Chipotles in adobo are smoked and dried jalapeños rehydrated and canned in a sweet and tangy purée of tomato, vinegar, garlic, and some other spices, for a ruddy sauce that packs wicked heat but with plenty of balance and body. They’re complex enough to use as a solo seasoning but friendly enough to play well with others—more chilies, fresh herbs, honey, vinegar, dairy, you name it.
SAUCES AND CONDIMENTS
Eat adobo sauce straight from the can, but it takes well to dilution with fat and sugar. Mix it with mayo and sour cream for a subtly smoky crema to drizzle over tacos, or use it to spice up ketchup with bittersweet orange juice.
BRAISES AND CHILI
You want deeply flavored, smoky, and rich real-deal Texas chili? Chipotles are the answer. They also add incredible depth to braises like barbacoa and chicken tinga, both of which are ready taco fodder.
SOUP AND BEANS
Chipotles add meaty depth to meatless cooking, and I love how their smoky intensity plays with earthy beans. Throw them into some lazy black beans or use them to amp up vegan refried beans. Or add a couple to gild the lily on this black bean soup with tender chicken and fatty Spanish chorizo.
SANDWICHES AND TACOS
Chipotles are essential to a proper cemita and great on a shrimp and cheese torta. And they’re killer with egg sandwiches, here blended into guacamole or mayo. And let’s not forget about tacos; fry up some Mexican chorizo and add chipotle for an extra jolt of spice.
MARINADE AND GLAZES
If you’re grilling or roasting, chipotles pull double duty as both marinade and glaze. Try this smoky-sweet pork loin with orange and brown sugar, or these pork ribs, where the chipotle’s intensity is mellowed out by apricots.