Welcome to my recipe for Infused Hot Pepper Vinegar, inspired by Tucson’s famous El Charro Café. This spicy condiment is perfect for adding a kick to your Mexican food dishes or any meal that needs a little extra heat.
As a chef, I am always experimenting with new flavors and techniques, and this recipe is one of my favorites. The combination of fresh and dried chili peppers infused into distilled white vinegar creates a flavorful and versatile vinegar that can be used in a variety of ways.
Whether you are a fan of hot and spicy food or just looking to switch up your condiment game, this infused hot pepper vinegar recipe is sure to impress. So grab your apron and let’s get cooking!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
If you’re a fan of Mexican food, this Infused Hot Pepper Vinegar recipe will be a game-changer for you. The recipe is a well-kept secret of Tucson’s famous El Charro Café, and it’s no surprise why it’s so popular. The infusion of fresh green chili peppers and dried red peppers in distilled white vinegar creates a zesty, tangy, and spicy vinegar that will add a kick to any dish.
But, what makes this recipe so special? The infusion process allows the vinegar to absorb the flavors of the peppers and intensifies the heat over time. The result is a versatile condiment that can be used to add heat to anything from soups and stews to salads and marinades.
This Infused Hot Pepper Vinegar recipe is perfect for those who love spice but don’t want to compromise on flavor. The combination of fresh green chili peppers with dried red peppers creates a complex blend of flavors that will add depth to any dish. Plus, it’s a quick and easy recipe that you can make at home with minimal effort.
If you’re looking for a way to elevate your cooking game and add some heat to your dishes, this recipe is a must-try. Trust me; once you try it, you’ll be hooked!
Before we dive into the ingredients you will need for this recipe, let me just say that this infused hot pepper vinegar recipe is an absolute gem from Tucson’s El Charro Café cookbook. To make this recipe, you’ll need a few things that you might not have on hand, but don’t worry, they are easy to find in any grocery store. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 12 fresh green chili peppers (you can use any heat level you like)
- 1 ounce dried red peppers
- 1 oz dried green peppers
- 1 oz dried yellow peppers
- 1 quart of distilled white vinegar
The combination of green, yellow, and red peppers gives this vinegar a vibrant color and a complex flavor. You can adjust the heat level by using milder or spicier peppers, depending on your preference. Keep in mind that the hot pepper vinegar will get hotter as it ages, so if you prefer a milder flavor, start with less spicy peppers.
The Recipe How-To
Step 1: Gather the ingredients
Before starting this recipe, make sure you have all the required ingredients on hand. You will need 12 fresh green chili peppers, 1 ounce of dried red peppers, and 1 quart of distilled white vinegar. You can find these ingredients at your local grocery store or Mexican market. It is important to use fresh chili peppers for the best flavor.
Step 2: Prepare the peppers
Wash the fresh green chili peppers and remove the stems. Cut them into small pieces and set them aside. Next, remove the seeds and stems from the dried red peppers and break them into small pieces. Be sure to wear gloves when handling the dried red peppers, as they can be quite spicy.
Step 3: Infuse the vinegar
In a large glass jar, combine the prepared green and dried red peppers. Pour the quart of distilled white vinegar over the peppers, making sure they are fully submerged. Cover the jar with a lid and store it in a cool, dark place for at least two weeks. This will allow the vinegar to absorb the spicy flavors of the peppers.
Step 4: Strain and bottle
After two weeks, strain the vinegar through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean glass jar or bottle. Discard the peppers and store the infused hot pepper vinegar in a cool, dark place until ready to use.
Step 5: Enjoy!
This infused hot pepper vinegar is a staple in Tucson’s El Charro Cafe, and it is sure to add a kick of spice to any dish. Use it to add flavor to salads, marinades, and sauces. It pairs well with Mexican food and can be used in place of regular vinegar in many recipes.
Note: This recipe is adapted from the El Charro Cafe cookbook, which features the flavors of Tucson’s famous restaurant. You can find more of their best recipes on Yummly or in the Cafe’s cookbook.
Substitutions and Variations
While this recipe calls for specific ingredients, there are plenty of substitutions and variations you can make to suit your taste preferences or pantry availability. Here are some ideas:
– Vinegar: While this recipe calls for distilled white vinegar, you can use other types of vinegar such as apple cider, rice, or red wine vinegar. Keep in mind that different types of vinegar will impart different flavors to the final product.
– Hot peppers: The recipe calls for fresh green chili peppers, but you can use other types of hot peppers such as jalapenos, serranos, or habaneros depending on your preferred level of heat. You can also use a combination of different types of peppers to create a unique flavor.
– Infused vinegar: If you want to experiment with flavors, try infusing the vinegar with other ingredients such as garlic, herbs, or fruit. Simply add the desired ingredients to the vinegar and let it sit for a few days to infuse the flavors.
– El Charro recipe: This recipe is based on the recipe from Tucson’s El Charro café cookbook, but you can customize it to your liking. For example, you can add more or less hot peppers depending on your preference, or add other spices such as cumin or smoked paprika for a different flavor profile.
– Serving and pairing: While this recipe is traditionally used as a condiment for Mexican food, you can also use it to add flavor to other dishes such as stir-fries, marinades, or salad dressings. Try pairing it with grilled meats or roasted vegetables for a spicy kick.
– Storage and reheating: This recipe can be stored in a clean, airtight jar in the fridge for up to six months. If the vinegar becomes too spicy over time, you can dilute it with more vinegar. To reheat, simply microwave or warm up on the stove to your desired temperature.
