(Which leads me to ask another rhetorical question: Do you know people who couldn't care less about food? The people who just eat whatever is convenient and don't think about it a moment before or a moment afterwards? I don't get it, I think about what I'm going to eat all day, every day, to the point of distraction.)
So, back to the cravings question. I wake up with cravings for a handful of things:
2. Spaghetti Bolognese
4. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese
5. Super Salad
6. Chipotle Carnitas Burrito
If you know me, you may be surprised that a carnitas burrito is on that list, but about eight years ago, when I started dating Anson, we went to Chipotle occasionally for lunch and I tried his carnitas. Oh wow. That was good.
So I started ordering my own carnitas burritos instead of chicken. That was the gateway. Then I tried a little of his Chipotle hot sauce--the hot Tomatillo-Red Chile sauce. Oh wow. That was hot. But it was good. Now I was hooked.
The hot sauce added an element to the burrito that heightened all the flavors and got my taste buds tingling. As someone who had never used hot sauce of any sort, I was surprised at how much a little heat could add. And I'm not gonna lie, at first I asked for the sauce on the side, and added little dabs to the burrito. Now I just let them put a whole scoop right inside the burrito--I can handle it.
I have been pre-occupied with recreating the Chipotle hot sauce at home for several years now. (Really, how often can I - or should I - eat at Chipotle and avoid going up yet another jeans size?) So, after a couple versions that were nothing close, I decided to Google the recipe. Surely Stephanie Manley would have made a Copykat recipe? Or Chipotle has probably published their recipe, right? Nope and nope.
The best I could find was from a website called Chipotle Fan and even among the contributors there was much disagreement. So I started with a recipe, submitted by "Snake8b" (?) and began to experiment. I made some changes and, after several batches, I think what I came up with is pretty close. I am reserving the right to revise, so I'm going to call this one Chipotle Hot Sauce v.1. Let me know what you think!
Start with tomatillos and a jalapeno. Don't take out the seeds, that's good heat!
Here's what the jalapenos, tomatillos, onion, garlic and spices will look like after about 5 minutes.
These are the dried chiles, the leathery guajillo on the left, the spicy little arbol on the right. Cut off the stems before you add them to the pot.
The tomatillos will be pretty mushy and the dried chiles will have softened up after about 15 minutes of cooking.Chipotle Hot Sauce v.1
4 tomatillos (golfball sized), quartered
1 fresh jalapeno, roughly sliced
1/4 onion (baseball sized)
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
2 dried guajillo chiles
30 dried arbol chiles
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Take the papery cover off the tomatillos and wash them to get the sticky stuff off. Slice in quarters and roughly slice the jalapeno*. Heat the oil in a big saucepan over medium heat and saute the tomatillos, jalapenos, onion and garlic for about 3 minutes. Make sure not to let the seeds burn. Add the salt, oregano and cumin and saute for another 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the stems off the dried chiles and chop the guajillo into 1-inch pieces. Add them to the pot, along with the water and vinegar, after the spices have become fragrant. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes over low heat. Take the lid off and cook until everything is soft and most of the water is cooked off. You will need to keep enough liquid to blend it all together, about 1/2 cup.
Let the pot cool for about 15 minutes, until it is safe to throw in the blender. Puree it until smooth (you will see flecks of chile still), transfer to an air-tight container and store in the fridge. I imagine this would last several weeks, but it's never lasted that long in my house.
Makes about 2 cups.
*Be careful not to touch your eyes after you slice the jalapenos; you may want to wear gloves if you are sensitive to hot peppers.