Pickled Chipotle Peppers with Sugarloaf


Pickled chipotle peppers. I adore chipotle peppers. The smoky taste of a ripe, dried jalapeño has become a staple of my kitchen, and recently it's one of my favorite ingredients.
It's for that reason that I love this specific recipe: pickled chipotle peppers with sugarloaf, spices, and onion in abundance. These are ingredients that transform a regular dish into an exquisite one by adding but a few rajas, as Mexicans, who include the peppers as thin slices in their dishes, say.
Despite having girlfriends who beg me to prepare my pickled chipotle peppers so they can take a jar home, and eat them as if they were candy, I've not yet gotten to that level of spiciness in my life.
Let's be clear: these peppers are extremely spicy, and the result of re-hydrating the dried chipotles my friend Ana Cristina so graciously imported for me from Mexico, makes for a unique taste, and a unique ingredient that inspires me to concoct dishes as delicious as they are diverse.
I pickle them with black pepper grains, bay leaves, oregano, and sugarloaf (called papelón or panela in Venezuela and Colombia, rapadura in Brazil, and piloncillo in México and in most Latin grocery stores in the US).
What at first glance looks like the ruined sole of an old shoe, the chipotle is transformed into a perfumed, decadent pickled pepper, infused with the mouthwatering taste of smoked wood that makes chipotle peppers such a delicacy, and has led to the peppers' inclusion in several of my new recipes.
Keep an eye out for my upcoming chipotle crema, chipotle mayo, and chipotle pasta with cilantro and crema mexicana, as well as chipotle risotto with goat cheese. 
I also have a recipe for chipotle arepas forthcoming, and they are to die for.
My romance with chipotle peppers is more than a passing fad, and the culinary possibilities are limitless.
I hope you enjoy the recipe and Happy Hispanic Heritage Month.
Pickled Chipotle Peppers with Sugarloaf | Makes 6 jars (6 oz each)
4 ounces (about 100 grams) of dried chipotle peppers, whole and without peduncles
1 teaspoon of black pepper corns
2-3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon of oregano
¾ cup of sugarloaf (papelón, panela, rapadura or piloncillo)
4 cups of water (the amount can increase, depending on the quality of the peppers)
½ cup white vinegar
1 ½ cup of onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Preparation
1. Put the ingredients in an uncovered cooking pot at medium heat until it comes to a boil.
2. After the water boils, set the heat on low, being careful to add water as needed, one cup at a time.
3. Once the peppers are soft and can be easily pierced with a fork, they're done. This process will take 1-2 hours, depending on the quality of the peppers.
4. Place the peppers in a ceramic or glass recipient and keep the ensuing liquid.
5. Evenly distribute the onion over the top..
6. Strain the liquid above the onions and then discard the spices.
7. Add olive oil and let marinate for 30 minutes.
Canning 
If you want to can your pickled chipotles follow these directions: 
1. Transfer the chipotles to 6 sterilized 6 oz jars. Make sure to leave ½ -inch headspace and that there is no food in the headspace (food particles may interfere with sealing).

2. Cap the jars for processing by fitting a screw band snugly over the jar rim and lid.


3. Fill a water bath canner halfway with water. Place the jars in the rack. Make sure the water covers the jars at least by 1 inch.


4. Cover the canner and bring the water to boil. Once the water starts boiling, process for 20 minutes.


5. Place the processed jars on kitchen towels. Let them rest until they cool down. The lids will pop and become concave, indicating the jars are sealed. If the lid doesn’t pop and doesn’t look concave, reprocess the jar with a new lid or refrigerate and eat in the next few days.


6. Canned chipotles should be kept in a dark place up to a year.
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