I really like Chipotle (the restaurant). I know, I know, the burritos ain’t good for ya. Over 1,000 calories, lots of sodium, fat and cholesterol, and I never feel good after eating a whole one. But I feel great while I’m eating it. Delicious.
As a restaurant chain, they also get brownie points for being conscious of dietary restrictions. Everything but the meat and pinto beans are vegetarian (no rennet used in the cheese), everything but the taco shells are gluten free and they do a good job of buying local and from sustainable farmers. They claim to buy a larger percentage of naturally raised meat than any other restaurant chain in the county, and I don’t doubt that.
Don’t listen to those who say it’s far worse than a Big Mac. As they say, haters gonna hate.
But until a few weeks ago, I never really thought about what an actual chipotle chile is. Turns out, it’s a jalapeno.
Apparently (and this is from Wikipedia, so if I’m wrong, it’s not my fault), jalapeno farmers pick and sell unripe green peppers early in the season and we buy those at grocery stores and produce stands and pickled in jars. Then, later in the season, the peppers turn bright red and are picked and sold as fresh peppers in the US and Mexico. At the end of the season, the peppers that are left usually begin to turn brown and shrivel.
Those are the chipotle peppers. They are picked and then smoked, and you can buy them dry or canned.
I’ve cooked with ’em twice. Once for this recipe and another time, where I famously (to my wife, at least) misread “add one canned chipotle pepper” for “add one can chipotle peppers.” I added the whole can to a soup. The whole can. Tasted like lava.
But it’s an easy mistake to make. It was a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, which smells sort of barbeque-y, not spicy. So keep that in mind if you try out this recipe. You need one PEPPER, not one CAN.
Here’s what you need:
- Tortilla chips
- 1 cup shredded cheese (your call on the type)
- 1 can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 small onion
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- 7 oz (or half a 14 oz can) diced tomatoes with basil and garlic
- 1 tomato (diced)
- Shredded lettuce (optional)
- Sour cream (optional)
- Guacamole (bought or homemade)
Here’s what to do:
Step 1) Add diced onion and red peppers to a pan with a little olive oil. Simmer until the onions become translucent (about 5 minutes).
Step 2) Add in one finely diced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, plus another spoonful or two of the adobo sauce. Add in the drained/rinsed pinto beans. Add in the diced tomatoes. Let it mingle for a few minutes, until everything is blended and hot and the mixture has reduced.
Step 3) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Step 4) Spread chips on a cookie sheet and top first with cheese and then with the onion/pepper/bean/chipotle mixture.
Step 5) Bake for 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
Step 6) Remove and top with diced tomato and lettuce, sour cream and guacamole.