Saturday, October 22, 2011

Chipotle Chilies

So as the nights get colder here and there is actually frost on the ground, I am shutting the garden down.
I had 6 jalepeno pepper plants which gave quite a few fresh green peppers which I froze, but I tried to let as many as possible ripen until the last moment. They turned a shiny black violet. I ended up with almost 2 kilos of them. These pathetic little objects in my picture are the result of todays harvest. They were fresh ripe jalepenos. I started the barbecue and rigged a cover for it. Then when the coals had burnt down, I had a lot of straw on hand, which I put on the smoldering coals. Then with the rack on the highest level, I spread out peppers and covered the barbecue. Over the course of the afternoon, I dried and smoked most of the peppers. They turned into real chipotle chilies. That what a chipotle is. A ripened jalepeno that is dried over hay smoke. That is what gives chipotle chilies that smoky flavor. Then I let them air dry for another 24 hours and put them in tight jars. I did this 2 years ago and the chilies stayed nice and dry until I needed them. What do I do with chipotles here in the Dordogne?
Try this: make a rub for meat. Take a few chipotles (seeded and deveined) and fry them in a little oil until they get puffy, do not burn them! Then put them in a food processor with a few cloves of garlic, some kosher salt and some oregano. Pulse them together until you have a rough shaggy mix. If it seems too damp, you can dry it in the oven. In a sealed jar, it will keep indefinitely.
I have been using duck legs, which is a traditional Mexican meat...really. This time of the year, duck legs are very cheap here. After all, duck is our national dish in the Dordogne. I take the duck legs, rub them with the chipotle rub and let them sit over night. The next day, preheat your oven to about 225, melt some duck fat in a baking dish with a few cloves of garlic and a thickly sliced onion and coat the duck legs with the fat. The bake them slowly and covered for about 2 hours. When they are done, let them cool in the chili flavored fat.
This is the Mexican version of Confit de canard. When you want to eat the duck, you can simply heat it like confit in a frying pan. When it is hot, the meat will shred off of the bones. This is how the Mexicans make duck rajas...the meat filling for tacos or enchiladas.
You can use this rub for ribs! Cook them covered in the oven, slowly after letting them sit overnight after using the rub. Again, the meat will fall off of the bones. Serve them with salsa...luckily I can get soft corn tortillas here!

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