Pseudo Sriracha-Chipotle Chili Paste

Note: Just in case you don’t fully read through this post and come to conclusions, what I’m about to talk about has nothing to do with cuisine in Argentina.

One market that I frequent had a huge crate of ripe red jalapeños and, when I saw them, I instantly knew some sort of chipotle experiment needed to go down. The smoker still needs some modifications for heat control so attempting to fully dry peppers is just not a great option at this time. I did, however, want to see if I could at least cheat and get close to recreating that famous chipotle taste. Few hours in the smoker might just do that, I thought.

Each jalapeño received one slice down the side to allow the smoke to seep in while the smoker fired up to 140º F (60º C). The temperature bounced around a bit during the whole ordeal but that was expected. At four hours, the peppers were nicely wrinkled, with a decent amount of moisture, and for me that looked good enough. The skins refused to come off but I scraped away the seeds. What next? Hand blender with a little apple cider vinegar. Wow, really thick. A little more vinegar. Whoa, this is starting to look like sriracha sauce. Taste? Not chipotle, kind of close though, but more along the lines of pureed roasted red peppers with hints of fresh jalapeño. Oh, and LOTS of smoky flavor. Tabasco-level spiciness. After I added some salt and a clove of garlic, it was actually starting to lean toward sriracha but with an added smoky flavor. I added a good amount of vinegar but you could hardly tell it was there. Done!

Homemade Chili Paste

Overall this chili paste is outstanding. Even after a two days, I’m amazed at how well it continues to hold itself together–meaning no separation. Next time I might add a little more garlic to raise the pungency level but I am quite pleased with it as is. Works wonders as a dipping sauce for meats.

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