Why You Need Canned Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce In Your Pantry

If you like your pantry staples with a little heat, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are a surefire necessity. Not many products can boast the kind of culinary range these smoked jalapeños in a rich, flavorful, tomato sauce have to offer. They can be chopped up and added to sandwiches or tacos as a delicious topper, pureed to help boost the flavor profile of black bean soup, or used as a part of a marinade for a variety of meats and cooking techniques. If you're a vegetarian, it can add a savory meatiness (without any meat) to whatever recipe you toss it into.

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Don't be put off by the prune-like looks of the peppers when you open a can. They are soft and juicy and offer a spicy, garlicky, smoky, and tangy pop to your dishes. Some cooks even buy canned chipotles just for the adobo sauce. Additionally, because they pack a good amount of heat, a little can go a long way. You can stretch out a single can over multiple recipes, making for an economical addition to your meals, especially since a 7-ounce package typically only costs a few dollars.

What exactly are chipotle peppers in adobo sauce?

Chipotle peppers are jalapeños that have been vine-ripened until they turn red. They're then smoked until completely dry. For this canned product, they're reconstituted and added to adobo sauce. This sauce has a history going back hundreds of years to when the Spanish colonizers subjugated Mexico. Mexican adobo combines traditional Spanish cooking techniques with New World ingredients, including peppers, tomatoes, vinegar, garlic, onions, Mexican oregano, and other various spices.

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There are several companies that make this product, which can often be found in your grocery store's Hispanic food section. If you don't use the entire can, they'll last for a few weeks in the fridge. Or, take a page from celebrity cook Rachael Ray, who has a genius tip for saving chipotles canned in adobo. She suggests pureeing what you haven't used and storing it in freezer bags for future use. You can also put the pureed peppers into ice cube trays for an easy-to-grab addition to whatever you're cooking, especially if it's Mexican or Tex-Mex.

How to use chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce can be used in a myriad of different dishes, from soups and stews to barbecue sauce. For instance, they're an important ingredient in our smoky sweet barbecue beer short ribs recipe, adding a richness and tang to this dish that's cooked low and slow in the oven. They're also the key to our easy slow cooker spicy turkey chili. You can even puree the peppers for a simple but super tasty dip by mixing them into sour cream, mayo, and shredded cheese. Have fun and experiment with this smoky, tangy, spicy canned Mexican treat with a storied history.

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If you're wary of spicy foods, you can still get a lot of use out of this product. Most of the heat comes from the chipotle peppers themselves so consider starting with just one small pepper per recipe. Over time you'll be able to get a handle on the spice levels of the peppers and find the balance you're most comfortable with. You could also scrape out the peppers' seeds since they tend to pack the most heat. Or just use the adobo sauce on its own in dishes like birria: The adobo sauce gives this traditional Mexican stew that doubles as a taco filling an unequalled depth of flavor. So, make some room in your pantry for chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and relish the spicy, savory flavor they bring to your cooking.

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