Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Jalapeno - Chipotle; same chile, different adventures.

The Jalapeno is a small green chile pepper, but as it ages it turns a deep red color. Jalapenos are popular in Southwestern and Mexican cuisines where they can be incorporated into dishes, or be the main element themselves. This chile pepper can be stored in many way; air-dried then crushed or ground, frozen or smoke-dried(giving it the name "chipotle"). Once smoke-dried, the chipotle can be ground into a powder or stored in adobo sauce; then used to intensify the flavoring and seasoning heat of any dish.

With the 4th of July holiday coming up, barbeques and picnics are the popular choices of meal service. I have my own tried and true rubs, marinades and barbeque sauce, but play time called to me...and I just happened to have a small can of chipotle in adobo sauce. However, I just didn't want to develop a sauce that was spicy and nothing much else to it. One sauce I enjoy is a sweet and spicy Thai chili sauce, so I decided to follow that road.

Instead of using a rub, I covered six boneless, skinless chicken breast halves with one cup of the Chipotle Citrus Sauce; covered the bowl they were in with plastic wrap, and let them sit overnight in the refrigerator. After oiling up the grill, I let it heat up to a low setting (200F, and it reached 250F maximum during cooking). The chicken cooked on one side for about 5-7 minutes (depending on thickness), and 5-7 minutes the other side; brushed with more of the sauce.

The spiciness was equal to a medium heat, and it, and the flavoring reached all the way thoroughout the chicken, not just on the surface. I did cook a few other items on the grill at the low setting, and they came out wonderful: river trout (seasoned with dill, salt and lemon), beer brats, baby back ribs with a Kansas City style rub and barbeque sauce,  but I just want to focus this post on the chicken and the Chipotle Citrus Sauce.

The holiday weekend is just around the corner, so get those sauces simmering....and play with your seasoning!!!

Chipotle Citrus Sauce
This sauce does double duty as a marinade and a barbeque sauce.
½ cup water
¼ cup each lime and orange juices
1 cup tomato puree
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
3 minced chipotle chilies in adobo sauce (add more if more spice heat desired)
1 tsp each of salt, ground cumin, crushed dried Mexican oregano and minced garlic
½ tsp ground black pepper
In a large saucepan, medium-high heat, mix together all ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes; sauce will thicken.  If it becomes too thick add a tablespoon of water until desired consistency is reached.
Makes 2 cups.
Mary Cokenour

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