Chipotle Chicken and Peaches

Hello Fellow Foodies!

I don't know about where you live, but here in sunny Southern California the peaches are starting to show up, and they are BEE-YOOOO-TI-FUL!!! I love peaches so much. They are still one of the few foods that you really can only eat local and seasonally. Peaches from Peru in December are never a good bet. Even as a Pastry chef, I prefer peaches in savory dishes like the one below. Perhaps I have made so many peach pies, peach ice cream, peach cobbler, (you get the idea)...that now I usually make them as a side for a dinner item. My old Chef Mikey Mount does a Grilled Peach and Prosciutto appetizer that is worth the trip to Charleston, SC just to eat that.

I love the combination of chills and fruit. There is something amazing and surprisingly yummy about that salty, spicy, sweet, tangy combination. When you add the smokiness of Chipotles-the flavor is GO HOME AND SLAP YOU MAMMA delicious!!!

"What is a Chipotle?" you ask....well Wikipedia say this:
A chipotle, or chilpotle, which comes from the Nahuatl word chilpoctli meaning "smoked chili pepper" is a smoke-dried jalapeño. It is a chili used primarily in Mexican and Mexican-inspired cuisines, such as Mexican-American and Tex-Mex.
Varieties of jalapeño vary in size and heat. In Mexico, the jalapeño is also known as the cuaresmeño and gordo. Until recently, chipotles were largely found in the markets of central and southern Mexico. As Mexican food became more popular abroad, especially in the upper nations of North America, jalapeño production and processing began to expand into northern Mexico to serve the southwestern United States, and eventually processing occurred in the United States and other places such as China.
Typically, a grower passes through a jalapeño field multiple times, picking the un-ripe green jalapeños for market. At the end of the growing season jalapeños naturally ripen and turn bright red. There is an extensive fresh market for ripe red jalapeños in both Mexico and the United States. They are kept on the bush as long as possible. When the jalapeños are deep red and have lost much of their moisture, they are selected to be made into chipotles.
The red jalapeños are moved to a closed smoking chamber where they are spread on metal grills. Wood is placed in a firebox, and the smoke enters the sealed chamber. Every few hours the jalapeños are stirred to improve smoke penetration. The chiles are smoked for several days until most of the moisture is removed. In the end, the chipotles have dried up in a manner akin to prunes or raisins. The underlying heat of the jalapeños is combined with the taste of smoke. Typically, ten pounds of jalapeños make one pound of chipotle.
In recent years, growers have begun using large gas dryers. Some processors have started to use liquid smoke.

Most chipotle chiles are produced in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua.[1] This variety of chipotle is known as a morita (Spanish for small mulberry). In central and southern Mexico, chipotle chiles are known as chile meco, chile ahumado, or típico. Whereas moritas from Chihuahua are purple in color, chile meco is tan/grey in color and has the general appearance of a cigar butt. Most chipotle chiles found in the United States are of the morita variety. Almost all of the chipotle meco is consumed in Mexico.
Homemade chipotles en adobo
Chipotles are purchased in forms, including chipotle powder, chipotle pods, chipotles en adobo in a can, concentrated chipotle base and wet chipotle meat marinade.
Other varieties of chiles are smoke-dried, including red jalapeños, serranos, habaneros, New Mexican chiles, Hungarian wax chiles, Santa Fe Grande chiles, and a milder jalapeño called the TAM (a cultivar named for Texas A&M University). Lesser-known varieties of smoked chiles include cobán, a piquín chile native to southern Mexico and Guatemala; pasilla de Oaxaca, a variety of pasilla from Oaxaca used in mole negro; jalapeño chico, jalapeños, smoked while still green; and capones ("castrated ones"), a rare smoked red jalapeño without seeds.

So, now that you have all the information you'll ever need about Chipotle Peppers; here is a recipe that I love in the summer:

Chipotle Chicken and Peaches
1/3 cup Peach Nectar (all natural-no sugar added)
1/3 cup peach preserves (all natural-no sugar added, if available)
2 Tbs. Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbs. white wine or rice vinegar
2 tsp. adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers
1 Chipotle pepper in adobo
1 tsp. chopped fresh cilantro (basil works too)
sea salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp. smoked paprika
2 boneless chicken breasts
3 peaches washes and quartered
olive oil for cooking
water as needed
Mix the first 9 ingredients together and puree in a blender or food processor. Pour into a zip top bag and add the chicken and peach pieces. Marinate in the fridge for 1 hour to overnight. In a very large nonstick pan over medium high heat add a little olive oil and swirl around. Remove the chicken and peaches from the marinade and brown on one side. Turn the chicken and peaches over, and brown on the other side. Add the marinade to the pan with a little water, or white wine. Cover and cook 8-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with veggies and rice. (Steamed broccoli is my favorite with this dish).
Variation: 3-4 minutes before the chicken is done sprinkle broccoli florets over the chicken and peaches, re-cover and let the broccoli steam until done.

NOTE: Pork and Duck work amazingly well in the recipe too- Firm tofu can be substituted for a vegetarian alternative.

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