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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Chipotle Off the Old Block

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But what if it gives you jalapenos & tomatoes?

Our garden was quite successful this year, and at the end of September we found ourselves with a plethora of jalapenos and tomatoes. The tomatoes are pretty easy to deal with. We usually just roast them with some olive oil and herbs, and then freeze the resulting sauce. It's a great way to enjoy the flavours of summer all year long.

Jalapenos however don't freeze so well. To sort out this little dilemma I turned (as I often do) to my smokers. Chipotle peppers are smoked jalapenos ... and as I had both smokers and peppers I took a shot at making one of my favorite Latino ingredients.  The peppers were halved and seeded, and then placed face down on the smoker racks. I also had a few leftover tomatoes and some space on the racks ... smoked tomato sauce anyone?

The smokers were kept at a constant 180°F using lump charcoal and French Oak. Tomatoes are done when the pulp is soft enough to easily squeeze out of the skins . I took the resulting pulp, and reduced it with chicken stock and white wine ...

... and served it with some home-made pasta. Easily the best pasta sauce I have in my recipe collection.

The chipotle took a bit longer since they're being dried as well as smoked. The finished product is beautiful just to look at ... the fire engine red of the jalapenos now turned to a deep black-burgundy from the smoke. I haven't cooked with these chipotle yet, but they will find their way into the rubs and sauces I'll use next smoking season.

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