Homemade Chipotles in Adobo

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You know you love them.  Hot.  Spicy.  Flavorful.  There is just no denying this flavor of the southwest.  And if you have access to plenty of vine-ripe tomatoes and chipotles, you too can make chipotles in adobo rather than buying them at the grocery store.

jarred chipotles in adobo sauce

jarred chipotles in adobo sauce

Chipotles in Adobo

  • 14 C. tomatoes, rough chopped
  • 2 C. onions
  • 6 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 oz. or 3 large ancho chiles, dried
  • 1 qt. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 C. black strap molasses
  • 1 C. honey
  • 3 Tbs. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. kosher salt
  • 8 oz. chipotles (about 80 – 85 small dried chipotles)

Remove stems and seeds from ancho chiles.  Discard the stems and seeds.  Place the anchos in a pot and add enough water to cover them by 1/2″.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes (or until the chiles are soft).

cooking down adobo sauce

cooking down adobo sauce

Place chipotles into another pot with enough water to cover them by 1″.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes (or until the chipotles are soft… add more water if needed).   Once chipotles are completely soft, drain the water and set chipotles to the side.

Meanwhile, place everything but the chipotles and anchos into a heavy-bottomed pot.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  When the onions are translucent, add the softened anchos and 1 cup of water they were simmered in.   Transfer contents of pot (the tomato, ancho, onion, and spice mixture) to a large blender and puree (may have to work in batches).  If you have an immersion blender, use that instead.

Add the chipotles to the pureed mixture.  Reduce heat of pot to a bare simmer and cook for approximately 30 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  This length of time is need to reduce the sauce to the desired consistency.  (It should not be so thin that it is soupy, and not so thick that it is like ketchup).

chipotles added to adobo sauce

chipotles added to adobo sauce

Fill half pint sterilized (and still warm) jars with sauce and chipotles (about 6 – 7 per jar), leaving 1/2″ headspace.  Process in a pressure canner for 15 minutes.

Your own chipotles in adobo can be used in a variety of dishes: stews, chilis, enchiladas, salsas, ketchup, deviled eggs (yes… it adds a great spicy heat), and even homemade dips and mayonnaise.  So give it a try.  Homemade chipotles in adobo provides a fantastic flavor that will leave you wanting more.

 

 

Some Like it Hot: Jalapeno Wine

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I love southwestern cuisine.  The complex flavors.  The spiciness.  The heat.   One such item that has those characteristics is the humble jalapeno.  Sure… we love it diced into salsas.  Roasted with a cream cheese filling.  And of course… it is a must in some of the green chilis that we create.  Heck… even pickled, it shines.  But with a bumper crop, we decided to think outside of the box and try something brand new for us.  Jalapeno wine!

Now some of you may be thinking, “Ewww… that would be gross”.  Or, “It would be way too hot to drink”.  But trust me… sometimes the unexpected  can surprise you with a sublime flavor.

The recipe to follow has been adapted from the Jalapeno Wine recipe from Jack Keller at http://winemaking.jackkeller.net.

Jalapeno Wine

  • 48, blemish-free jalapenos
  • 3 boxes (15 oz. each) golden raisins, chopped
  • 6 lbs. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. acid blend
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pectic enzyme
  • 3 gallons water
  • 3 crushed Campden tablet
  • 1 1/2 tsp. yeast nutrient
  • 1 pkg. ( 5 grams) Fruit Wine Yeast (Lalvin 71B-1122)

Wash the jalapenos to remove any dirt or grit.  Put on a pair of gloves and then cut off the stems and slice the peppers length-ways.  If you prefer a wine with less heat, remove the seeds and membrane from the interior of each pepper.  If you like things spicy, leave in most seeds and membrane.  Then do a rough chop of each jalapeno slice.

washing jalapeños

washing jalapeños

Place the chopped jalapenos and raisins into a fine-mesh nylon bag (available at home-brew stores or online).  Tie/close the top of the band and place into the primary fermenting bucket (use a five gallon bucket to give yourself plenty of room).

