How to rehydrate dried chillies the easy way; plus a recipe from Jamie Oliver

rehydrated green jalapeno chillies

There a 4 main things to take into account when using dry chillies outlined below.

1. For the chilli purist the maximum depth of flavour will be gained by dry roasting the chilli  first in a sauce pan to blister and remove the skin  and de-seed before using.

This one is going to take longer.

  1. Wash the dried peppers. Remove the seeds and stems.
  2. Fill a large container with water and boil it.
  3. Chop the onion into pieces to add it to the pan.
  4. Now add the peppers. Cover the container and cook it over low heat for 2 hours in case of smaller peppers and 4 hours in case of larger peppers. 
  5. Turn off the stove after 2-4 hours and leave it to cool down for 3-4 hours.
  6. Then pour it through a strainer into a large bowl to reserve the liquid.
  7. Add the peppers and a small amount of liquid to the food processor.
  8. Blend and continue adding liquid at least after 2-3 minutes as required, until a paste of medium consistency is ready
  9. Remove it into the strainer placed over a bowl in small amounts.
  10. Mash the pulp with a spoon and squeeze out the liquid.

2. The simple way, is to add enough hot water to cover the dried chilli and let reabsorb for 30 min.

dehydraded green jalapeno chillies

dehydraded green jalapeno chillies

hot water and green japaleno chillies

hot water and green japaleno chillies

3. If using whole chillies, then add a weighted item to keep the chilli submerged so both sides soften.

4. If making a slow-cooked dish then you can simply add the dried chilli to the dish and it will reabsorb during the cooking process.

It can be stored in the refrigerator for a week. You can freeze the leftover in small portions for later use.  

While purchasing dried chillies, buy the ones that are soft and pliable. Avoid choosing the ones that are hard and brittle, as these chillies belong to older stock. The water or the soaking liquid obtained from rehydrated peppers is full of nutrients. Thus it can be used for other recipes, but it usually tastes bitter, so use it accordingly. You can add onions while simmering to enhance the flavour. 

Once you have decided the desired outcome the way you use them is simple and a great way to be able to use these chillies all year round and try amazing different varieties from around to world.

Still Not sure how to use them? why try  not this new recipe from Jamie Oliver:

Jamie’s beautiful lamb shanks with mexican chillies

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“This is a killer dinner!” Says Jamie. “Rehydrating dried chillies in apple juice with raisins release their heat and infuses them with a sticky sweetness that goes insanely well with lamb.”

INGREDIENTS

2–3 Smoked Chipotle chillies
.  2-3  Ancho chillies
• Large handful of raisins
• 285ml apple juice
• 4 lamb shanks
• Olive oil
• 3 medium red onions, finely chopped
• 8 garlic cloves, finely sliced
• 2–3 fresh red/ green  chillies of your choice, halved and de-seeded
• 1 tsp smokey paprika
• 2  whole dried bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried rosemary leaves
• 1 x 400g tin tomatoes
750ml chicken stock or water
• A dash of red wine vinegar
• Sliced red chillies and sliced garlic (optional)

mexican dried chillies in hot water to rehydrate

mexican dried chillies in hot water to rehydrate

ancho, chipotle and new mexico chilli paste.

ancho, chipotle and new mexico chilli paste.

Preparation

  1. Use a damp paper towel to wipe off the dust and dirt.
  2. Remove the seeds and vessels inside the dried pods with a knife.
  3. Roast each side of the peppers for 30-60 seconds in the pan.

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to full whack. Put the dried chillies, raisins and apple juice in a bowl then set aside. Put the lamb shanks in a roasting tray then rub all over with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. Bang them in the oven for 20 minutes and, as they’re browning, get a casserole pan that will fit the shanks quite snugly – about 24cm in diameter and 10cm deep. Put it on medium heat and add a lug of olive oil. Devote about 10 minutes to sweating off the onions, garlic, fresh chilli, smoked paprika, bay leaves and rosemary.
  2. Once the onions have softened, put the rehydrated chillies and raisins into a food processor or liquidiser, along with any leftover apple juice, then blitz (feel free to sneak in a swig of red wine or bourbon here!) until you’ve got a paste. Stir this into your onions.
  3. Take your shanks out of the oven and turn the temperature down to 140C/gas 1–1½. Add them to the casserole pan along with your tinned tomatoes and water or stock. Stir everything together, cover and put in the oven to stew for about 2½–3 hours. Top up with water or stock as you go.
  4. Once the meat is falling off the bone and the sauce is thick, take it out of the oven, have a taste and season with salt and pepper and a dash of vinegar. To give it a kick up the backside I like to finely chop up a garlic clove and a little fresh chilli then mash them with a pinch of salt and stir it through for an extra punch. Serve with steamed greens, mash, flatbread – whatever you fancy.

Notes: I think sometimes Jamie gets a little over-excited with the total amount of chillies he uses,   you may wish to stick with the milder chillies and leave out the fresh chillies.

If wanting a milder chilli base  use  a combination of ancho, mulato, pasilla negro, or guajillo mexican chillies.  These have the lowest heat rating for chilli and infuse a beautiful depth of flavour into any dish without the chilli heat.

Why are dried chillies rehydrated?

Dried chillies are hydrated to be used in sauces and salsas. This intensifies their flavour and lets it seep into the dish.

How long do dried chillies last?

Store dried chillies in an airtight jar. You can also keep it in the freezer. This will keep them safe from insects and preserve their freshness for a year. Try to consume all of it within three to six months to enjoy the richest taste.

My personal favourite is combining  2 anchos and 2 pasilla negra chilli  with a single smoked chipotle chilli. The smoked chipotle  gives a little heat  but more importantly adds  a  rich smokey tone to the meal.

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