Chili Lime Kettle Corn

Ancho (Ahn-cho) Chile (Capsicum Annum) means Wide Chile Pepper. This chile ranges from 3 – 4 on a heat scale of 1 to 10. An Ancho is the dried form of a Poblano Pepper and often is mislabeled as a Pasilla or Mulato Pepper. Anchos have sweet fruity flavor with hints of cherry, prune, and fig. Anchos, combined with the Pasilla and Guajillo, form the Holy Trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces. Scoville heat units are 1,000 to 3,000.

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Serves: 6-8 servings

3 tablespoons coconut oil
½ cup popcorn kernels
½ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground ancho chili pepper (or more to taste)*
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest (from about 2 limes)
1 large lime wedge

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set it close to the stove.
Add the coconut oil to a large saucepan and turn the heat to medium-high. Add 3-5 kernels of corn and cover the pot. These tester kernels will indicate when the oil is hot.
Once the tester kernels pop, add the remaining kernels, sugar, and salt. Quickly stir everything together to coat all of the kernels and replace the lid.
As the kernels start to pop, shake the pan occasionally. As the popping increases, shake a bit more vigorously and consistently.
When the popping slows down (1-2 seconds between pops), remove the pan from the heat and pour the popcorn onto the baking sheet. You will have a few un-popped kernels but that is ok. If you wait for every single kernel to pop, some will start to burn.
Sprinkle the ancho chili pepper and lime zest over the popcorn and squeeze the lime wedge over top. Toss to combine. Use a spoon or your fingers to spread the popcorn into an even layer and pick out any unpopped kernels or burnt pieces. Taste the popcorn and adjust the seasonings as desired.
Let the popcorn cool for a few minutes so it can crisp up. Eat immediately or store in an airtight container for a few days.


* To make ancho chile powder: grind dried ancho chiles in a spice or coffee grinder till a fine powder.