This is a simple way how to cook chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. The chipotle, revered as an eye-watering, smoked jalapeno, takes on a whole new dimension when immersed in the sweet-hot tang of adobo, or barbecue sauce.
This recipe calls for smoking 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of jalapeno chilies to yield about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds (500 to 700 g) of chipotles. You’ll want to process them in half-pint or pint (0.25 to 0.5 L) jars, remembering that a chipotle or two provides the seasoning for an entire batch of enchiladas or a pot of chili.
You need fresh jalapeno peppers, white distilled vinegar, salt, light brown sugar, cumin, marjoram, cinnamon, garlic, cloves.
Smoke the Peppers
This is how to cook chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. However, if you just want to use the chipotles alone, smoke the peppers, allow them to cool, and place them in air-tight plastic bags or containers to store in your pantry for future use.
First, you need to smoke the peppers. In Mexico, jalapenos are traditionally smoked on a rack above a fiery pit, which serves as a point of convergence for underground tunnels that direct air to the fire. This casts clouds of billowing smoke upward, which greets the chilies as they are roasting away. Since the fire is neither high nor extremely hot, the process of smoking is mellow, steady, and time-consuming.
Barring access to a fire pit, smoke the jalapenos with a meat smoker or kettle grill. Select plump, moist jalapenos for best results. Be sure that your grill is thoroughly clean and free from any particles of meat or other grilled food prior to smoking the chipotles. Any residue from previously cooked food will waft into your chilies and change their flavor.
Smoke the jalapenos for chipotle peppers in adobo sauce over a wood fire. Be selective about the type of wood-smoked flavor you choose. Fruit-tree wood, as well as hardwood, such as oak, pecan, and hickory, create wonderful smoked flavors.
Place two small mounds of charcoal briquettes on either side of the base of the grill. Soak the wood in water before placing it on the coals. The intent here is to create a steady, ongoing path of heat and smoke without high flame. If necessary, open or adjust the vents at the base of the grill for additional ventilation.
While the coals are heating, wash the jalapenos, remove the stems, and pat dry. Discard any peppers with nicks, scratches, or bruises. Place the jalapenos on a mesh rack and allow them to smoke until they are dark brown, shriveled, and somewhat hard.
Discard any peppers that look badly charred. Depending on the humidity of your climate, the smoking process can take 8 to 12 hours, or perhaps more. Once your peppers are smoked, they become chipotles, ready for adobo or barbecue sauce.
Transfer them from the grill to a large pan, and set aside.
Make the Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
Place the vinegar, salt, sugar, cumin, marjoram, cinnamon, garlic, and cloves in a food processor or blender. Pulse until the ingredients form a smooth sauce. Transfer the sauce to a medium saucepan.
Bring the ingredients to a boil, reduce the heat, and allow the sauce to simmer for 5 minutes. Add the chipotles and blend, making sure the sauce coats all of the peppers.
Pack the hot chipotles in sauce into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch for the headroom. Use a bubble freer to release any excess air. Process for 20 minutes in a hot-water bath. Remove the jars from the bath and allow it to cool in a draft-free area before storing it.