Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Mystery Ingredient Club: Some Like It Hot

Summer kicks off with the 4th Mystery Ingredient Club...the sort of club where the meetings are mysteriously infrequent and cloaked in secrecy. 
Speaking of secrets, before the meeting begins, I've got a confession.  
A pinprick of fear darted through my chest when Bandwidth chose the ingredient: chipotle.  When it comes to hot peppers, I'm a big, old sissy baby. My husband is worse. He breaks out in a cold sweat if his food isn't in the Missonary Position. 

But I'm glad that we moved out of our food comfort zone and became acquainted with the smoke and heat of chipotle. This staple ingredient in Mexican dishes became a food star when it broke through into mainstream cuisine. Now, you can find canned chipotles in most grocery stores, along with exotic offerings like chipotle chips, salad dressing, and marinade. 
You won't find a fresh version of these chiles in the produce section of your grocery. They are created from jalapeños--then then they are smoked and dried (many cooks use a food dehydrator). 

Bandy had planned to make his own chipoltes, but his peppers aren't ready to harvest.  The idea of using store-bought peppers didn't fly.  However, I suffered from no such qualms. 

First, I made a raspberry-pineapple chipotle sauce. 

Then I cooked a slab of St. Louis spareribs.

Pineapple-Raspberry Chipotle Sauce

Sautee 1/2 cup chopped onion in 1 tablespoon canola oil and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter. Add 1/2 cup chopped (multicolor) bell peppers. Sautee until the onions are translucent. Add 1 teaspoon minced garlic and sautee another minute (don't burn it or you'll have to start over; don't salt and pepper at this point, as this hinders the sautéing process). Add 1 teaspoon granulated sugar (less if you prefer) and cook another minute or two, stirring frequently.
Drop in a handful of fresh raspberries (optional--they are impossibly seedy!), 1 [18-ounce] jar of seedless raspberry jam, 1/4 cup chopped pineapple, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, a splash of raspberry balsamic, and at least 1 whole, canned chipotle pepper (remove the seeds by scraping them with a knife). If you love heat, add the whole can, including a few teaspoons of the adobe sauce.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Reduce the sauce over a low flame. Transfer the slightly cooled sauce to a large bowl (set the pan aside--you'll need it later). Puree the sauce with an immersion hand blender. 
Place a strainer basket in the sautee pan.
Pour the sauce into the strainer.
Discard seeds. Pour sauce into a sterilized Mason jar. Store in the refrigerator for 1 week--if it lasts that long.

St. Louis Spare Ribs

1 slab of pork ribs
chili powder

Season the ribs. Place in a baking pan and bake at 375 degrees F for 90 minutes.
Remove from oven. Brush on sauce and cook 5 more minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

If you have leftover pork, you can make chipotle tacos.

Since I'm no longer a chipotle virgin, I went a little wild and added it to guacamole. I also made a
pineapple-peach-mango-avocado-chipotle salsa. 

Mango-Pineapple-Avocado-Chipotle Salsa
(In other words, an "Everything but the Kitchen Sink" salsa.)
1 carton store-bought mango salsa
1 cup chopped peppers
1 cup chopped onion and celery
minced garlic
apple cider vinegar or raspberry vinegar
cilantro (chopped)
salt, pepper, chili powder
Chipotle Tabasco
chopped canned chipotle peppers
fresh lime juice
Mix all ingredients and chill, allowing flavors to mingle.

Now it's time to par-tay, as my mama says.

Won't you try the salsa?

Chipotle pairs well with so many things, doesn't it?
chipotle + pineapple/raspberries/strawberries/watermelon/mango
chipotle + mayonnaise + lime
chipotle + avocado + cilantro

What's your favorite combination?

I can't wait to see what the Mystery Ingredient Club members have cooked. You can
find recipes by clicking on any thumbnail or by visiting their blogs.

Have a great week. Thanks to everyone who cooked with me today! You'll be receiving a complimentary chipotle gift, so please send me your mailing address.

I'm linking to:


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Metamorphosis Monday


  1. Everything you made looks amazing Michael! Love the pineapple/raspberry sauce and wish I had a taco right now! Ok... A Corona wouldn't be bad either:@) Chipotle was a fun ingredient for me, never dreamed it would pop up for MIC when I bought a bottle of dried chipotle powder a bit ago. Have a great week!

  2. I still hope Bandy will make his own chipotles when the peppers are ready. I'd love to try that too. Fear not, we love chipotles and I was thrilled when you emailed me with the mystery ingredient. Please pass some salsa, the tacos and those mouth watering ribs! Thanks for hosting, and have a good week ahead.

  3. Did you say Raspberry Chiipotle, Michael Lee??? I'll be right over...raspberries are a favorite of mine and your ribs look finger-lickin' good! Thanks for hosting this fun party. I love the smoky flavor of chipotles and had some saved in my freezer as I never use an entire can! xo

  4. Oh your Pineapple-Raspberry Chipotle Sauce looks wonderful and especially those ribs slathered with sauce! I had to laugh out loud..."He breaks out in a cold sweat if his food isn't in the Missonary Position." :) My post is scheduled for tomorrow morning and I had no problem adding the code to post, yay me! Thanks for the 'some like it hot' fun!

  5. Your ribs look fantastic, Michael! Dearest is a great fan of ribs - and the salsa - how wonderful! Thank you for this fun event!

  6. I am fairly pepper panicky myself, but I do like just a little kick...I bought the chipotle peppers in adobo in the can, but chickened out and tried chipotle cheddar instead...I was amazed at all the things available to buy with chipotle in them, and did buy some raspberry chipotle finishing sauce. It is similar to your BBQ sauce which looks totally fabulous and I can't wait to try it. The pork tacos look amazing too, and even though it's 6 am, that Corona looks delicious! Thanks for all the fun Michael Lee, and pushing me to try something new!

  7. Michael Lee. I absolutely loved this fun challenge! I got to do several culinary things that I had never done before and have found a new love... the marinade I made! What a blast to use these fun ingredients! And they pair so nicely with a bottle of beer!

    I've got to try those chipotle pork fajitas! They look amazing! Thanks for including me!!!!

  8. BTW. can you send me the link so I can post all the others on my blog. I did not get it. Thanks!

  9. Michael Lee, I just got finished visiting everyone's cipotle post and they are FABULOUS! It's like having a spicy summer cookbook. I'll make every single recipe! My family and guests will love them! Thanks for including me... you are such a sweetie! xo

  10. It all looks so good! And, I love your table!

  11. Sorry to be late to the meeting. Love the choice this time. Chipotle is a favorite flavor here! I'm thrilled to have all these new recipes to pass along to my chef. '-) Your raspberry sauce looks delicious as does the salsa. Are you a fan now?
    Thanks for hosting! Not certain how to add the code. Can you help? ~ Sarah