Of all the products I put on my preservation spreadsheet each year, the one with the least yield and a crazy amount of labor would be these tiny jars of canned smoked jalapenos. As a result, I put off this part of my preservation plan until it’s really almost too late. Some years, it has been.
Even with all that, I still love this recipe. A jar of canned Adobo peppers is probably less than a dollar at your nearest Mexican grocer so if you’re budgeting tight for what to buy local and what to skip, I would skip this one. But... I love that I can control the sourcing of the tomatoes and the concentration of flavor in this recipe, so here we go.
Even in late October it is possible to find the last red jalapenos from your local farmer. If you have time smoke and dehydrate them within the next week or two, before they turn to mush in your fridge, I highly recommend it even if you don't end up simmering them in this sauce and canning them. Dry them and grind them up to add to winter stews and chili or other sauces and call it a day. This year, I used frozen tomatoes for my pepper sauce and I didn’t notice any major difference from the previous years’ batches.
Since peppers are low-acid foods, it’s important to follow a recipe to ensure the pH is low enough to prevent botulism. I found this recipe several years ago and really enjoy it, though I’ve always come up short on the quantity it claims to make (five 4oz jars). I would wager the weight of the peppers in the recipe is post-smoked/dried. Bear this in mind when you make it at home too.
Chipotle In Adobo Sauce
From Homespun Seasonal Living
1 1/2 Ounces Chipotles (smoke-dried) jalapenos*
2 Cups Tomatoes, chopped
1/2 Cup White Wine Vinegar
1/2 Cup Onion, chopped
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
1/4 Cup Honey
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Allspice
1/8 teaspoon Cloves
- Mix everything together in a pot and cook until thick, stirring occasionally. It'll take at least 30 minutes. You could also put it all in a slow cooker on high and leave the lid off to let it thicken more slowly and allow you to do other things.
- Once thick, ladle into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/2" headspace. Process the jars in a hot water bath for 30 minutes (adjusting for elevation).
*Note on smoking jalapenos. If you have time to plan, you can keep the dried/smoked peppers in the freezer until it comes time to make this recipe. If you’re firing up the grill to make a meal during the summer, add the peppers after the coals have died down a bit. For an hour or two, your peppers can sit on the grill while it loses heat and should absorb that smokey flavor. If they aren’t fully dried afterward, throw them in a dehydrator or in your oven on the lowest setting until dried. I wait to seed the peppers until afterward, though you can do this beforehand if you want to remove some of the heat from the peppers.
Use these jars wherever recipes call for them, or mix with sour cream or yogurt for a dipping sauce, add to soups (they are wonderful in potato and frozen corn chowder), or water down and use for slow braising jackfruit or meat. I found I had a small quantity of the sauce and one jalapeno remaining that wouldn't fill up a jar so I added some chicken stock thawed from the freezer and frozen tomatoes and slow cooked jackfruit overnight in the oven at 200 degrees with some olive oil, onion, and garlic. You could do the same with potatoes, sweet potatoes, or squash. Anything... well almost anything... tastes good with hot smoky pepper sauce slowly cooked into it, right?