Larry DiGioia's Black Gold (Orange Chipotle Sauce)

This sauce satisfies the need for a way to use Chipotle peppers in some useful and convenient manner. Anyone who has tried to make whole dried peppers of any kind into something useful has probably suffered the way we did- reconstituting them with water, hot or cold, leaves you with mainly some soggy peppers and bitter, discolored water.

Simply dropping them into a pot of chili as you are getting started will work fairly well, but only to a point. You will get some hotness, but still very little of the smoky Chipotle taste.

Here is a procedure that will yield a sauce that is good for cooking or adding to other recipes, and is also usable directly (not for the faint of heart) on a pizza, or perhaps scrambled eggs or Polenta (to name a few of our favorites.)

10 or 12 dried Chipotle (smoked Jalapeño) peppers
8 or 10 whole pink peppercorns
Approximately 1/2 cup raisins, or volume equivalent to Chipotles
2 tbsp. molasses
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. peanut oil
1 tbsp. water
1 tsp. Grenadine
tsp. orange extract
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of MSG

Take the peppers and, using a sharp knife, cut and/or break them into pieces, discarding the seeds, veins and stems. Chop further until the largest pieces are only pea-sized. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the peppercorns coarsely.

Heat the oil medium-hot in a small, heavy iron skillet, and add the peppers and peppercorns. Scrape and turn the mixture occasionally to evenly coat. Watch very carefully for the mixture to begin to smoke. When that happens, lower the heat to simmer. Be VERY careful not to breathe the fumes!

Pour off any excess oil. Add all other ingredients and simmer, approximately 20 minutes, adding a few drops more water if it becomes too thick.

Transfer to a small food processor and blend into a thick sauce. Refrigerate, expected life = 2 to 3 months.

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