Remember, the key to making this recipe your own is to experiment with different ingredients and flavors until you find the perfect combination for you.
Serving and Pairing
Infused hot pepper vinegar is a versatile condiment that can add a kick to just about any dish. It pairs perfectly with Mexican food, but don’t be afraid to experiment with other cuisines as well. Drizzle it over scrambled eggs, tacos, or grilled meats for a fiery burst of flavor.
To serve, simply place the infused vinegar in a small dish or bottle with a pour spout. This not only looks elegant but also makes it easy for your guests to add the desired amount to their food.
If you’re feeling extra creative, try incorporating the infused vinegar into your cocktails. A splash of hot pepper vinegar adds a unique twist to classic drinks like Bloody Marys or Margaritas.
As for pairing, the possibilities are endless. A refreshing cucumber salad can balance out the heat of the vinegar, while a hearty bowl of chili can use the extra spice. If you’re serving a cheese board, the vinegar can add a zingy contrast to the rich flavors.
No matter how you choose to serve it, one thing is for sure: infused hot pepper vinegar is a must-have condiment for any spicy food lover.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
One of the best things about this Infused Hot Pepper Vinegar recipe is that it can be made ahead of time and stored for later use. After preparing the vinegar, allow it to cool down to room temperature before transferring it to a clean, airtight container. The vinegar can be stored in the refrigerator for up to six months.
When reheating, transfer the vinegar to a heat-safe container and microwave it for a few seconds until it’s warm. Alternatively, you can heat it up on the stove over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Make sure not to boil the vinegar as it may affect the flavor and aroma of the peppers.
Another great tip for storing the infused vinegar is to store it in small bottles or jars, making it easier to use and preserve the flavor. You can also experiment with different types of bottles or jars to give it a unique and personalized touch.
It’s important to note that the longer the vinegar sits, the stronger the flavor becomes. If you prefer a milder taste, reduce the amount of peppers used or shorten the infusion time. On the other hand, if you want a spicier kick, add more peppers or let it infuse for a longer time.
Overall, this Infused Hot Pepper Vinegar recipe is perfect for those who love Mexican food and want to add a little spice to their dishes. With its long shelf life and easy reheating method, it’s a convenient and flavorful addition to any pantry.
Tips for Perfect Results
To achieve the perfect infused hot pepper vinegar, there are a few tips and tricks that can be followed. These tips will ensure that your vinegar has the right balance of flavors and heat.
Firstly, it is important to choose the right type of vinegar. Distilled white vinegar is the best choice for this recipe as it has a neutral flavor that allows the hot peppers to shine.
When it comes to the peppers, it is important to use fresh, high-quality ingredients. The recipe calls for 12 fresh green chili peppers, but you can also use a combination of green, yellow, and red peppers for added color and flavor. It is also possible to use dried red peppers, but the flavor will be slightly different.
To achieve the perfect infusion, it is important to sterilize the bottle or jar that will be used to store the vinegar. This can be done by soaking it in boiling water for a few minutes.
When adding the peppers to the vinegar, it is important to remove the stems and seeds. This will help to prevent the vinegar from becoming too spicy.
To ensure that the flavors are well balanced, it is recommended to let the vinegar infuse for at least a week before using it. This will allow the flavors to develop and mingle together.
If you prefer a milder flavor, you can remove the peppers after a few days. If you prefer a spicier flavor, you can leave the peppers in the vinegar for a longer period of time.
Finally, it is worth noting that the infused hot pepper vinegar can be used in a variety of ways. It can be used to add heat to Mexican food, such as tacos and enchiladas, or it can be used to add a kick to dressings and marinades.
By following these tips and tricks, you can create a delicious infused hot pepper vinegar that is sure to impress.
In conclusion, if you’re a fan of Mexican food and love a bit of heat in your dishes, then this infused hot pepper vinegar recipe is definitely for you. The recipe is simple to follow, and the ingredients are easy to find, especially if you’re in Tucson.
The El Charro Cafe cookbook flavors make this recipe even more special, as it has been passed down for generations and perfected over time. Trust me, once you try this infused hot pepper vinegar, you’ll never go back to plain vinegar again.
So give this recipe a try and impress your guests with the perfect balance of tangy and spicy flavors. And don’t forget to experiment with different types of chili peppers to find your perfect mix. Enjoy!
Infused Hot Pepper Vinegar, Tucson’s El Charro Recipe
- 12 fresh green chili peppers, green, yellow, red
- 1 ounce dried red peppers or 1 ounce dried pequin red pepper
- 3 cups distilled white vinegar
- Wearing gloves, rinse and dry the green chile peppers (it doesn't matter if the chiles are a color other than green - they can be yellow or red forms of a variety) . Stem and chop the peppers into medium coarse pieces. Place the peppers in a clean, heatproof quart jar with a tight fitting lid.
- Heat the vinegar to simmering and pour over the peppers. Allow this to cool, then put the lid on and tighten fully. Allow this to stand for two weeks in a dark, cool place, shaking the jar occasionally.
- After two weeks, strain the mixture through a fine sieve. Bottle up in a clean, dry bottle and cap tightly. Add a whole red pepper to the bottle for extra flavor and for appearance, if desired.
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Lucy is a mom who loves to cook up a storm. She enjoys discovering, collecting, and experimenting with delicious, healthy recipes for her blog. With her passion for cooking, Lucy is always coming up with her own unique creations to share with the world.