Friday, 30 December 2011

Chipotles en Adobo - Mexican Smokey Chilli Sauce

Chipotles en Adobo
Chipotle chillies

Mexican food are not only easy to prepare, but also absolutely delicious. Different variety of Chillies are often used , dried and fresh, not only to provide heat to the dish but also to impart their unique flavour. Chipotles en Adobo is a smoky, sweet sauce/purée made from the dried chipotle chillies. A chipotle is a smoked, dries jalapeño chilli with an intoxicating fiery flavour. I always make this in a big batch and store it in a clean sterilised jar. This is an indispensable ingredients as it add enormous flavour to braised meats, sauces, stews, dressing and even for a pizza topping. It is also one of the essential ingredient for my Chile con Carne dish. Chipotle chillies are now increasingly easy to obtain here in London. You can find it readilly available in Borough Market, The Spice Shop on Portobello road or on the MexGrocer website. This sauce/pureé can also be bought ready made in a jar but I personally think nothing beat a homemade version. Once made, this will keep and lasts for months.

(makes about a litres)

200g chipotle chillies (about 65)
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 head of garlic, cloves roughly chopped
3tbsp fresh oregano or 1tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp fresh thyme or 1/2 tbsp dries thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cumin seed, toasted and crushed
4tbsp olive oil
350ml white wine vinegar
50ml balsamic vinegar
3tbsp tomato pureé
7tbsp demerara or dark brown sugar
2 tbsp Sea salt

Wash the chipotles in cold water and drain. Snip off the stalk end of each chilli. This allows the water to penetrate their tough skins.

Cover the chillies with water in a pan and bring to the boil. Simmer on a low heat for 35-40 minutes until completely soften. Drain and set aside. Reserved the cooking liquid.

Put the onion, garlic, herbs and cumin in a blender together with 200ml of water and six of the soften chillies and pureé to a smooth paste.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan. When smoking hot, add the chillies paste and fry for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly with a spatula to prevent it from burning. Add the vinegars, tomato pureé, sugar, salt and 100ml of the cooking liquid and cooked for another 5 minutes before adding in the rest of the chillies. Cook, whilst stirring, for a further 15 minutes. Check for seasoning and add more salt or sugar if necessary. Remove from heat and allows to cool. Once cooled completely, tip into a blender and blend into smooth pureé. Store in a clean, sterilised jar.

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