I have a recipe for a basic enchilada sauce, in which I bring tomato sauce and chicken stock to a boil with some spices. It is then simmered for 15 minutes. It calls for using diced dried Chipotle peppers, which worked great - until we bit into one of the pieces of pepper. The heat was a bit too intense for my wife.

I thought about using big pieces of the dried Chipotle peppers next time, and then picking them out after the simmer. I assume it will take away some of the heat (which is the goal), but will I still get the flavors this way? What other changes could I expect?

1 Answer 1


Chilis supply 2 things, chili flavor and heat. The flavor comes from the flesh while the heat comes from the seeds and especially the membrane that connects the seeds to the flesh. Ordinarily when someone wants to reduce the heat of a pepper I would suggest cutting it open and removing the seeds and membrane, however that's pretty much impossible with a dried pepper.

My recommendation in this case would be to put the chipotles in whole, then remove them after cooking is done. Put the peppers in after all the other ingredients, just before simmering, then try to avoid stirring it if you can avoid it - be gentle so you don't burst the peppers open. Once the cooking is done you fish them out with a spoon and you can serve them as a side to the heat lovers if you like.

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    I would put the chipotles in a tea ball. That way you can stir around as much as you want: Just lift out the tea ball in the end. Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 12:07
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    That's a good idea @WillemvanRumpt, I would suggest a fine mesh one over a solid one with holes to allow the best circulation.
    – GdD
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 12:17
  • Yeah, definitely a fine mesh. I actually use this quite regularly when I know the guests are not very fond of, lets say, the "native experience". It tends to get most of the flavor into the food, without them finding a piece of cassia bark, cardamom pods, or other chunky stuff. Especially black cardamom tends to freak people out... Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 16:12
  • Is there supposed to be oil in your sauce? If yes, try to fry the peppers in oil separately and adding just the oil (make sure your kitchen is well ventilated, frying dried peppers can teargas you!). Commented Jul 8, 2017 at 11:28

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