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Wild Game Cooking

How to Make Chipotles at Home

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If you’ve ever wanted to make chipotles at home, you’re in the right place. All you need are ripe jalapenos, a smoker, and time. They’re easy to make, and store well.

Chipotles are smoked, dried, ripe jalapeno peppers. Two main varieties exist, the chipotle morita and the chipotle meco.

Morita, which means “little mulberry,” are generally smaller, and they come from any number of jalapeno cultivars. This is the chipotle you will see in cans of adobo.

Meco is the king of chipotles. They come from varieties that exhibit extreme “corking” on the skin, which makes the outside look tan. When they are smoked, they very much look like tobacco; some people say cigar butts.

I’ll walk you through how to make chipotles from either kind of jalapeno.

Three fresh jalapenos with the corking needed to make chipotle meco chiles.

Start with Jalapenos

Chipotles are made from ripe jalapenos. Red ones. The vast majority of jalapenos in the United States are sold green, but yes, jalapenos turn red when ripe… or other colors, but those are specialty varieties.

Generally speaking, you will want overripe peppers, ones that have been left on the plant a long time and are even starting to show signs of shriveling.

If you are growing or looking for jalapenos for chipotle meco, know that these varieties — “farmer’s market” is the most common in the US — take a very long time to ripen, so chances are you will only see them at the end of the growing season.

The best way to make chipotles is to grow your own. Six to 10 plants will give you a nice supply. Barring that, go to a Latin market: They often carry red jalapenos. And in late August or September, look in US farmer’s markets.

Holding a handful of both types of chipotles, meco and morita.

How to Make Chipotles

You will need to smoke your jalapenos. In Mexico, you’ll mostly see them smoked over pecan, oak or mesquite, so I’d recommend those woods.

Smoking jalapenos is easy. Just lay them on the rack and smoke away.

Low heat is key. Chipotles are made over the course of several days in Mexico, smoke dried leisurely. This is what you want, if possible. But if not, just be sure to keep the temperature below 200F. You don’t want to cook the peppers in the process.

Some smokers have a hard time working in low heat, and if you can’t keep the temperature below 200F, don’t try to make chipotles at home. I have used anything from impromptu smoking rigs to Traegers and Bradley smokers and so long as you can keep that temperature down, you’re good.

Be patient. Making chipotles at home is a labor of love. You want the peppers to get at least 6 hours of smoke, and I prefer a whole day: I start in the morning and let them smoke until I go to bed.

After this, sometimes the peppers are still not fully dried: You want them hard, leathery at the least, but brittle is actually OK because you will soak them before using. Jalapenos are thick-walled peppers and take a long time to get to this stage, so there is a shortcut.

Once you’ve smoked your jalapenos for at least 6 hours, and 12 to 16 is better, you can then put them in a regular dehydrator to finish. Yes, the room you dehydrate your chipotles in will smell smoky, but I find that delicious…

Dried chipotle mecos.

storing chipotles

Once they’re ready, chipotles will keep in a bag at room temperature for a year or more. My advice: Buy a bunch of those silicone dessicant packets and put a couple in the bag. This will prevent them from picking up moisture over time and molding.

You can freeze them if you want, but in my world, freezer space is at a premium.

If you’re looking for recipes that use chipotles, try my chipotle deer jerky, Mexican meatballs with chipotle sauce, Sinaloan chilorio, a chile-based pork stew, or whip up a batch of my prickly pear BBQ sauce, which is great with chipotles.

  • 1 Smoker

  • 1 Dehydrator (optional)

  • Lay the peppers in your smoker in one layer, ideally not touching. Smoke them at 150? ideally, but definitely below 200?. You want slow smoke that barely cooks the peppers, if at all. The goal is smoke drying them.

  • Smoke the peppers at least 6 hours, but I prefer all day, like 16 hours. You can, if you have a cold smoking set up, simply smoke them each day until they’re fully dried, which will take a few days.

  • If you want, you can pull the jalapenos at any time after 6 hours and finish them in a dehydrator set on low heat. They’re ready when they are somewhere between leathery and brittle. Remember jalapenos are thick-walled peppers, so this takes a while.

  • Store them in a bag at room temperature. They’re keep a year or more.

If you’re wondering, yes you can use this same technique with other peppers, like Fresnos or serranos or similar peppers. 

Calories: 11kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 90mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 267IU | Vitamin C: 40mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 0.3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

If you liked this recipe, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and a comment below; I’d love to hear how everything went. If you’re on Instagram, share a picture and tag me at huntgathercook.

