Friday, 26 February 2010

Cheat's chipotle sauce

There is something truly addictive about the smoky flavour of chipotle and it's no wonder that this chile has become somewhat of a food celebrity. In the last year or so, it's really taken off in the UK, cropping up on menus across London, not just those specialising in Mexican cuisine. Strange to think that the process of smoking these chillies dates back to the Aztecs, who found that the thick flesh of the jalapeño pepper was prone to rotting; smoking them gave them a much better shelf-life (so to speak).

If you're lucky enough to have a cold smoker, then nothing beats smoking your own jalapeños, a process which takes about 8-12 hours. Personally, my favourite chipotle product is 'in adobo', canned in a red sauce that typically contains tomato puree as well as an array of seasonings. Not only are the chillies great for cooking but whizz up the tin with a few other ingredients and you have a really tasty and quick chipotle sauce. It might be cheating but in terms of ease, it's hard to beat. Just one word of caution: they are very HOT so use with care!

Quick chipotle sauce using tinned chipotles in adobo 
1 tin of chipotles in adobo (about 200g)
1/2 pt water
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pt tomato passata or tinned tomatoes

Place all the ingredients except the oil in a blender and liquidize until smooth, about 1-2 mins. Heat the oil in a saucepan; when it begins to smoke, quickly tip the sauce into the pan, stirring frequently while it boils away for 10 mins. This will seal the flavour and the sauce should reduce a little and thicken. 

For a simple supper, add to shredded meat or browned mince or use as a base for enchiladas for chilaquiles. The sauce also freezes very well and will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days

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