Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Honey Chipotle Sauce

I'm not sure when it happened but sometime in the past four years, I discovered the beauty of chipotle chiles. Maybe it was Bobby Flay. Maybe it wasn't, but so many dishes have become so much more interesting with a little sprinkling of chipotle powder. A few years ago, I came across this reader-submitted recipe in Sunset Magazine. All I can say is WOW! If you try this on grilled corn on the cob, you will never go back to boring old butter.

Honey Chipotle Sauce
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup mild-flavored honey, such as clover
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ears corn on the cob

1. Heat a charcoal or gas grill to medium-hot (you can hold your hand 1 to 2 in. above cooking grate only 3 to 4 seconds). Combine chiles, butter, honey, garlic, and salt in a blender and whirl until smooth.

2. Put unhusked corn on grill and cook, turning occasionally, 15 minutes. Husks will blacken. Transfer to a work surface, remove husks, brush ears generously with butter mixture, and return ears to grill. Grill until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Serve warm, with remaining butter.

Lessons learned: If you can't find canned chipotles in adobo sauce, you can substitute chipotle powder. McCormick makes a pretty good one (look for the glass jar). I wouldn't recommend substituting cayenne or other chile powders. It really needs the smokiness of the chipotle. I typically start off with a 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle powder and gradually add more to taste. If you use canned chiles, start with one chile. Two chiles will send you through the roof if you're not used to spicy dishes!
I love this on corn. I typically grill the corn without the husks and brush the sauce on in the last five minutes of grilling. That's just long enough for the honey to start to caramelize on the corn. I tried it on mushrooms the other day and was delighted with the results. I have also buttered bread with this sauce and basted chicken with it. Each time, it has been a hit.