ended up sending them home with an extra bottle. My dad still hasn't given up on Tabasco Sauce, but he is mixing it up now with this great powder. I totally recomend it. You can find Los Chilernos chile products at Whole Foods Markets, but more often that not they they don't carry the powder in this shaker bottle - the powder is the same either way but the shaker is a nice way of serving it up. You can order it online at http://www.888eatchile.com for about $6.00 a bottle or a 3 pack for about $17.00.
Next Chipotle Powder? Chile Today-Hot Tamale Chipotle Powder.
I ran into this plastic tub of "red chillies" at a local Pakistani food store in Falls Church. I couldn't help picking it up for two reasons. The first was the price! At 1.99 I didn't think I could go wrong and I had never seen these little peppers before and I just had to try them out.
I am not at all sure what kind of chile these little guys are, they are a bit smaller and much brighter in color than Hungarian cherry peppers or cascabel peppers. I would guess that they are related to cascabel though only about a third the size, and about twice the bite. These little chiles like Hungarian cherry peppers are loaded with seeds. Bright red , smooth, and round in shape, measuring about ½ an inch in diameter. medium fleshed and pretty hot, with a sweet fruit/raisin quality. Low in tannins, The flavors are a little smoky sweet, rather like a riesling grape. The heat is first noticeable at the back of the throat, but hangs on around the front of the mouth and lips. Great for sauces, soups, and stews, and might make a great powder if you have the patience to seed them - I don't.
I will definitely be back for more of these. They are perfect for bringing up the heat in any number of chile dishes and grind really easily, just drop them into your grinder and give them a spin - just 3 or 4 of these will add a noticeable note of heat in any