Source link: https://honest-food.net/how-to-make-chipotles/ by Hank Shaw at honest-food.net

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Wild Game Cooking

Fish and Grits Recipe – A Tripletail Recipe

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The lesser known sibling to Southern shrimp and grits, fish and grits are every bit as good, especially if you make it with a firm, flavorful fish like tripletail.

A plate of Southern fish and grits, made with tripletail.

Several years ago, I saw a painting on the wall of the hunting lodge my friend Larry Robinson owns in Texas. The painting showed a gray fish leaping out of the water near a buoy. It looked like the prehistoric ancestor of a bluegill, only larger. I asked Larry what it was. “That’s a tripletail,” he said. “Best eating fish out there.”

That’s when I knew I had to catch one.

I’ve caught and eaten most of the fish that swim in North America’s lakes, streams and oceans. But somehow this tripletail fish had not only eluded my hook, but even my notice. How on earth was it possible that there was fish with this reputation as table fare that I didn’t even know about? It’s probably because when I fish the waters of the Deep South, it’s normally either inshore for redfish and speckled trout, or over wrecks for snapper.

Tripletail, Lobotes surinamensis, likes to live inshore, but it’s pelagic, meaning it hangs out in the middle or top of the water column. And, just like the painting, it loves structure, like buoys or pylons. Sometimes they float around on their sides, looking like debris — small fish congregate underneath them to get some shade, and whump! Dinner.

Somehow I never really got a chance to fish for them. Life happens. Until, finally, in 2017, I got my chance. My friend Joe Baya of the magazine Great Days Outdoors offered to take me out to experience what the Alabama coast had to offer. He added, somewhat offhandedly, that he and his dad were good at catching tripletail.

I think there was some other talk about shrimp and tuna, but at the time all I could hear was the word “tripletail.” Yes, I’m in. Name the time. I’ll be there.

As it happened, the weather wasn’t great for tripletail before our planned offshore tuna trip, and, well, the day after wasn’t so hot, either.

Clouds in the sky over a body of waterClouds in the sky over a body of water
Photo by Hank Shaw

But we figured we could zoom in on a few of Joe’s good spots and try before the storm hit us.

Fishing for tripletail is a lot like bluegill fishing, oddly enough. You use a bobber and bait, only much bigger, We used live shrimp for bait. You cast toward some sort of structure, let the current take the bait past the object, and watch the bobber. Tripletail don’t always strike hard.

We dodged the storm for about an hour, going from pylon to buoy. No dice. Eventually, we got to a red nun bobbing in the increasingly choppy waters of the Mississippi Sound. I cast out to a buoy and immediately got wrapped around the chain. Damn.

“I think that’s a fish,” Joe said. No way, it’s just the chain. I reeled in gently, trying not to snag the hook. The chain pumped its head twice. Hard. Holy crap!

Now I felt the fish, and it was a good one. I finessed it in closer to the boat, a gray hubcap. Huh. Not much of a fighter. Then it saw the boat, tore off about fifty yards of line and changed my mind about the fighting abilities of Lobotes surinamensis. Now all I felt was nervousness. This might be the only chance I get. Don’t. Screw. It. Up.

Fortunately, I didn’t, and Joe netted the fish with the skill earned by netting scores of these things. And all of a sudden, I had my first tripletail, a spectacular 15-pounder!

Hank Shaw with tripletailHank Shaw with tripletail
Photo by Joe Baya

To say I was excited is an understatement. To not only catch a tripletail, but a really good one, was awesome. It still gets my blood up writing this, weeks later.

Just in time, too. The storm hit us on the way in. But I didn’t even notice the rain. All I was thinking about was tripletail on the grill, fish and grits, sweet and sour tripletail, tripletail skin chicharrones, fried tripletail, butter-poached tripletail…

I decided on fish and grits, as I happened to have some seriously great grits hanging around.

Closeup of fish and grits in the bowlCloseup of fish and grits in the bowl
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

I love most things on good grits, and this fish and grits recipe is a riff off Low Country shrimp and grits. Bacon, fresh tomatoes, some chanterelle mushrooms (you can use any mushroom), green onions and lots of lemon. The tripetail itself is seared simply in bacon fat.

The tripletail lived up to its reputation. Firm, clean-tasting, with a meaty texture very close to grouper, and reminiscent of striped bass. Tripletail has thick, wide flakes, and the meat is pearly white. It was worth the wait.

