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Chipotle Taste Without The Heat In Dressings, Dips, and Sauces

d
DawnT Jan 27, 2012 03:31 PM

This has been a vexing conundrum over the years. Virtually every recipe that you see for dressings,dips,or sauces calls for so many chipotle peppers with adobo sauce pureed or incorporated in the recipe and blended. The ultimate problem is when you have a sufficent smokey chipotle taste, you have too much heat for most people. I've ran into this problem with BBQ sauce, Chipotle Ranch that we used on our wraps and dipping sauces, and also for a short time when Chipotle Mayo was popular. I've looked at countless recipes both home and foodservice and they pretty much look the same with no clue about raising the taste signature while reducing heat. This isn't my palate alone, but those of others too that have complained about the heat and point out that commercial sauces used in the chains aren't hot. Apparently, dressing and dip manufactuers must have access to some special chipotle flavoring or products, but none list it as an extract or flavoring like they would a paprika oleoresin.

I've tried several dry, ground Chipotle pepper powders. Same heat/taste ratio and noticeable red speckling in the sauces. I've also tried bottle sauces like Cholulu and Tabasco's Chipotle. Those do give the uniform pink color without a particulate in the sauces like commercial products, but the excessive heat is still there. I've also tried carefully slitting a can of peppers in adobo sauce. Scraping out the pith and seeds and rinsing out the can and seed/pith scraping with a little vinegar to recover as much as the adobo and then blending the peppers with a little more vinegar into a paste in a mini blender. It's better, but still too hot and not the same as the commercial preps. I've seen recipes where you see a suspiciously low amount of Chipotle used and then the addition of smokey paprika or ancho powder used presumably to raise the smokey signature. It generally doesn't work and totally forget about liquid smoke.

Any suggestions?

  1. g
    GH1618 Jan 27, 2012 03:43 PM

    Chipotle is a smoked Jalapeño chile, so an important part of the flavor is due to the smoking. According to The Whole Chile Pepper Book, there is a variety of mild Jalepeño, so producers with mild Chipotle products might be using that, or they might be smoking something else.

    4 Replies
    1. re: GH1618
      d
      DawnT Jan 27, 2012 05:37 PM

      I have wondered if the brand that I'm using might just be a much hotter version then others. The only brand found around here retail is La Costena in 7 and 12 0z cans. Sysco carries 20, 89,and 102 oz of other institutional brands, but the amounts are beyond anything that I can reasonably use. Here in Miami, Goya is a major brand in the latin markets, but they don't carry Mexican/Southwestern staples like their own Chipotle. We have the San Marcos brand, but only in green chiles for peppers.

      1. re: DawnT
        mattstolz Jan 28, 2012 06:36 AM

        if you buy them dried instead of packed in sauce, they will be much less spicy. the sauce is a large part of the heat in canned chipotles

        1. re: mattstolz
          paulj Feb 1, 2012 03:01 PM

          But the sauce gets its heat from the peppers, not the other way around. I just minced up a dried chipotle and mixed it with some mayo (plus paprika for color). The result was plenty hot.

          1. re: paulj
            mattstolz Feb 1, 2012 06:26 PM

            i guess my idea was more that its a little easier to control the heat with dried vs packed in sauce. its much easier to de-seed and de-vein a dried chili then de-seed, de-vein, and rinse all the spicy sauce off the canned chile

    2. BananaBirkLarsen Jan 27, 2012 03:47 PM

      Around here, the hotter they are, the better, but I can certainly appreciate that a whole can of chipotles in adobo isn't for everyone. El Mexicano sells whole dried chipotle chilis that I've found to be less hot than the average canned ones (I assume it's because they're stale, but I don't really know) You could try reconstituting these in hot water and then pureeing them, maybe removing the seeds first.

      1. g
        GH1618 Jan 27, 2012 03:57 PM

        You could try this:

        http://tomspeppers.com/index.html

        1. Melanie Wong Jan 28, 2012 12:15 AM

          Tierra Vegetables in Santa Rosa, CA makes chipotles with several kinds of sustainably grown peppers in your choice of heat level. Here's a link to its website for mail order.
          http://www.tierravegetables.com/jams....

          1. mrbigshotno.1 Jan 28, 2012 05:57 AM

            Try some smoked paprika with a littel cumin added.

            6 Replies
            1. re: mrbigshotno.1
              w
              wyogal Jan 28, 2012 06:40 AM

              Exactly what I was going to suggest. Smoked paprika gives you that smoky taste and "oomph" of peppers (depth of flavor), without the heat. Cumin helps to round out the flavor.

