When I want to add a hit of hot, smoky flavor to my cooking, I like to reach for a can of chipotle chiles en adobo. Chipotles are dried, smoked jalapeños. Adobo is a tangy, slightly sweet red sauce. Put them together in a can and they become a versatile pantry staple. You can use just the chipotles for intense smoky chile heat or just the sauce if you want a sour-sweet flavor and a slightly less fiery smoky heat. Or you can use them together, as in our recipe for Warm Black Bean & Chipotle Dip.
Where to find:
Any Mexican or Latin food market will have them, and many supermarkets carry chipotles en adobo in their Mexican food sections, or look online at EthnicGrocer.com ($2.99 for 7-oz. can).
How to use:
The chipotles are soft and ready to go straight from the can. They can be quite spicy, but you can temper the heat a bit by scraping out the seeds. The size of chipotles often varies, so if a recipe calls for two chipotles and you choose the biggest one, you might want to use just one.