Every time I visit another country I compromise myself to know, cook and adopt at least one or two new ingredients, even though I visited that country or city ten times before.
There is always something to learn, much more if we talk about such rich, diverse and wide culture as the Mexican. Almost seven lives are needed to know it completely.
That happened to me the other day with "chile morita", which has been more than adopted in my kitchen and, fortunately, it can be found in some of the Mexican markets in the US, and even online.
The "chile morita" is a dry, smoked, dark red color chile, almost purple and a little smaller than the "chile mora". It is part of the "jalapeño" family since it comes from a small variety of that. It is very, very hot, but its enchantment relays on its property to add much flavor and certain touch of sweetness. I am not very fond of the "chile chipotle" (smoked jalapeño), but the "morita" has a "chipotle smoky taste" so delicate that makes you fall in love with it. It is much used in Mexico D.F, Puebla and Veracruz, and besides being used in sauces, since it adds so much flavor, is perfect for stews, moles, soups and "adobados". My favorite dish with "chile morita" is a stew of chicken or pork, as I learned to make it from a friend in Polanco.
Every time you want to cook with a dry chile, have in mind to clean it with paper towel, warm it up for a few seconds on a pan or comal to awake its flavor and aroma. Then hydrate it for 20 minutes in water to soften it, and in case you want more flavor and less spicy, get rid of the seeds and veins before adding it on the blender. Generally, when making a sauce, I mix it with tomatoes, white onions, fresh garlic, salt and occasionally with my beloved cilantro. It is easy... remember that The Kitchen doesn't bite and the "chile morita" doesn't either.