Once in a while I need to kick things up a notch.
Is that an Emeril line? Oh boy. I’m sorry.
Jalepenos don’t cut it for me. Cayenne peppers? Nah. Chipotle peppers? They’ll kill you in large quantities. But they’re the kind of kick that’s worth it.
Here’s the rub: they actually are jalepenos. Just smoked. And somehow, more spicy. And, in this case, marinated in a lovely sauce. Even this pint-sized (well, not really–7 ounces is far less than a pint) container can pack a major whallop if not handled carefully. But done right, chipotle peppers can give any dish a smoky, intensely spicy flavor. It’s not the acute, burn-your-mouth type of spice you get from chipotle’s mom, but a rather delightfully subtle spice that gives your tongue a tingle.
So how to use these suckers? First, locate them on the Hispanic food aisle. They’re usually next to the enchilada sauce. Next, dump them into a small food processor or blender. A large Cuisinart type of food processor won’t work simply because there isn’t enough volume coming out of that little can to reach the blade.
Blend for a long time. At least 3-4 minutes, pausing once in a while to scrape the sides and get every little bit incorporated. We don’t want any chunks or seeds left whole–they’ll kill you.
Oh, and a word of warning: don’t inhale directly over the food processor. Wash your hands a lot if you’ve touched the stuff. And when it comes time to wash out the blender/food processor, use lukewarm–not hot–water. Hot water will create a chipotle steam that will kill you and you will die.
Next, pick what you want to spice up. Today I’m using sour cream to create a dipping sauce for some lovely little apps.
Add a tiny, tiny bit at a time. For this 24 ounce container of sour cream, I started with one tablespoon. Adapt accordingly for whatever quantity of sauce you’re making.
Mix well. Give it a taste. Too subtle? Add a 1/2 teaspoon more at a time, mixing well after each addition. Too strong? Well, you won’t die all at once. It will be a slow, spicy, painfully long death.
Once you’ve got the right amount of kick you’re all done! Easy, wasn’t it? The beauty of chipotle is that it’s super simple to add to anything: barbecue sauce, enchilada sauce, meat marinade, mayo, salsa, guac, beans…the possibilities are endless. Get creative with it. Do a chipotle dance. No one is watching.
And, on another note, here is my favorite sour cream trick (apparently today I needed a lot of sour cream in my life–go figure): taco seasoning. Yes. Taco. Seasoning. Sounds totally weird and yet totally intuitive at the same time, right? Add one packet of taco seasoning to your container of sour cream and you’ve got a tangy dip that goes great over tacos, nachos, enchiladas–you name it.
I learned this trick from my dear friend Shannon who used it to top her Grandmother Joby’s seven-layer dip. She would make it when we were out at her family’s beach cabin in the summer as teenagers. We inhaled pans of the stuff. Never mind that we were drunk on stolen Miller High Life’s. It was, inebriation aside, a kick butt recipe, topped with this delicious sour cream.
Well, I’m off to tackle a pile of laundry the size of Greenlake. Have a wonderful Wednesday and stay tuned later on today for a mouth-watering prime rib recipe. Make chipotle-something this week. Just don’t die.