08 August, 2012

Feel the Heat! with I Heart Cooking Club

Chipotles in Adobo

I while ago I decided that if you couldn't make it at home, you probably shouldn't be eating it.  I was sick and tired of preservatives and chemicals in my food, hormones in my meat and dairy products.  I went a whole month on a Raw Vegetarian diet and I never felt better in my life!  Of course I still eat meat, but a lot less than I used to.  I have more of an appreciation for the foods that we eat, and I enjoy them more knowing that we made them.  So... I miss Cheetos every now and then... but I discovered that marshmallows are extremely easy to make and taste much better when made at home.  Most of the treats out there are relatively easy to make at home and taste much better when you do; Little Debbie's, Hostess Cupcakes, crackers & graham crackers, marshmallows  canned tuna, fruit leather, pickle relish... the list goes on and on.  I even have a friend from Elementary school Stephanie who learned how to make her own Nutella!

So what does this all have to do with chilies?  I am addicted to Tinga!  It is a shredded Chicken dish soaked in a savory chili based sauce.  You can serve it as your main dish, or a snack on tostadas. When Boris and I first started dating he would make me a sandwich with Creama on on side of the bread and Tinga on the other for a rushing out the door breakfast.  It is super flavorful and very easy to make.  Rick has a super easy recipe to follow in Authentic Mexican that calls for a couple of Chipotle Chilies in Adobo Sauce.  I had been buying tiny cans of Chipotles in order to make Tinga on a regular basis.  But it tasted like TIN :P Bleck!  I got to thinking about it and I had to ask myself, why in the hell am I wasting my money?  I special ordered some chipotles chilies from our produce vendor at the Tiangis, picked up the ingredients for the Adobo and trotted on back home.

This is a really easy recipe to follow.  I recommend removing the stems and the seeds from the chilies in preparing your adobo if you plan on using it for Chipotles as I did.  Chipotles are very spicy and you will have plenty of heat from them when you combine the two.  You do not want battling chilies fueled by vinegar in your jar... even if you like really spicy things it is an uncomfortable situation you do not want to be in. When you purchase your chipotles try to order the long ones.  There are two kinds, short and fat and then there are the long ones.  The longer chipotles have more flavor and a touch less heat.  I unfortunately did not specify when I ordered my chilies and ended up with the short fat ones.  It is hardly a husk of chili surrounding the seeds.  I nearly singed my nose hairs off just opening the bag.  I then spent most of the afternoon with gloved hands removing the seeds and stems from these tiny little chilies.

Adobo by Rick Bayless from Authentic Mexican
8 cloves garlic
4 medium dried chiles anchos, cleaned
6 medium dried chiles guajillos, cleaned
1/2 inch cinnamon stick (or 1/2 teaspoon ground)
1 clove (or a pinch ground)
10 black peppercorns (or a scant 1/4 teaspoon ground)
2 large bay leaves, broken up
1/8 teaspoon cumin seeds (or a generous 1/8teaspoon ground)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup cider vinegar

Gathering all the ingredients
To clean chilies (remove the seeds, stems and veins) I like to use my kitchen shears.  I  twist the top and give it a pull, this removes the stem and a good part of the seeds.  Then I cut a slit along the length of the chili to open it up.  From there I can shake out the seeds.  To remove the veins which are the spiciest part of the chili I carefully cut along the vein with the very tip of the shears, sort of dragging them along to pull the vein up and away from the chili.

1).   Toasting the chilies and garlic.  Roast the garlic cloves on a griddle or heavy skillet over medium heat, turning frequently, until blackened in spots and very soft, about 15 minutes.  Remove, cool, skin and roughly chopped.
While the garlic is roasting, tear the chilies into flat pieces and toast them a few at a time:  Use a metal spatula to press them firmly against the hot surface for a few seconds, until they blister, crackle and change color, then flip them over and press them flat to toast the other side.

2).   Soaking the chilies.  Break the chilies into a small bowl, cover with boiling water, weight with a plate to keep submerged and soak 30 minutes.  Drain, tear into smaller pieces, place in a blender jar and add the garlic.

3).   Finishing the adobo.  In a mortar or spice grinder, pulverize the cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves and cumin.  Add to the chiles along with the oregano, thyme, salt, vinegar and 3 tablespoons water.  With a long series of blender pulses, reduce the mixture to a paste:  Run the blender for a few seconds until the mixture clogs, then scrape down the sides with a spatula and stir; repeat a dozen times or more until the mixture is smooth.  Don't add water unless absolutely necessary or this marinating paste won't do its job well.  Strain the paste through  a medium- mesh sieve into a noncorrosive container with a tight-fitting lid.  Cover and refrigerate.

To make the Chipoltes in Adobo.  I added the water from the chilies (instead of straining it).  I needed it runny in order for the chipotles to reconstitute.  I tossed the chipotles in the adobo then packed them into a mason jar.  I let them sit out on the counter until everything had completely cooled.  Then I stored them in the refrigerator.  It took a few days for the chipotles to soak up the adobo.  

Use them to make Tinga or dress up a sandwich or quesadilla.... OR...visit here for another snack inspired treat!

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