How to Spice Up Your Cooking with Smoky Chipotle Paste


spoonful of chipotle chili paste

I was chatting with a friend the other day about cooking in Tortola (“Where?” he said, as usual, because he’s fed up with me mentioning the lovely place I used to live, lucky me!) and how I missed chipotles in adobe; canned smoked chillies in a tangy tomato sauce which I haven’t seen in the UK. 

He suggested I try Asda’s Chipotle Paste and I did, and now I am hooked and chipotle paste has become another of my must-have store cupboard staples.

If you do invest in some I urge to test it tentatively before using it as it can be quite (but not very) fiery.  I use about half a teaspoon in most things I make just for myself but you might feel differently.


What is Chipotle?


smoke dried jalapeno chilis are chipotles
Chipotle peppers are smoke-dried ripe jalapeño chillies. They are medium hot and look like this – happily looks aren’t everything!

I do have dried chipotles in my storecupboard too, but chipotle paste is a much easier way to add their lovely smoky heat to your cooking.


How to Use Chipotle Paste


Well it is very inspiring stuff, here are some of the ways I have used it so far …

tomato ketchup mixed with chipotle paste


Chipotle Ketchup


Stir chipotle paste into the ketchup to taste, I really like this with egg and chips!


Pizza Sauce


Taking the above a little further a REALLY CHEATY pizza sauce which these days I use all the time is a mix of equal parts tomato ketchup and tomato paste. You can frown in my general direction if you like!  For myself I add half a teaspoon of chipotle paste to my portions of sauce but, not, of course, for my real man. You can add a little chipotle paste to more sophisticated pizza sauces too.

Chipotle Cheese Straws


how to make cheese straws from leftover pastry
Quite often I cook a pie for my real man, steak and kidney, chicken and leek, that sort of thing.  With the puff pastry trimmings I always make us some cheese straws to nibble on while the rest of the dinner is cooking.  All I do is roll out the pastry, sprinkle with grated mature cheddar, fold in half, sprinkle and roll, fold, sprinkle and roll about 5 times.  I then cut into strips, brush with egg yolk, sprinkle with sea salt and bake along with the pie at 200°C/400°F/180ºC fan/gas 6 or thereabouts.  For me I often spread a little chipotle paste on the pastry before the first sprinkle.  Lots more ideas for leftover pastry here. 

ideas for adding chipotle to your cooking



Chipotle Mayonnaise


This is particularly good with seafood and chicken and lovely to dip sweet potato fries into.  Just stir together mayonnaise and chipotle paste. I use about half a teaspoon of chipotle paste to a tablespoon of mayo, sometimes a little lime juice is a good addition. See here for more ideas for flavouring mayonnaise.





Honey Chipotle Vinaigrette


80ml olive oil
80ml cider vinegar
80ml runny honey
½ - 1 tsp chipotle paste – or even more if you like
salt

Liquidise, whisk or shake in a jar the first four ingredients and then season to taste with the salt. Not only good on salads but makes a great marinade for chicken, seafood and beef.

Chipotle Alfredo Sauce


This is delicious served tossed with cooked seafood or chicken and pasta or as a cream sauce for either without the pasta! Just add make this easy Alfredo Sauce and add a little tomato paste for pinkness and chipotle paste to taste. 

Sweet Potato Soup


Chipotle goes brilliantly with sweet potatoes try replacing the Thai chilli paste with chipotle paste in this lovely sweet potato soup.

add chipotle paste to sweet potatoes as in this soup recipe

Chipotle Egg Dishes


~   Add a little to scrambled eggs – see here for how to scramble eggs properly plus other egg ideas that might benefit from a bit of delicious smoky heat. 
~   Egg mayo sarnies
~   Add to the hollandaise when making Eggs Benedict – maybe change the name, any suggestions? Easy hollandaise sauce recipe here
~   Use it in my best omelette ever.

potato- chorizo-cheddar-chipotle-chilli-omelette

Chipotle Butter


This is wonderful on sweetcorn, more ideas for flavouring butter here

~   Mix a little into Black Bean Dip – see here for hummus and other bean dips etc.  

~  Add to Cheese on Toast  here’s more info for this complicated dish

salmon glazed with chipotle honey butterChipotle Honey Butter Salmon 

For 4

60ml honey
110g soft butter
1 tsp chipotle chilli paste
a little salt
4 x 180 fillets of salmon

~   Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/180ºC fan/gas 6
~   Gently melt together the first three/four ingredients, taste and add a little salt if you wish.
~   Place the salmon fillets in a lightly buttered rimmed baking dish and pour over the delicious sweet spicy butter.
~   Bake for 12-15 minutes till the fish flakes easily.


White Fish with Beans and Chorizo


I have been making this for my dinner for ages and here’s the recipe, but recently have been adding a little chipotle paste to great acclaim from myself. 

white fish, white beans, chorizo in a tomato sauce spiked with chipotle peppers

~   Add to Chilli con Carne and other meaty beany dishes. ~   Add to Homemade Burgers, Meatballs, Meatloaf and so on.  Homemade burger are even easier than getting takeaway!

How to Pronunce Chipotle


how-to-say-chipotle
Just in case you were wondering!
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How to Reheat Leftovers without Spoiling Them ~ which is a Good Idea!


specific instructions for reheating different leftover foods

This post is about reheating leftover food so that it is still delicious.  Please see here for How to Store Leftovers Safely 

I think that the practice of reheating food wrongly, either in the microwave or other incorrect methods, is why leftovers have such an (undeservedly) bad name.  Leftovers can, of course, be used in so many ways to create completely new dishes and if you are interested in this please see here for 219 Great Ideas for Leftovers but if you just want to reheat your leftovers here’s some useful info.

