Spice up your life in January
I was turned on to dried chilis by Dodie Miller who started Cool Chile Co. in Ladbrooke Grove in 1993 – the same year as Hand Made Food . Like in a child in a sweet shop I obsessed with tobacco scented Anchos, earthy Mulatos, raisiny Cascabels, and smokey hot Chipotles. The kitchen acquired a copy of Rick “Bayless Mexican Kitchen “and off we went …Guacamole, Molotes, Green rice , Enchiladas, Quesadillas, braises and the essential Adobo Seasoning paste…………………
a dozen plump cloves of garlic unpeeled
80 g dried chili .note- all those mentioned above are mild . You could sub with Spanish or other european varieties
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
tablespoon of red wine vinegar
tablespoon of veg oil
tablespoon of honey or brown sugar and salt and pepper.
Break the chillis open, discard the seeds ( you can save them to make chilli powder ) then heat a heavy pan and toast the chillis briefly, pressing them down with a spatula – they burn easily so its just until they become pliable and release their aroma. Cover with warm water and leave to soak. Put the unpeeled garlic cloves in the pan on a low heat, toss occasionally until they are soft – you want them to have blackened spots – it will take 10/15 mins.
Then peel the garlic, drain the chillis ( keep the juice aside ) and put everything else in the blender or a huge pestle and mortar.
Blitz to a paste adding chilli water as you go – the consistency of humous, and there you have it .
We braised Shin of Beef with the chilli paste and served with sloppy polenta.