  • Boil the water and stock and add salt to taste. Start stirring it and pour the grits in slowly; this prevents lumps. Drop the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for about 20 to 30 minutes. 

  • Meanwhile, salt the fish fillets and set aside on the counter. Fry the bacon in a large pan to render the fat. Remove the bacon, chop and set aside. 

  • Pat the fish dry with paper towels and place in the hot bacon fat, the flattest side down. Keep the heat at medium-high. Use a spoon to ladle bacon fat over the top of the fillets until they turn opaque. Keep doing this for about 1 minute. Do not flip your fish unless the pieces are more than 1 inch thick. When you have a nice sear (see picture above), remove the fish from the pan and set, seared side up, on a cutting board. 

  • If you have less than about 2 tablespoons of bacon fat in the pan, add some more. Add the mushrooms and sear them well. They’ll sear, then give up their water. Let this happen without moving the mushrooms. This should all take about 3 minutes or so.

  • Right before serving, stir the butter, cream and cheese into the grits until the butter and cheese melts in. 

  • When the mushroom water subsides, add the remaining ingredients and stir-fry them about 90 seconds. To serve, give everyone some grits, then some fish, then pour the mushroom-tomato mixture over. 

Calories: 688kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 52g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 138mg | Sodium: 861mg | Potassium: 1758mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 2509IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 180mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Source link: https://honest-food.net/tripletail-recipe-grits/ by Hank Shaw at honest-food.net

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Wild Game Cooking

Rhubarb Syrup Recipe – How to Make Rhubarb Syrup

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Here’s how to make rhubarb syrup, which is fantastic on pancakes, in soft drinks or cocktails, or as a glaze for chicken or other poultry.

Making rhubarb syrup couldn’t be easier: Bury chopped rhubarb in sugar and let time do the rest.

It really is that simple. Chop stalks of rhubarb, put them in a glass jar, like a Mason jar, and bury them in white sugar. Put the lid on the jar and shake to remove any air pockets. Add enough sugar to cover the rhubarb by about 1/2 inch.

Overnight, the sugar will extract the moisture from the rhubarb, and you’ll have a syrup.

A few pointers:

  • As the sugar absorbs the liquid from the rhubarb, keep adding a little more each day, about 2 tablespoons at a time. Shake after each time. Stop when no more sugar can be absorbed. You’ll know this by seeing a layer of sugar at the bottom of the jar the morning after you’ve shaken everything all up.
  • If you don’t do this, you run the risk of the syrup not being concentrated enough, and if that happens, it can ferment.
  • Once the syrup is concentrated, let it sit on the counter a few days at room temperature. This will help darken the syrup from a light pink to a rosy red. The longer you let it sit, even in the fridge, the pinker it will get, up to about 2 weeks.
  • If you want a redder rhubarb syrup, add a handful of strawberries when you start. Some very red varieties of rhubarb will make a crimson syrup by themselves.
  • Strain out the rhubarb and discard, or use in rhubarb bread or muffins.
  • Once finished, the rhubarb syrup will keep indefinitely in the fridge.

How to Use Rhubarb Syrup

I initially made it to add to summertime gin and tonics. Make a G&T the way you like it, then add a spoonful or two of rhubarb syrup and you have a quintessential Upper Midwestern cocktail.

Or, skip the gin and tonic and go with a mocktail of rhubarb syrup, lime juice and seltzer. This is a baller afternoon refresher.

You can also use it as a pancake syrup, or wherever else you want a drizzle of springtime.

In a savory application, mix some rhubarb syrup with red wine or balsamic vinegar to make an easy gastrique sauce, which you can then use with chicken or any other white meat; it would even be good with a firm, white fish like grilled swordfish.

If you liked this recipe, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and a comment below; I’d love to hear how everything went. If you’re on Instagram, share a picture and tag me at huntgathercook.

Source link: https://honest-food.net/rhubarb-syrup-recipe/ by Hank Shaw at honest-food.net

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Wild Game Cooking

Elderflower Syrup Recipe – How to Make Elderflower Cordial

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Elderflower syrup is sunlight and rainbows in a bottle. Golden, floral and sweet, this makes everything it touches better. Here’s how to make it at home. 

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Late springtime and early summer are the best time to gather elderflowers to make elderflower syrup.

Finding the buttercream flowers isn’t too tough: Elderberries grow everywhere near rivers, and other well-watered places. You can see them as early as April in the South and California, and as late as September in the high mountains or far north, like in Canada.

