Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Quest for Grandma's Chili Powder

Going through my spices it dawned on me that I was getting low on Grandma's Chili Powder. When we had the deli business we would buy this by the case and to keep it fresh shrink wrapped and froze the extras. It is the best chili powder ever with a wonderful smokey and slightly sweet flavor. Nothing compares.

So.....I toodle off to the store to buy some and find out to my absolute HORROR that they don't make the product any more. OMG!! Now what!!! This is what I get for not buying a replacement supply sooner.

After searching on line I find that Grandma's now deceased chili powder has other fans and desperate foodies looking for a substitute. Lawmama did the heavy lifting and found out what happened to Grandma.

Fortunately she also obtained a recipe that may replicate the spice. Forthwith...I'm sharing as well. I haven't made it yet and hope that it is as good as Grandma's. It looks like fun and I'm looking forward to experimenting with the formula. Time will tell.

Shamelessly copied directly from Texas Cooking

For mildness and flavor:
•4 Ancho chiles (dried poblanos) [see Chile Primer]
•3 Dried New Mexico chiles
For heat:
•3 to 5 Dried Chiles de Arbol or Cayenne
For flavor:
•2 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted
•2 tablespoons garlic powder
•2 teaspoons ground oregano (Mexican oregano, if you can get it)

1 Preheat your oven to 300F.

2 Remove stems and seeds from all the chiles. Cut each chile in half with scissors and flatten the pieces. Incidentally, good dried chiles will still have some moisture in them and be fairly pliable. Don't use dried chiles that are so dry and fragile that they shatter when touched. Chile ristras and wreaths are wonderful decorative accents, but the chiles dry out and lose their flavor.

3 Put the chiles in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 4 or 5 minutes. Remove the pan and check the chiles (they cool almost immediately). The smaller chiles will be toasted first, so remove them and set aside. Bake the larger pieces another 4 minutes and check again. The poblanos will be done last, but as portions of them toast, break them off and set aside returning the pan to the oven if necessary.

4 When all chiles are toasted and crispy, break each piece into two or three pieces and place in a blender. Pulse briefly until you have powder.

5 Toast the cumin seeds by placing them in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stir the seeds constantly being very careful not to let them scorch. When they are a few shades darker than the untoasted seeds, they are ready. Grind the toasted seeds with a mortar and pestle or with a rolling pin between two sheets of waxed paper.

6 Add the ground cumin, garlic powder and oregano to the ground chiles in the blender. Pulse a few more times to thoroughly mix the powder, and youre through. You should have about 1 cup of chili powder, depending upon the size of your chiles.

7 You have created your own custom blend of chili powder. If you compare what you have just made with the store-bought variety, you will find it to be much darker in color with a deeper, richer aroma and taste. Naturally, you will want to test your creation, and an excellent recipe for doing so is the Brazos River Chili in Grandmas Cookbook, or any good recipe that relies heavily on chili powder.

8 This recipe makes very good chili powder, but is by no means written in stone. The chiles and other ingredients can be varied according to your taste. To add the smoky heat of chipoltes (smoked jalapeos), for instance, substitute a chipolte for one of the chiles de arbol. Or better yet, toast some chipoltes and make a pure chipolte powder from them. A teaspoon of chipolte powder is the rough equivalent of one chipolte chile.

9 Store your chili powder in a small, airtight container like a glass jar with a lid that can be tightened. If you make more chili powder than you will be using in the immediate future, triple bag it in plastic bags and put it in the freezer.

10 With this knowledge, you are limited only by your imagination and your taste.


Wow. I haven't blogged on my food blog for so long.

Poor neglected blog. Well, I also haven't put much on my other blog either.

What kind of excuses can I make? Lots!!! I'm good at excuses and procrastination.

  • I've been busy with work. No really I have.
  • I've been wasting time on line reading blogs and playing on line games. Yes. Really.
  • I've been spending a lot of frustrating time being involved as a Board member on a Community Services District. Don't ever do it. Thankless and frustrating job.
  • My computer crashed and it took a week to get all of my valuable stuff off of the dead computer to the new computer. Talk about panic. I thought I lost my cookbook program and all of the recipies that I had typed in and have procrastinated about printing out. Told you I was good at that.

So while I am attempting to get my act together, I'll try to put some more recipies on the blog and quit fooling around.