chile de arbol: gourmetsleuth.com
Chile de arbol Literally translates to "treelike" named after the long twiggy appearance.
Article by: Barbara Bowman
About Arbol Chiles
This pretty red chile is a long, pointed chile and grows from 2 to 3 inches in length. The stems are long and fine. This is a chile whose flavor you will remember, along with the searing heat. Arbol is related to the cayenne chile.
The arbol chile is primarily used ground in sauces and you may see it referred to in soup and stew recipes.
In Veracruz the whole chiles are fried and added to black beans. The spicy chile is also ground and added to fruits or vegetables like jicama or cucumbers (Diana Kennedy, My Mexican Kitchen).
Arbol chiles are commonly found whole, dried with stems, whole dried without stems and ground. As with any chile you'll get the best flavor by toasting whole chiles then grinding them. That being said the flavor from the commercially ground product is quite good and is a real time saver.
Make sure to purchase pure chile powder with no preservatives or additives.
Featured Recipe: Salsa Arbol
This hot salsa is great over tacos. Recipe by La Cienaga, Chicago, IL
4 small ripe tomatoes, Italian style are fleshy and good for sauce
2 tablespoons oil, separated
2 cups de Arbol chiles, stems removed (leave seeds and veins)
3 garlic cloves
4 guajillo chiles, stems removed (leave seeds and veins)
1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon Mexican oregano
Salt to taste
Place tomatoes in a small saucepan with enough water to cover and bring to a boil.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy skillet and stir-fry chlies for 1-2 minutes to bring out the flavor. Don't allow the chiles to burn. Remove chiles with a slotted spoon and place on paper toweling to drain.
Add the remaining oil to the pan and add the guajillo chiles and garlic and stir-fry for 3- minutes. The garlic should be lightly browned but not too dark or it will be bitter. Remove chiles and garlic with a slotted spoon and place on paper toweling to drain.
Place tomatillos in the pan, swirling them around to fry until the skin is blistered and the tomatillos are cooked through. Remove from pan and place in a small bowl and allow to cool.
Remove cooked tomatoes and place in a bowl and allow to cool. Reserve the cooking liquid.
Place all the ingredients including tomatoes, tomatillos, chiles, and spices in a blender jar along with 2-3 cups of the tomato cooking liquid and blend until smooth.