I’ve seen elderflowers all over the place in Georgia and Florida in early spring. The farther north you live — or the higher in elevation — the later you must wait. And keep in mind you are looking for blue or black elderberries, not red elderberries. You want Sambucus nigra or S. mexicana.

Elderflowers on the plant. Elderflowers on the plant.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Collecting Elderflowers 

Keep in mind that an elderberry bush is a large plant, and can even grow into a small tree. Study the leaves in the photo above: They are a lush dark green, slightly serrated on their edges, and form on stalks; each leaf should be opposite to another. The flowers are cream-colored, not white.

Sometimes over-eager foragers fail to look at the plant they are picking from and grab hemlock by mistake. This can be fatal. But hemlock looks nothing like elderberry, so I have a tough time figuring out how this mistake happens…

A good rule to live by is to not take more than a few flower heads from each elderberry bush: This ensures that the bush will have enough to spread itself, it makes you find more bushes — it’s never a good thing to have only one spot for anything you forage for — and, most importantly, selective picking means you can come back in a few months for the berries.

Only choose the most beautiful flower heads; you don’t want flowers that have yet to open or are past their prime. Collect them in a paper bag so they can breathe. Plastic will make them wilt and sweat.

You will need a lot of flowers to make cordial, so grab a big grocery sack full.

Making Elderflower Syrup

Keep in mind that elderflower syrup is not alcoholic. It can be anything from a light, ready-to-drink concoction, to a full-on syrup that can keep a year or more and is used as a base for other things, like elderflower champagne

If you want to make elderflower liqueur, this is my recipe for that

Elderflower cordial has a subtle flavor. What does it taste like? It is more of an aroma thing, although the elderflower “lemonade” I am drinking right now has a certain tannic backbone to it that says it is not just lemonade.

You make the base for elderflower syrup by preparing a simple syrup (1:1 sugar to water), bringing it to a boil and pouring it over lemon zest, a little lemon juice, lots of elderflowers, and a little citric acid, which adds flavor and keeps everything stable. You let this sit at room temperature for as little as a few hours, or as much 2 or 3 days to macerate, and the result after you strain it through cheesecloth is this lovely-looking syrup.

NOTE: If you just want to make a simple elderflower syrup, which will ferment quickly if you don’t keep it cold, skip all the lemon and citric acid. For a quart, boil 3 cups sugar and 3 cups water. Let it cool enough so you can stick your finger in it, then pour it over a quart Mason jar full of elderflowers. Steep 2 days in the fridge, then strain. Use within 3 weeks. 

Using Elderflower Syrup

I add about a tablespoon of the syrup to a pint of water to make an elderflower cordial with the level of flavor Gatorade has; add more syrup for a stronger drink. It tastes a lot like an Arnold Palmer (50-50 iced sweet tea and lemonade), but as elderflowers are known to be seriously good for you, I like this better.

elderflower liqueur recipeelderflower liqueur recipe
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Years ago, Holly added some syrup to vodka to make an “Elder-tini,” which, when added to some cherries, make a damn good cocktail. Elderflower syrup is also excellent mixed with Champagne (a classic), and its Italian cousin Prosecco. My friend Heather makes a drink called a Caddisfly Nymph, which is elderflower syrup, Prosecco and a touch of Peychaud bitters.

Elderflower syrup makes a great glaze for chicken or pheasant breasts, or, when mixed with a champagne vinegar, a helluva gastrique (sweet and sour sauce) for poultry, rabbit or fish.

  • Snip off the flowers from the stalks into a large bowl or jar that will hold everything. Try to remove as much of the stems as you can; they are toxic. A few stray bits of stems will not hurt you, but you want to minimize it.

  • Zest the lemons and add it to the bowl, then the citric acid and lemon juice.

  • Bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve. Let the syrup cool enough so that you can stick your finger in it without getting burned; you can leave it to cool to room temperature, too. Pour the syrup over the flowers, lemons et al and stir to combine. Cover the bowl or jar and leave it for 2 or 3 days.

  • When you are ready, strain it through a fine-meshed sieve lined with cheesecloth or a paper towel into a clean Mason jar. Seal the jar and store in the fridge.

  • To serve, pour 1 to 3 tablespoons of the syrup into a pint glass and add water or seltzer. Or you can add a tablespoon to a glass of sparkling wine, or to a couple shots of vodka or gin.

This recipe makes about 1 quart. 

Calories: 193kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Fat: 0.2g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 1mg | Sugar: 50g | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 0.03mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Source link: https://honest-food.net/elderflower-cordial/ by Hank Shaw at honest-food.net

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