Add remaining ingredients in the order listed, except for the pectic enzyme and yeast.  Stir to thoroughly combine and to dissolve the sugar.  Place lid on fermenting bucket with air lock and let set for 12 hours.

airlock

airlock

After 12 hours, add the pectic enzyme to the fermenting bucket.  Let set for 12 more hours.  Next, add the yeast.

Stir the mixture daily for the next seven days.  Wearing rubber gloves, reach into the bucket and squeeze the nylon bag (this helps extract juice/flavor from the jalapenos and the raisins).

On day eight, remove the nylon bag.  Then transfer the liquid to a carboy (secondary fermenting container) and fit with an airlock.  Allow the liquid to remain in the carboy for 45 – 60 days.  Then transfer the liquid (leaving behind any sediment) to another carboy with airlock.  Allow to set for 30 days and then repeat the transfer process into another clean carboy with airlock twice more.  Each time, leave any sediment behind.  You should notice at this point that the wine is becoming less cloudy.  After the final 30 days is up, you may transfer into wine bottles and cork.

jalapeno wine in carboy

jalapeno wine in carboy

NOTE: for the recipe, raisins are used to provide tannin.  You may let the wine age or open a bottle to enjoy.

The wine will have a light straw color.  There will also be some heat in the wine, so please don’t expect this to taste like a Chardonnay.

This wine will pair nicely with southwestern cuisine and will even make a nice sipping beverage similar to a cordial.

Top 12 Reasons to Toss Home Canned Goods

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As home canners, we are proud of what we preserve.  A pantry full of home canned goods makes us feel as though we have done our job by providing for our family.  Rows of jams, pickles, tomatoes,  salsas, sauces, chutneys sparkle on the shelves, enticing us to open them up for special dinners.  We carefully select firm, ripe produce.  Check out jars for any nicks or chips.  And we check the processing charts to make sure that regardless of water bath or pressure canning, items are preserved for the correct length of time given our elevation.

But as we thumb through cook books for the perfect recipe or do our research for proper techniques, how much information is out there regarding when it is time to toss our canned goods?  Even in the most organization kitchen, sometimes a jar gets pushed to the back where it is forgotten.   It doesn’t matter if you have a modern kitchen with state of the art appliances or in a humble homestead kitchen or somewhere in between… some preserved goods can fall through the cracks and we end up finding them when they are well past their prime.

One document that is available online is by the National Center for Home Food Preservation and is listed under their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section.  This document goes on to say, “…it is recommended that all home-canned foods be used within a year”.  That is pretty sound advice although some of us may have a few items that are a little older… pushing three years or perhaps even five.  NOTE: this is does not mean that you cannot eat canned goods that are older than one year old.  Though the flavor and nutritional value will be diminished compared to just-canned food.

very old canned food

very old canned food

There are some common sense clues when it comes to tossing out canned goods.  The following list gives you an overview of what to keep in mind.

Top 12 Reasons to Toss Canned Goods

  1.  a newly opened jar has mold on the inside
  2.  a newly opened jar has an odd aroma
  3.  a jar spurts contents when opened
  4.  the seal of the jar is broken and no longer airtight
  5.  there is a crack in the jar
  6.  the lid is bulged
  7.  the lid is rusty
  8.  the jar is leaking
  9.  the contents have shriveled into a small mass at the bottom of the jar
  10. the contents of a jar look abnormal
  11. if you suspect the contents are contaminated with the botulinum toxin
  12. if the contents of the jar are dried and there should be a liquid or sauce in the jar

Please, do not taste the contents of a jar if you are uncertain if they are safe to eat.  This could unnecessarily put your health at risk.

shriveled canned food

shriveled canned food

While most online resources agree on consuming canned goods within a year of when they were made, there is no hard and fast rule for how old canned goods must be before they are thrown out.  In cases like this, remember the adage, “If in doubt, toss it out”.

As a home canner, I confess to having a few jars of canned goods that I missed on the bottom shelf.  But even though I am confident in my canning, the very old canned contents will be disposed of rather than eaten.

Enjoy your canned goods in a timely fashion.  With all the work that you put into canning, you should enjoy them on your table.  Before you open a jar, refer to the list of reasons to toss out canned goods.  Your health is far more important than eating something suspicious looking.