Chiltepins


The word "Chiltepin" is believed to be derived from the Aztec language (Nahuatl) combination word "chilli" + "tecpintl," meaning "flea chile," an allusion to its sharp bite.

That word was altered to "chiltecpin," then to the Spanish "chiltepín," and finally Anglicized to "chilipiquin," as the plant is known in Texas. We have settled on a non-accented "Chiltepin" as the English term for the plant and fruit. Its botanical name is Capsicum annuum var. aviculare. chiltepins

Although the Chiltepin plant's average height is about four feet, there are reports of individual bushes growing ten feet tall, living twenty-five to thirty years, and having stems as big around as a man's wrist. Chiltepins are resistant to frost but lose their leaves in cold winter weather. New growth will sprout from the base of the plant if it is frozen back.

The Americans swear that it is exceedingly healthful and very good as an aid to the digestion. " In fact, even today, Chiltepins are used--amazingly enough-- as a treatment for acid indigestion.

Most experts believe the Chiltepin, also called Tepin, is the original wild chile - the plant from which all others have evolved. It is a tiny round berry slightly larger than a peppercorn. It is very decorative and bright scarlet in color and, despite its high heat level, it is attractive to wild birds, who helped to distribute it across the prehistoric Americas. Other name include Chile Mosquito, Chile de Pajaro, Chile Silvestre or Tecpintle. One ounce of this dried pepper with seeds removed will produce a detectable hotness in 50,000 ounces (over 300 gallons) of salsa! Heat level is 8 on the scale of 10.

 

Recipes

Chiltepin Chorizo

There are as many versions of chorizo in Mexico and the Southwest as there are of enchiladas. Essentially,it is a hot and spicy sausage that is served with eggs for breakfast, as a filling for tostados or tacos, or mixed with refried beans.

This Sonoran version is spicier than most, and, in addition, it is served crumbled rather than being formed into patties.

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15 to 20 Chiltepins, crushed
1 cup red New Mexican chile powder
1 tablespoon chile seeds from Chiltepins or other chiles)
1 pound ground lean pork
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
3 Tablespoons white vinegar
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cloves
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Combine the pork with the rest of the ingredients, mix well, and let it sit at room temperature for 1 or 2 hours, or in the refrigerator overnight. (It keeps well in the refigerator for up to a week. Or, freeze the chorizo in small portions and use as needed.)

Fry the chorizo until it is well-browned.

 

SALSA TEPIN WARNING!
Extreeemely Hot FIRE!

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10 chiltepins  
4 bay leaves 
2 garlic cloves  
1 cap vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar 
dash black pepper  
1 large can whole tomatoes
2 tablespoons oregano 
salt to taste
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Put all of these ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Serve with tortilla chips

Chiltepin Jelly

Chiltepin Jelly

(Makes Six 1/2 pints) ______________________________________________
2- 4 teaspoons crushed,dried chiltepin chiles,
(depending on the heat you want)
3  large red bell peppers
1 1/2  cups distilled vinegar
6  cups sugar
1/3  cup lemon juice
4  ounces liquid pectin
10 -15  drops red food coloring
(depending on how dark you want the jelly)
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Place crushed chiles and chopped bell peppers in a blender and puree until finely chopped. Combine the puree and vinegar, bring to a oil over high heat, and boil rapidly for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove pan from heat and stir in sugar and lemon juice.

Return pan to heat, bring to a boil again, stir in the pectin and food coloring and boil again, stirring constantly for 1 minute.

Skim off foam and bottle in sterilized jars.

Additional notes: Use latex gloves when handling the chiles. don't overcook.

About the hotness: it was nicely hot when made, and mellowed over time. Maybe you should add 1 or 2 red habaneros to the ingredients. In another recipe they also note that you can add some hot sauce to the prepared jelly to make it hotter.

Suggested uses: serve the jelly over creamed cheese,with crackers or use as a marinade for meat, and chicken, or grilled vegitables.

Chiltepin House Sauce (Salsa Casera)
(Makes 2 cups)

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2 Cups Chiltepins
8 to 10 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 cup water
1 cup cider vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree on high speed for 3 to 4 minutes. Refrigerate for one day to blend the flavors. It keeps indefinitely in the refrigerator.

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