- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Imagine one ingredient that’s spicy like a jalapeno chili, smoky like your favorite barbecue sauce and sweet like caramelized onions on the grill. All three flavor notes come together in chipotle chilies.

Although the chipotle chili has long been available, it has just recently started to make an appearance outside Mexican and Tex-Mex cooking. The chipotle (pronounced cheh-POHT-lay) is a large, dried, smoked jalapeno chili. It is usually available prepared in an adobo sauce and sold in tins or jars in the Latin or Hispanic sections of supermarkets.

Now that chipotle chilies have been discovered by food processors, you can find chipotle-flavored Tabasco sauce, chipotle-flavored barbecue sauce and chipotle-flavored salsa.

If you want the chipotle taste in your own cooking, you can find it using chipotle chili flakes or powder, available in your supermarket or in gourmet food stores. One of the newest products to hit the market is Chipotle Pepper Flakes in a jar from Victoria Gourmet Inc. (For more information, visit its Web site, www.vgourmet.com.) Using chipotle chili flakes or powder makes it easy to develop dishes with delicious, complex flavors without expending a lot of effort.

On the heat scale, the chipotle chili is as hot as a jalapeno, although you may notice it less because of the smoky and slightly sweet notes. Use it sparingly, and add more to your preference.

When cooking chipotle chili flakes or powder in a sauce, let the dish simmer or sit for five minutes for the flavors to blend before adding more. In the following recipe, chipotle chili flakes add bold taste to a simple grilled chicken and corn salad.

Grilled chicken and corn salad

2 ears corn, shucked

2 teaspoons olive oil


2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1 garlic clove, smashed

4 teaspoons lime juice

2 tablespoons minced chives

2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves

1 celery rib, trimmed and thinly sliced

Chipotle chili dressing (recipe follows)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Brush each ear of corn with 1 teaspoon oil. Season to taste with salt. Place on grill at medium heat, and grill for 3 minutes per side or until corn colors slightly and feels tender. Remove and cool.

Slice chicken breast halves widthwise in half to make 4 thin fillets. Rub garlic over each fillet, then brush each with 1 teaspoon lime juice. Season lightly with salt. Grill for 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Remove chicken from grill and set aside. To assemble salad, remove corn from cob, scraping into a salad bowl. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces and add to corn. Add chives, spinach and celery. Toss gently but well.

Prepare chipotle chili dressing and pour over salad. Toss gently but well. Sprinkle cilantro over top. Makes 2 servings.


3 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons lime juice

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili flakes

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, chipotle chili flakes, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Stir well and set aside for 5 minutes for flavors to blend.


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