Chipotles are smoked jalapeños, but somewhat different than the usual jalapeño you'd buy at the store. Green jalapeños are picked when the pepper is slightly unripe; like bell peppers, the longer a jalapeño stays on the vine, the more its color deepens from green to red. So jalapeños meant for chipotles are left on the vine until they become deep red in color, then dry a bit, and are finally harvested. Once they are harvested, they are smoked over a period of days until they are quite dry, like a prune. Then, they go on to many different forms—the one I prefer being canned chipotle in adobo, where the peppers are packed and rehydrated in a vinegar-based sauce with onions and flavorings, that becomes a secret ingredient all on its own.
Chipotles can be used in all sorts of complicated dishes, slow cooking with pork, or co-chairing a guacamole with avocados. But one simple preparation that I often see on haute-casual brunch menus is chipotle ketchup, served simply with fries. The smoky, earthy spiciness of the chipotles add some heat to the ketchup, but the adobo, with its similar spices and vinegar content to ketchup, adds an extra element while still staying in the vein of the original ketchup. The result is something seamless that simply works.
About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way. She also writes the French in a Flash series for Serious Eats.
- 1 14-ounce bottle of ketchup
- 2 chipotles in adobo
- 1 tablespoons adobo
Put all the ingredients in the blender, and whiz until smooth. Serve with fries.