Adobo Sauce = Winter antidote

December 6th, 2008    •  by Bethia    •   No Comments »

I first used chipotle peppers in adobo sauce last weekend for Heidi Swanson’s baby lima bean soup. I think they are wonderful and can’t get enough of their smoky heat. I am planning to make the soup again tomorrow with just chick peas but in the meantime I was on the look out for other recipes and ideas for using them. 

Peter Berley is my go to man at the moment. I love his recipes – every one has been a winner. Every time I make something from Fresh Food Fast, I see at least another couple that I want to make. I love that they are so seasonal; that he uses ingredients that I have from the market; that the recipes are well written and simple to follow and I think the format is great. He organizes his recipes into seasonal menus, each with a shopping list, equipment needed and a game plan. The photos are definitely enticing too. 

This week I made four dishes from the book although I did take liberties with one of them. They were: braised pinto beans with delicata squash, red wine and tomatoes; picadillo; roasted winter squash with curry butter and apple cider and chipotle roasted potatoes. Luckily two of them contained by newly beloved peppers in adobo sauce. 

The braised pinto beans with squash, red wine and tomatoes was a very easy recipe and I was pleased to find a use for my frozen sage. I actually used my seminole pumpkin instead of delicata squash, but I think it was a good substitute. The other change I made was that the recipe called for a 14oz can of tomatoes and I had a larger one, but I threw it all in anyway, so my stew was a little more liquidy, although I tried reducing it more at the end. I made it in advance and it reheated well and has made great leftovers.  

Basically: sauté onion and salt for 5 minutes, add garlic and pumpkin and sauté a minute more. Add a can of pinto beans with their liquid, a can of tomatoes, a third of a cup of red wine, a chipotle pepper with some of its adobo sauce and some fresh sage and black pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes covered and then uncover and simmer a couple more minutes. Berley suggests serving it with arepas and picadillo. We had baked sweet potatoes and an improvisation of the picadillo.img_1438

Berley’s picadillo is a spicy salad of cabbage, carrots, red pepper, radishes, scallions and cilantro in a lime juice, jalapeño, brown sugar and garlicky dressing. Mine was cabbage, blanched according to his directions and daikon, red radishes and the lime dressing. Probably next time I would reduce the amount of jalapeño, or take out the seeds as it packed quite a punch. The salad was very refreshing though and my dinner guest described it as a ‘flavor explosion’. I think a little too explosive. I used a cabbage from Elizabeth Telling that I had been hoarding for a while. 

The chipotle potatoes and the curried candied squash were served at dinner together. I chopped up some spicy italian lamb sausages into the potatoes before I cooked them and realized that almost the whole meal came from Toad Hill Farm: the lamb sausages, squash and the potatoes. Peter Berley has these dishes on different menus, but they bake at the same temperature and with some green salad and red wine, they made a delicious and hearty meal. 

The candied squash were a great success and we decided that the same marinade would work really well for making caramelized spicy nuts. I think you could use any type of winter squash except spaghetti, this time I used carnival dumpling squash. The squash was succulent but not mushy, the cider and sugar caramelized, but were not overly sweet and there was some heat and fragrance from the curry powder, without a strong taste of curry.

3 Tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of brown sugar (ideally unrefined)
1 tablespoon hot curry powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 lbs winter squash, peeled if necessary and cut into 2 inch chunks
1 cup apple cider.

Preheat oven to 450°F . Select a casserole dish or skillet large enough to hold the squash in a single layer. Melt the butter in the casserole , add the brown sugar, curry powder and salt and cook until the butter melts. Add the squash and toss to coat. Gradually pour the cider down the side of the pan without pouring it directly over the squash. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Transfer the casserole to the oven and roast for 30 minutes, basting half way through. It is done when the squash is tender.


I used the heirloom potatoes that I bought at the market a couple of weeks ago (all blue (blue flesh and skin), huckleberry (red flesh and skin), russian banana and french fingerling). You can see how beautiful they are:


 The potatoes are steamed for 8-10 minutes, coated in a marinade made of freshly ground cumin seeds, sweet paprika, garlic, salt, chipotles in adobo sauce (there they are again!), olive oil, lemon juice and thyme leaves and then roasted at 450°F for 15 minutes, or until tender.


This week, apart from delicious leftovers, I have also been eating zucchini bread defrosted from the freezer. It always amazes me how well it freezes. Perfectly moist – you would never know it was made a couple of months ago. I have also been enjoying my two silos eggs. The yolks are amazing – huge and vibrant orange, great as soft boiled eggs or an omelette.

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