I am totally overjoyed by the fact that at long last we can finally buy chipotle in South Africa (or will soon be able to). If you are reading this and live in the USA or any country where chipotle chillies are readily available you may find it surprising that up until now we have not been able to buy them here. Thus a lot of creativity was required when cooking Mexican food as chipotle is an ingredient that dominates this cuisine. I developed a formula to try and emulate the taste by using a combination of pickeledd jalapeno chilles and adding smoked chilli / and or paprika, but now I can venture forth and embrace the cooking of one of my favourite cuisines with more authenticity flavour.
When I talk about chipotle, I am talking about them in adobo sauce.
What is a chipotle?
It is a Jalepno chilli which has been left on the vine to the very end of its ripening stage, and has started to lose its moisture and shrivel up. It is then picked and placed in a closed cold smoking chamber where it is simultaneously dried and cold smoked for several days.
How do you pronounce chipotle?
What is adobo sauce?
Because chipotle’s are dried and fairly hard, they need to be reconstituted so as to use them in cooking. A typical way is to rehydrate them in a sauce or preparation called adobo which serves to preserve the chillies, making them more accessible to cook with.
What do they taste like?
There are many different recipes for adobo sauce, but they are all made with tomato as the base and then various herbs and spices are added. These particular chipotle from Mexicorn are medium in heat and work really well when added to a sauce or a recipe combed with other flavours. Thus this is not a stand alone sauce.
Recipe: (this makes 2 generous portions)
- 1/2 a pack of bacon, 125gms (about 6 – 8 rashers) – chopped
- 250gsm mushrooms (I used brown)
- 250gms of zucchini or courgette with the ends trimmed off and cut into slices on the diagonal
- olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic crushed
- 1 – 2 Tbs of chopped jalapeno in adobo sauce (this is aprox 1 chilli and some sauce) *1Tbs if you like it mild and 2 Tbs if you want a kick
- 1 tin of peeled tomatoes
- 1 Tbs of brown sugar
- coriander to serve (optional)
- enough penne for 2 people (about 200gms)
Fry the chopped bacon with a splash of olive oil in a pan until crispy and set aside. I keep it set aside so as to maintain some of its crispiness, but you could always leave it in. In the same pan, add a bit more oil and saute the zucchini and mushrooms for a few minutes (about 5). Add the garlic, tomatoes, sugar and chillies and cook for about 10- 15 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken. While this is on the go, cook the pasta in salted water until al dente and drain (reserving some of the cooking liquid). Add some of this liquid to the sauce if necessary and to loosen it up. Add the bacon back and toss this through the pasta and serve with fresh coriander (optional).
I look forward to connecting with you again in the future.