Curiosity struck yesterday morning, it just tiptoed up and ambushed me in the galley. "How did all of those jars and bottles end up in my refrigerator? When did this happen? And what do I do with a tablespoon of this and a bit of that?" It was time to play around with some flavor combinations and experiment, with or without a recipe as a guide, and use some of those interesting items. The good news is that I date food products as they come aboard, and routinely toss outdated containers so there were no surprises from a decade ago.
Several near-empty jars of jam, a mostly-full tin of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, and the common pantry items of honey, vinegar, garlic and olive oil combined to make a versatile sauce. Mmmmmm, how about a touch of fresh rosemary, or ………. Heat it up to blend the flavors and, Ooooh! that sauce is peppy! Sweet and tangy, but peppy! I had enough sauce to adapt it to a number of dishes, so let the fun begin.
This concoction was amazing as a meat glaze tonight, but the leftover sauce could top an appetizer or add zip to a panini tomorrow. Sweet, hot, sour and downright delicious - how good is that?
There’s nothing new about pairing jam or jelly with hot peppers - think Jalapeno Jelly from the 60’s. I’d almost forgotten how tasty that combination could be. Leftover canned chipotles in adobo present a challenge for me. I know, I know, you can freeze them individually and keep them for ages. My problem comes in remembering that they’re lurking in the freezer in time to grab them… before I open another can.
So, grab some fruit jam and a small can of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. Add some vinegar and honey or sugar to balance the sweet/heat/pucker factor. Blend in a bit of oil to smooth out the consistency. Feel like adding some herbs or garlic? Go right ahead. Whiz everything together in a blender; cook down briefly and Presto! you have a Sweet Chipotle Sauce.
Pork Tenderloin and Peppers with a Chipotle Chile Sauce
Sweet 'n Tangy Chipotle Sauce:
* 1 small 3 ounce can Mexican chipotle chilies in adobo sauce (adjust, to tame the heat)
* 1 cup fruit jam or marmalade (I used kiwi jam and tangerine marmalade)
* 1/2 cup vinegar, adjust to taste
* 1/3 cup honey or sugar, adjust to taste
* 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive
* (herbs, citrus zest and spices as desired)
Puree all ingredients in a blender or food processor, and then boil for 5 minutes.
Taste and adjust for the desired hot, sweet, tart balance.
Meat and Vegetables:
* 1 pork tenderloin, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices
* 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 1-1/2 pounds mixed peppers (I used 2 red bell peppers and 2 poblano), seeded and sliced
* 1/2 cup of Sweet 'n Tangy Chipotle Sauce
Place a large, shallow baking pan in the oven and preheat the oven to 475 F.
Use a large bowl and toss together 1/2 cup of the sauce with the meat, oil and peppers, coating each piece well.
Remove the heated pan from the oven and spread the meat and peppers on top. Work quickly and make sure pieces are separated so they sear, not steam. Roast 20 to 25 minutes, turning occasionally. If the sauce looks like it will burn on the pan, add a few spoonfuls of water.
Serve the pork and vegetables on a bed of julienned kale or fresh spinach and accompany with rice, couscous, or quinoa.
You will have a lot of extra sauce - referigerate it and enjoy it as you would a chutney for several weeks.
This pairs well with assertive cheeses for appetizers and as a sandwich condiment - think pork/pear/brie/arugula.
Try it as a finishing glaze for chicken, fish or a shrimp kebab.
Use it as a dip for grilled shrimp or sausage coins.