              1. re: wyogal
                t
                teezeetoo Jan 28, 2012 07:16 AM

                I rinse off the chipotle in the can and add a bit of smoked pimenton. keeps the smoke and drops the heat level. can also use a bit of smoked sea salt.

                1. re: teezeetoo
                  d
                  DawnT Jan 28, 2012 09:30 AM

                  Thanks all but in the last paragraph, I mentioned that I have tried this with the smokey paprika (pimenton). In the brand that I use, the adobo has relatively little heat compared to the whole pepper with seeds. I do rinse the can and the scrapings with some white vinegar in a small strainer to get the residual adobo off and provide some extra liquid for pureeing into a paste.

                  My Chipotle Ranch sauce for wraps/dips and salad dressing differ only by sour cream or buttermilk for viscosity and mayo. I use a private label institutional powder mix similar to Hidden Valley's and do add cumin,sugar, and lime juice along with the chipotle puree to make the sauce. To the basic ranch dressing from the mix, I augument with extra, coarse black pepper, garlic powder, and some dried parsely. Adding the smoked paprika in moderate amounts only raises the pink color with perceptably little change to the taste.

                  I will look into dried peppers and remove the seeds and either reconstitute or grind into a powder. That's not something that's going to be found around here and I'll have to order by mail. Thanks for the idea Matt.

                  1. re: DawnT
                    mattstolz Jan 28, 2012 12:03 PM

                    the dried ones normally work pretty well for me. plus, i like to use the liquid they reconstitute in for a little extra flavor. if you have it leftover, use it to cook rice or pasta, very delicious!

                    youd be surprised where you could find dried chipotles though. i have gotten mine at publix, sweetbay, whole foods, and other various smaller groceries around here (ethnic and other). whole foods is a pretty safe bet for finding them normally, and is normally cheaper than online once you factor in shipping.

                    1. re: DawnT
                      w
                      wyogal Jan 31, 2012 07:35 AM

                      I use "Pimenton de la vera.... Mas portell." It is very flavorful and imparts quite a bit of taste to whatever I'm adding it to. Just a 1/4 teaspoon makes a big difference in flavor.
                      It's in a little square can.

                  2. re: wyogal
                    m
                    magiesmom Jan 28, 2012 09:31 AM

                    my thought also.

                2. d
                  DawnT Feb 1, 2012 10:58 AM

                  I may have received a clue via e-mail on how they're getting the flavor without the heat. Apparently foodservice users have access to a product that's sold among the soup base products made by Nestle foods. It's Minor's Chipotle Flavor Concentrate. I was told that it's also used in frozen drinks to impart the chipotle flavor, so it must not be hot. I'm familliar with their soup base products that I use under private label, but don't recall seeing the chipotle flavoring offered. I've found it on the net and it's available for about $11 retail. All their soup base and flavoring products are refrigerated, so I don't know if this is too.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: DawnT
                    paulj Feb 1, 2012 01:25 PM

                    "Ingredients
                    Peppers (red, chipotle, jalapeno), sauteed vegetables ....[usual suspects in soup bases]... natural flavoring, .... and natural smoke flavor."

                    "Minors uses a spirited combination of red, Chipotle and jalapeno peppers, then tempers them by roasting"

                    By combining the peppers into one category, they don't reveal how much Chipotle there is. And smoke flavor is pretty powerful (especially the commercial versions), so it does not need to be very high in the list to make is presence known.

                    1. re: DawnT
                      paulj Feb 1, 2012 03:03 PM

                      Some Mexican shops and aisles sell a Knorr chipotle boulion cube. You can use it like the regular cubes, but your broth while have a substantial bite.

                    2. zitronenmadchen Feb 1, 2012 12:58 PM

                      Have you tried Penzey's chipotle powder? I found a dash gives the smoky flavor without too much heat, although that won't solve your issue with particulates.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: zitronenmadchen
                        d
                        DawnT Feb 1, 2012 01:27 PM

                        No I haven't despite all the wonderful things that I've heard about their spices and blends. My only experience with chipotle powder has been with Mccormick and Trade East (foodservice) with near identical(hot) results. I only mentioned the particulate effect as being indicative of using powdered spices and differentiating from commercial products that have a uniform pink appearance as if a sauce or extract. It bears no impact on the appearance. In fact, I add a small amount of coarse ground pepper and dried parsely to our dressings not for flavor, but to give a visible herb effect. I use a buttermilk/mayo base with a ranch powder that makes for bland appearance, so a red particulate hardly would matter. It was just mentioned as a possible clue.

                        I've got a can of san marcos and goya in adobo hopefully arriving in a day or two to see if they're any different. I haven't ordered any dried peppers yet. I'll be checking with my rep on the the availablility of the Minor's

                        Thanks for the suggestion.

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