If you don’t have the right equipment or are in a tearing hurry, I suppose using a microwave can’t be helped but it is not the best way to reheat most foods and in particular crisp foods which will not remain or re-crisp in the microwave.  It can also damage the texture of delicate items such as fish.

Moister foods such as soups and stews will do OK in a microwave if you don’t rush them and give them a stir now and then while heating up.

Foods reheated correctly can be just as good as the first time round.

Preliminaries to Reheating Leftovers


Defrost First – this is where a microwave can come in useful, if your leftovers are frozen defrost them overnight in the fridge or do gently on a low setting on your microwave.

Bring to Room Temperature – if you must use the microwave, again gently, to just take the chill off your leftover.

How to Reheat Dry Cooked Meats and Fish


Here’s the Best Way!
the best way to reheat cooked meat, keep meat tender when reheating, safe way to reheat meats
For this you need a generous amount of sauce – either leftovers of the sauce you originally served the meal with, or a freshly made or bought in sauce.

~   Your leftover should be at room temperature so get it out of the fridge in time.
~   If reheating the remains of a roast slice the meat.
~   When ready to cook the meat first bring the sauce to a good temperature, not necessarily boiling but nice and hot.
~   Lay the meat(s) or fish in the sauce, put a lid on and turn off the heat.
~   When ready to eat return to a slow simmer BUT NO MORE – boiling already cooked meat toughens it.

Failing a delicious sauce reheat these in a dry pan to which you should add a little oil or butter. Keep the heat low, add your leftover gently, if you put a lid on the pan the meat/fish will heat faster and be moister but will not have a crust. Turn the leftover after about 3 minutes and heat for another 2 or 3 minutes before serving.

How to Reheat Soups and Stews


Just reheat gently in a saucepan with the lid on.  Keep an eye on it and give a stir now and then.  DO NOT BOIL. The microwave is fine for these foods too.

the best way to reheat fried foods keeping them crips and tender


How to Reheat Fried Food including Chips


These should NOT be done in the microwave which will make them soggy.

~   Preheat oven to 190ºC/375ºF/170ºC fan/gas 5 or thereabouts.
~   Place your room temperature leftover fried food on a baking tray and bake till hot and crisp which will of course vary according to what you are reheating.


   


How to Reheat Pizza – 3 Ways

how to reheat pizza

1.   Oven – do the same as with fried foods above.

2.   Grill 
– preheat the grill and place a baking tray underneath it so that it heats up too. This is important as it will crisp the bottom of the pizza while the grill reheats the top. Grill the pizza till hot, keeping an eye on it as being thin it will cook fast. 

3.   Pan – if you just have a slice or so of pizza or are in a hurry use a frying pan. Preheat the pan over, medium heat, then add your pizza slices) and pop on a lid or a sheet of foil. If you don’t cover it, you will probably end up with a hot bottom (excuse me!) and a cool top. Cook for 5 minutes and check, you want the cheese on top to be bubbling

How to Reheat Baked Goods


These too are best reheated in a moderate oven AND if your loaf of bread is stale run it under a cold tap and reheat in the oven which will result in it having a crisp crust.

How to Reheat Pasta


How to reheat cooked pasta, sauces pasta and cooked pasta dishes

To reheat cooked pasta 


~   Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
~   Place the leftover pasta in a strainer or seive.
~   Dunk the strainer in the boiling water for no more than 30 seconds.
~   Lift out, drain and sauce as usual.


To reheat sauced pasta


Reheat this in a lidded saucepan, it will probably need a little more sauce so either add more of the same, a little cream if appropriate, a splash of stock, wine or even water!  Stir gently turning the pasta over till hot all the way through. A microwave OK for this. 

To Reheat Pasta Bake


This is a good time to use the microwave, but just at first, and is a great way to reheat leftover mac and cheese!  

~   Preheat oven to 190ºC/375ºF/170ºC fan/gas 5.~   With the microwave on medium power heat the leftover pasta bake till fairly warm. 
~   Pour over a little fresh sauce or cream.
~   Sprinkle with grated cheese and some breadcrumbs and till hot, crisp and golden.
warning about reheating rice, avoiding bacillus cereuus

How to Reheat Stir Fries


Just re-stir-fry them in a hot frying pan being attentive to the stirring so as to give all the grains of rice and additions a chance in contact with the heated pan. Make sure the dish is absolutely piping hot throughout as reheated rice can cause food poisoning of not treated correctly

How to Reheat Cooked Vegetables


Boiled and steamed vegetables – melt a knob of butter (relevant joke here!) in a pan and toss the vegetables in the hot butter till heated through. You can do these in the microwave too but not for long or they will overcook.

Roasted vegetables – spread in a shallow pan and pop into a moderate oven till hot through.

the best way to reheat a delicate sauce such as hollandaise or alfredo sauce smoothly



How to Reheat Delicate Sauces


Sauces such as HollandaiseAlfredo and similar are best heated in a bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water but can be achieved with care using just a pan and low heat. Stirring is necessary here too! If the sauce splits, which is particularly likely with Hollandaise Sauce stir in a knob of butter to re-emulsify it.






Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers


Remember, if you do fancy doing more with your leftovers than just reheating them then this is the book for you!  


creative ways to use up leftovers cookbook




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