As the weather outside begins to chill, we begin cooking dishes that warm us from the inside out. Chili peppers, both whole and ground, are an easy way to add spice, earthiness, and depth. Whether you’re a spicy food fanatic, chasing down the Pequin’s and Anneaux De Feu’s of the world, or prefer the mellow smokiness of a chipotle pepper, we’re breaking down our top chili picks for the long winter ahead.
These sliced chili rings are very spicy, giving them the nickname "Rings of Fire". Use them to garnish anything from meat to fish to cocktails for a firey finish.
Aleppo chili pepper comes from southern Turkey, near the Syrian town of Aleppo, which is considered one of the culinary meccas of the Mediterranean. Considered the paprika of Turkey, it has a moderate heat level with some fruitiness & mild, cumin-like undertones, a hint of a vinegar and a salty taste. Use it to impart chili flavor in any Middle Eastern or Mediterranean dish. Great on soft scrambled eggs, pizzas, salads, and pasta.
A mildly spicy chili from Northern India, known for its brilliant red color. Many Indian classics like Tandoori Chicken rely on Kashmiri Chilis for color and flavor. With a slightly fruity undertone, it can be used as a substitute for sweet or hot paprika.
Chile De Arbol Peppers (or Tree Chilis in Spanish) are named in reference to the woody stems attached to their pods. The Arbol Chile is related to cayenne, meaning it's quite hot. They can be extremely irritating to the eyes or any small cuts on the hands, so it may be a good idea to wear gloves while handling these peppers. Use for spicy salsas and sauces.
The Pasilla is a dried Chilaca Chile, and by far the most harvested and used chile in West Mexico, specifically the state of Michoacan. It has a rich, earthy and mildly spicy taste with just the right touch of sweetness and a leathery flavor. Rich in color and flavor, it is used for many things such as table sauces, soups, stews, rubs, and marinades.
Piment d'Espelette is made from chilis that hail from the Basque region of France and Spain and named after the village of Espelette in France’s Nive Valley. The flavor offers amazing hints of peach and sea brine, and has a subtle heat.
Smoked Paprika is made from dried chilies that are smoked over oak giving the spice a woodsy, smokey flavor that is great for stews and roast meats. It is perfect with olive oil, octopus and potatoes, as well as in charcuterie and ground pork.
Also known as Isot pepper, this is wonderful crushed chili from the Turkish town of Urfa. It has a rich, earthy flavor and smoky aroma that makes great additions to dishes such as salad, pasta, pilaf, pizza and meats. Its sweetness works well with chocolate, a sprinkle on top of cakes, puddings, and ice cream is delicious.