If there is ONE new thing you do this year I urge, beg and plead you to try making your own ‘chipotles en adobe’, homemade chipotle sauce to you and me. If you like chutneys, relishes and jellies, and chilli of course, then this is culinary nirvana. OK, you probably think that I am going a little over the top here, but seriously you will thank me once you have made some pots of this sauce. It’s addictive and tastes seriously good, so much so that it is not unheard of for me to have it with my breakfast (whether it be french toast/fried egg toastie/grilled tomatoes/bacon buttie – basically it goes with anything, well maybe not cereal!) and then again at lunch time by placing a little dollop of it in my sandwich.
Chipotles chillies, originate from Mexico and are in fact a smoked and dried jalapeno chilli. They are not like their spicier cousins, such as the serrano or the chile de arbol, instead they have wonderful smokey notes that give warmth and a little spicy kick that beckons you back for more. They are sold dried or in an adobo (sauce).
Now I can just hear you all saying ‘where on earth can I get hold of those types of chillies’? Yes it does take a little bit of forward planning, but as I don’t have a farmers market next door or a store that holds them near by, I get mine online from a Mexican grocers in London called Casa Mexico. It takes literally a few minutes to log on and order and hey presto within a couple of days you have your beautiful dried chipotles chillies. I imagine if you live in the US they are likely to be even easier to source as I know that Mexican food and products are far more commonplace than they are here in the UK.
The sauce itself lasts for months so it’s great to have a private hoard in the store cupboard for personal consumption, although I will probably give a couple of my pots away to those I deem worthy of such culinary pleasures – basically family and friends who I know like chillies.
My life has been made so much easier since I invested in my kilner wide neck funnel (see photo above). I know it will get a lot of use with all the chutneys and jams I make over the course of a year.
Chipotles En Adobo
adapted from Thomasina Miers’s recipe in Mexican Food Made Simple
Makes 6 jars
200g chipotle chillies
1 white onion, chopped
1 bulb of garlic, peeled and chopped
3 tbsp fresh oregano
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
4 tbsp olive oil
350ml white wine vinegar
50ml balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp black treacle
3 tsp tomato puree
6 tbsp demerara sugar
2 tbsp sea salt
1. Cut the storks off the tops of all the chillies and then place them in a colander and wash in cold water.
2. Transfer to a large pan and cover with water and simmer gently for around half an hour, by which time the chillies will be soft. Strain the water and place six of them into a blender along with the onion, garlic, herbs and cumin. Blend until smooth.
3. Heat up a large pan (my Le Creuset pot is perfect for this) and when it is very hot add the blended chilli paste and stir continuously for a couple of minutes before adding the tomato puree, sugar, salt, vinegars, black treacle, along with 100ml of water. Turn the heat down and simmer for a few minutes before adding the remaining chillies.
4. Simmer gently for a further 15 minutes, stirring throughout.
5. Transfer the sauce to a blender (or use a hand blender) and blend once again until you have a smooth sauce.
6. Place into your steralised jars and store in a dark, cool place.
This amount makes 6 small kilner jars, as shown in the photos. Whilst it lasts for months, I can bet that it won’t last too long once you have tried it as you’ll be putting it in and on everything.
Best of luck, a little bit of effort will reward you royally.