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Make Your Own Chipotles in Adobo

By Cook's Illustrated Published November 2010

Instead of wasting most of the can, make your own.

Chipotles in adobo (dried smoked jalapeño peppers reconstituted in a vinegar-and-tomato-based sauce) add smoke, heat, and a tangy edge to Latin and Tex-Mex dishes, but you rarely need to use the whole can. Instead of leaving the leftovers to mold in the back of the fridge, we came up with an easy mock version that delivers the same flavors—and allows you to make only as much as you need. For each whole chipotle chile called for in a recipe, combine ¾ teaspoon chipotle powder (now widely available in supermarkets) with ¼ teaspoon red wine vinegar and ¼ teaspoon tomato paste. For every teaspoon of adobo sauce, combine 1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder with ½ teaspoon vinegar and ½ teaspoon tomato paste. When we compared these formulations to the real thing in chipotle mayonnaise, seared shrimp with chipotle-lime glaze, and sloppy “Josés” (a Tex-Mex version of sloppy Joes), we found they added comparably smoky, spicy flavor.