Chipotle peppers are dried, smoked jalapenos and they're a staple of Latin American cooking. They're most often sold canned in adobo, a tangy, slightly sweet sauce. You can purchase dried chipotles in the spice section of most major grocery stores or at specialty Latin food markets. If you've got an abundance of fresh jalapenos and a smoker, you can try your hand at smoking the peppers yourself.
Remove the stems from the dried chipotle peppers and slice them lengthwise.
Combine the chipotles and equal parts ketchup and vinegar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. You can use store-bought ketchup, or use your own homemade version if you're feeling ambitious. Apple cider vinegar, distilled white vinegar, rice vinegar or white wine vinegar are all suitable, depending on your preference. You'll need about 1/4 cup each of ketchup and vinegar for every 6 medium chipotles, but you may need to use up to 1/2 cup if the peppers are on the larger side.
Add 1 clove minced of garlic for every 2 medium peppers to the saucepan. Season the mixture with salt and dried spices like cumin, oregano, thyme or coriander. Use about 1/2 teaspoon of each for every 1/4 cup of ketchup in the mixture.
Simmer the mixture, uncovered, until the mixture reduces and resembles a thick sauce, about 1 hour. Check the sauce periodically to ensure that it doesn't boil.
Transfer the sauce and peppers to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator up to one week. For longer storage, place the peppers with a bit of sauce in a few separate freezer-safe, zip-top bags. Keep the chipotles in the freezer and thaw a bag as the need arises. Chipotle peppers in adobo, stored consistently below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, will keep indefinitely.
- For a smoother sauce, allow the contents of the saucepan to cool and place them in a food processor or blender.
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