Posts Tagged ‘Spices’

This is the long overdue review of the Chile de Arbol spice that was featured in the “Some Like it Hot” tasting box from Foodzie (sigh, how I miss the old Foodzie … before all the changes when it was more like Etsy for food artisans).  This isn’t my first time trying the spice, but it’s the first time I’ve taken the time to sit down and compose my thoughts on this rather heated product!  Err… well, what I mean is, this spice has got some HEAT! 

Product Description:

Closely related to the cayenne chilies, it has a tonic, smoky, and grass flavor with acidic heat. The heat level is 7 and the Scoville Heat Unit is 15,000-30,000. This chili powder can be used in soups, stews, and sauces.

Learn more about Whole Spice on their website.

Photo from Whole Spice. Click on the pic to go there.

Taster’s Review:

For the purposes of this review, I sprinkled the Chile de Arbol powder over a couple of fried eggs.  Not a heavy sprinkling, because as I’ve learned from previous tastings of this spice that this does not require a heavy hand to taste it!

The amount of heat that this gives off reminds me of cayenne pepper.  But it also has a smokiness to it that almost reminds me of chipotle.  There’s even a hint of earthiness to this.  If one were to somehow “marry” the flavor of the chipotle and the heat of the cayenne, they’d have something a bit like this ground Chile de Arbol.  And I’m liking that!

I love the dimension of flavor that comes with this Chile de Arbol.  Sure, it’s got some heat, but as long as I don’t go overboard when I sprinkle it on something, it adds just the right amount of kick to my fried eggs, and I’m thinking that I may just have to try adding this to my taco meat the next time I make tacos, and to my chili the next time I make that.  This may even add a compelling dimension to a cup of hot cocoa the next time I’m in the mood for something creamy, rich and with a little bit of bite to it.

My Final Thoughts:

This has a nice amount of heat as long as it’s used with a careful hand, and it adds more than just heat to the dish.  It has a pleasant earthiness to it, and an enjoyable smoky tone that is somewhat reminiscent of the chipotle (just hotter!)  This is something I can see myself keeping in my spice pantry for when I make chili (I’ll be making lots of it in the cooler months ahead) – in fact, I think that this may be replacing the cayenne pepper that I normally keep for when I make chili.  This has about the same heat but will add some other desirable flavor to my pot of chili!

Learn more about Bourbon Barrel Foods here.

Product Description:

Many paprikas are smoked, but none of them are bourbon smoked.  Try this combination of sweet, piquant paprika and the mellow, oaky flavors of fine Kentucky bourbon.

What I Think:

To be honest, this was the item I was least excited about in the Bacon and Bourbon Tasting Box.  I mean, paprika?  Really?  We’re talking my least favorite spice.

But… let me explain WHY it is my least favorite spice.  You see, growing up, the main cook in the household wasn’t exactly a “gourmet chef” by any stretch of the imagination.  Sure, most of the food was edible, but, flavorful?  That’s another thing all together.  Bland would be the way I would describe most of what I ate in my adolescent and teen years.

We had a container of paprika in the spice cabinet.  It had been there since I was eight (probably longer) and I don’t think it had ever been replaced during the time I lived in that house.  The only food that I can remember paprika ever being used for was to sprinkle over deviled eggs, and that was for color, not for flavor (or at least, by the taste of them, I can assume it wasn’t for flavor, because I didn’t taste any difference between those deviled eggs that were dusted with paprika and those that escaped the dusting).

So, in my mind, paprika is that spice that is used for color and not flavor.  In fact whenever preparing a recipe that called for paprika, I would either omit it, or add something else from my spice cabinet.  I never considered paprika a spice worth having in my cabinet … Until now!

But with this spice being in my tasting box, it exposed me to the flavor of paprika!  When I first opened the tin, I was blown away at the smoky scent.  Sweet, smoked, and just a hint of spice.  It smells really good.  A little taste reveals a profile that is a little bit peppery, a little sweet, and with a lovely dimension of smoke.  It is a powerful flavor!

I’ve sprinkled this on fried eggs, and it’s spectacular. For Christmas, I made scalloped potatoes, and used 2 teaspoons of this paprika in the sauce and it elevated the dish from ordinary to extraordinary.  Move over, nutmeg and oregano, you’ll need to make some room for the Bourbon Smoked Paprika!

My Final Thoughts:

This spice is very flavorful stuff!  My deviled eggs will never be the same!  If you suffer from bland food syndrome like I did when I was a kid … get the cook in your house a tin of this!