Chipotle, Peanut & Tequila Salsa...

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I rarely use in my cooking. I much prefer , as they are sweeter, easier to incorporate and less labour intense because they've been rehydrated and cooked in an adobo sauce. Yet I keep a pretty glass jar of the dried chipotles in my pantry just in case I ever decide to make this salsa... it's a bit of a polarizer at home: Alan hates it, I love it!

I found its original, premitive form in one of my mom's handwritten kitchen notebooks. The first time I tried it, I thought it was a bit unbalanced... too bitter, mainly because it asked for far too much tequila (and mama says she doesn't like booze!!). I was intrigued by the idea and I knew that the ingredients should work together, so I kept trying and spent about a year tweaking it until I got it just as I like it... hope you do too!

I used Mexican piloncillo a raw sugar cane, rich in smokey caramel flavours, a bit like molases. It gives the salsa another layer of flavour, a richness and a sweetness that enhances its taste. You can substitute it for demerara sugar, but you will need to use more than the 15 grams to achieve anything close to the depth of flavour that piloncillo gives. 


Dissolve the vegetable stock cube in 1 litre of water that has been boiled from the kettle. Pour it into a pot, add the dried chipotles (stems removed) and turn the heat on. Bring the stock and chilies to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.


When the chilies are done, take 100 mls of the stock where they cooked and discard the rest. Transfer the chilies and the reserved stock into a blender or food processor.


Add the rest of the ingredients: peanuts, tequila, olive oil, vinegar, Mexican piloncillo, salt and pepper. Blitz all the ingredients until you have a smooth, thick sauce.


This salsa has it all: it's spicy, sweet and a tiny bit bitter. The oil makes it thick and luscious and it works fabulous with red meat and game.