Woke up around 6:30 a.m. this Wednesday morning, December 2, 2010, and was inspired to whip up a batch of pickled chipotles (courtesy of Rick Bayless). Isn’t this what everybody does when they wake up in the morning? This condiment is made with morita chile peppers, which are smoke-dried jalapenos, and has a nice balance of heat, sweetness (from the brown sugar), tanginess, and saltiness. You can buy canned chipotles in adobo sauce (made from chiles, tomatoes, and garlic), but these guys have a depth of flavor that keeps you coming back for more.

There are two types of chipotles, the reddish-purple morita and the tan/coffee-colored ahumado (aka chile meco). While this condiment is traditionally made with the morita variety, you can substitute chile mecos.

The pickled chipotles will be a nice addition to the fish tacos that I intend to make in the coming days — after the flavors marinate for a few days. Pickled chipotles are, not surprisingly, also great in sandwiches, eggs, sauteed vegetables (such as broccoli), or simply eaten on their own (watch out, they are ADDICTIVE). This recipe is a snap to make and will last a few weeks in the refrigerator (that is, if there are any left after a day or two).



Chipotles en Escabeche

4 ounces morita peppers
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
4 sprigs of thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
4 sprigs of marjoram (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
3 bay leaves
1 medium white onion, slice 1/4 inch thick
1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and halved
Kosher salt, about 2 teaspoons

Place chiles in a a small to medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to a rolling boil. Drain the water, cover with warm tap water, and lay a small plate on top of the chiles to keep them submerged for 10 minutes. Drain, cover again with warm water, lay the plate on top, and let stand another 10 minutes. Drain off most of the water. Transfer to a jar.

In the saucepan, combine all remaining ingredients with 1 1/4 cups of water. Bring to a gentle simmer and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour the hot liquid over the chiles. The liquid should completely submerge the chiles. If there’s not enough liquid to cover the chiles, add equal parts water and cider vinegar. Cover and refrigerate a day or more before serving.

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