Hot Hot Heat

chipotles-pair.jpgWell, as figured, no one posted a question about food, ingredients or tonight’s dinner. That’s fine – I know there are questions out there and so what I want to write about today is a common ingredient that we hear everywhere now. Chipotle! How many of you have heard Chipotle grilled fajitas, Chicken with a sweet chipotle sauce, Chipotle Habanero salsa. It goes on and on. I don’t know if chipotles are really that fantastic, or if the food industry and namely, chain restaurants, figured that it sounded cool and you, the consumer, would more likely order something featuring an ingredient foreign to you. This is a very simple post. None of you foodies can get annoyed – like I said before – these series of posts are for those who rarely cook, but would like to know more in general about food and cooking.

Chipotles are smoked dried jalapenos. When growers pick jalapenos, they save the best looking green ones for market. The jalapenos that have turned red are left in the field to stay on the vine as long as possible, then are taken up to be made into chipotles. The peppers are smoked and dried and packaged! It usually takes 10 pounds of fresh jalapenos to make one pound of chipotles.

The other popular name you might hear a lot when making various Mexican food recipes is Adobo. Adobo is a meat marinade made with various ingredients like Mexican Oregano, Cinnamon, Cumin, Cloves, Chilis (dried variations), vinegar, orange zest, and tomato paste. Chipotles soaked in Adobo sauce is quite popular and we’ve made recipes calling for that specifically, several times.

This is a recipe Matt made last 4th of July that had chipotles in the sauce for the chicken and it was amazing:


Grilled Chipotle-Lime Chicken Breasts on a Charcoal Grill*

1 teaspoon  minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce 
7 teaspoons  fresh lime juice 
6 tablespoons  olive oil 
1 tablespoon  minced fresh cilantro leaves 
1 1/4 teaspoons  sugar 
  Table salt and ground black pepper 
3 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons  water 
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 to 8 ounces each), trimmed of excess fat
  Vegetable oil for grill rack 
  Large disposable aluminum baking pan (13 by 9-inch)

1. Whisk together chili, 4 teaspoons lime juice, 3 tablespoons olive oil, cilantro, 1/4 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in small bowl; set aside.

2. Whisk together remaining tablespoon lime juice, remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, remaining teaspoon sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, garlic, and water in medium bowl. Place marinade and chicken in gallon-size zipper-lock bag and toss to coat; press out as much air as possible and seal bag. Refrigerate 30 minutes, flipping bag after 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, light large chimney starter filled with charcoal (6 quarts, or about 100 briquettes) and allow to burn until coals are fully ignited and partially covered with thin layer of ash, about 20 minutes. Build modified two-level fire by arranging all coals over half of grill, leaving other half empty. Position cooking grate over coals, cover grill, and heat grate until hot, about 5 minutes; scrape grate clean with grill brush. Dip wad of paper towels in oil; holding wad with tongs, wipe cooking grate. Grill is ready when side with coals is medium-hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above grate for 3 to 4 seconds).

4. Remove chicken from bag, allowing excess marinade to drip off. Place chicken on cooler side of grill, smooth-side down, with thicker side facing coals. Cover with disposable pan and cook until bottom of chicken just begins to develop light grill marks and is no longer translucent, 6 to 9 minutes. Using tongs, flip chicken and rotate so that thinner side faces coals. Cover with disposable pan and continue to cook until chicken is opaque and firm to touch and instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 140 degrees, 6 to 9 minutes longer.

5. Move chicken to hotter side of grill and cook, uncovered, until dark grill marks appear, 1 to 2 minutes. Using tongs, flip chicken and cook until dark grill marks appear and instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 160 degrees, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to cutting board, let rest, tented with foil, 5 minutes. Slice each breast on bias into 1/4-inch-thick slices and transfer to individual plates. Drizzle with reserved sauce and serve.

*recipe courtesy of Cook’s Illustrated



Filed under Food Stuffs, Tips and Tricks

4 responses to “Hot Hot Heat

  1. Libby

    I may not have asked a question, but I love the info…you are too cool:) That baked ziti recipe looks yummy too, you think I could omit the spinach (Too much greenage for Kyle)? Would there be something else I should put in?

  2. Well, actually, the spinach is hard to really detect. You could always cut the spinach portion in half. However, you don’t need it for the recipe to work – if he likes other veggies, add whatever you think sounds good. Like maybe squash? That would be yummy – or eggplant? anything like that you could just cube up and it would soften while baking.

  3. I agree with Libby, the ziti sounds delicious. I’m going to try to cook this summer. It’s nice to try new things, you know. Is there a good substitute for cilantro or can I leave it out of recipes? I loathe it, but it’s an ingredient in a lot of things that otherwise sound yummy.

  4. Tiff,

    Sadly, there is no substitute for the bright, citrusy taste of cilantro, but an Italian flat-leaf parsley has a bright flavor as well, but without that harshness you probably don’t like from cilantro. You can get flat-leaf parsley at most grocery stores in the fresh produce section. Always always go for fresh herbs – not dried!!!

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