I can’t quite remember at what point chipotles entered my awareness. Certainly, I didn’t taste them before I came to the United States. Now, I am convinced they make everything taste better, from mac and cheese to hummus and even chocolate truffles.
Chipotles are none other than smoke-dried jalapeños. As chilis go, they are not extremely hot, just the right amount of burn in your mouth. And then there is the smokiness, their distinguishing trait, that imparts an unmistakable flavor to anything they touch.
Chipotle peppers come in small, inexpensive cans that last forever, because a bit goes a long way. Once I open the can, I transfer them to a jar that will live in the back of my refrigerator and will be retrieved every time I run out of ideas on how to flavor a particular dish. Last night, for instance, I had roasted some sweet potatoes – not one of my favorite starches but very popular in my household – and I decided to mash them and add chipotles to them. Voila: from boring roasted potato to a delicious side dish I could probably subsist on.
If you live in a country where chipotles might be hard to come by, it is worth seeking them out: you will need a small can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.
Cut the potatoes in half and spoon out the flesh, placing it in a saucepan. Mash it with a fork or a potato masher. Add a couple of knobs of butter, about a glass of milk, salt and pepper, and half a teaspoon of chipotle peppers. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon and taste. Adjust by adding more chipotle if you like it spicier. Serve immediately.