Veracruz Chiles: Hot Properties

The jalapeño, pickled or fresh, and its smoked, dried counterpart, the chipotle, are the definitive Veracruz chiles.

Maura McEvoy

The jalapeño, pickled or fresh, and its smoked, dried counterpart, the chipotle, are the definitive Veracruz chiles. Not all chipotles are alike. The most prized variety, the chipotle meco, averages about 2 1⁄2 inches long, is dark brown and brittle, and has light brown, leathery striations. It is smoky and complex, and extremely hot but not astringent. The chipotle mora is somewhat smaller, 1 1⁄2 to 2 inches long, and redder in hue. More pliable than the meco, it also has a sweeter flavor. Some chipotles moras are also sold as capones: broken down, deveined, and seeded (think about what happens to capons). Though whole chiles retain more flavor, it's awfully convenient working with capones. All three kinds work well in our Veracruz recipes.