Update: We have since found that storing this sauce in a squeeze bottle makes applying it to foods much easier. If you plan on using it as a dip, it’s still handy to have in a jar, but for putting on tacos, tostadas, sandwiches, pretzel sticks and finger tips, the squeeze bottle is your best friend!
Have you ever read a recipe and thought, “I must go make that this very instant!”? That’s what happened when I read about Smoked Paprika and Chipotle Sauce and Lemons in Salt made by her friend on Shauna Ahern’s glorious blog, Gluten Free Girl. Creamy dip/dressing/perfume -whatever you want to call it- it delivered on every high hope I had for it. But first…
Let me tell you a little story about delayed gratification.
There are three key ingredients in the recipe that I thought I might hold me up on getting the sauce in my mouth A.S.A.P.: smoked paprika, chipotles in adobo, and lemons in salt.
I mail ordered the smoked paprikawith no hesitation. I knew there was zero chance that any of our local places would carry it. Hello Amazon. You’re so good to me.
I grabbed a couple lemons at the little corner store in town and salted them the very day I read Shauna’s recipe. No problemo. We were on our way.
Now herein lies the rub.
You all know I don’t live in a teeming metropolis. I don’t even live near a sleepy urban center. The closest thing I have is a pretty well-stocked limited grocery store in a town off the expressway twenty five minutes away. This store has an exceptional selection of health foods, produce, micro-brew and imported beers, hispanic foods and other goodies. I figured it was my “in” to get the sauce made. There was no way they couldn’t have chipotles in adobo, right?*
*Grammar Law #1. You will always fail when you think in double negatives.
As soon as I could reasonably conjure up a reason to go to that town (chicken feed? drop off a check at the bank? stop by the other Amish store for canning lids?) I hopped on over and hit the grocer’s feeling confident that I would be leaving the store with a couple cans of chipotles in adobo. I didn’t see them on the shelf, but I still had faith. When the clerk said, “Did you find everything alright today?” I answered with a chipper, “No, but I’m sure I overlooked it. Could you tell me where the chipotles in adobo are?”
My first clue that my dreams for that evening were in trouble came when she looked at me and said, “Our what?”
Me: “Chipotles in adobo.”
Her: “I have NO idea what you mean, ma’am.”
She called me ma’am.
Me: “They’re usually in the Mexican foods section in most stores.”
Her: “I could ask the manager if you’d like!”
Me, salvaging a little hope: “Oh yes, please!”
Her to manager: “This lady would like something in something. What was that ma’am?”
Again with the ma’am.
Me: “Chipotles in adobo?”
Manager: “I have NO idea what you mean, ma’am.”
I left with my head and heart low and a firm resolution to check Amazon for chipotles in adobo and wrinkle cream as soon as I got home.
I ordered my stuff from Amazon.com and waited patiently (if you call panting at the door waiting patiently) for UPS to deliver the goods. Two days later, the man in brown dusted himself of the grass clippings that somehow stuck to his uniform when I accidentally tackled him to grab my parcel. I had everything.
And in what you might think would be a anticlimactic moment, I had the sauce made in less than five minutes. I’m here to tell you the real excitement, even with all that build up, was the first moment I tasted the sauce. I decided to be genteel and forgo dragging my finger through the blender jar. I used a very classy pretzel stick for the dunking. Then I tried another one. And a few more. Next I tried carrot sticks and the little corner of a tortilla.
It is creamy, thick, smooth, smoky, lemony, garlicky and then at the back of it, it’s just spicy enough to make it worth eating. In the coming days, I served it as a sauce on grilled chicken, tossed with pasta, spread on hamburgers, thinned out as salad dressing, and as a chip and French fry dip. Every single way I served it blew my mind.
This is now a regular part of our condiment repertoire. In fact, I have a designated container for “The Sauce” as it is known in our household. When “The Sauce” gets low, a chorus of voices reminds me that I need to make more.
It is that good.
If you need help locating the good stuff for this recipe you can follow the links below to my beloved Amazon. They never let me down.
Disclosure: Amazon did not pay me to say this. They didn’t even send me a free can of chipotles in adobo. I do, however, have a little agreement with them. If you click on either of the links to order through Amazon, I get a teensy commission. It’s about enough over the course of the year to purchase said chipotles in adobo.
La Moreno Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, 7-Ounce Tins (Pack of 6)
Smoked Paprika and Chipotle Sauce
- 2 cups mayonnaise 16 ounces
- 1 to 3 chipotles in adobo from a can, use a bit of the sauce, too.
- 3 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 2 garlic cloves peeled, coarsely chopped
- 1/2-2 teaspoons preserved lemon peel in salt to taste, minced
- IMPORTANT NOTE: It IS possible to overprocess this sauce. If you let it go too long in the blender, the mayonnaise will 'break' and separate. You don't want that to happen, so only process 'til smooth! Oh, and I find that little tiny bits of chipotle in the sauce are quite pleasant!
- Combine all ingredients in the blender jar and let it run on high until smooth. Scrape into a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve. This stores very well in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed jar.
So let me talk about Lemons in Salt for a moment. Make this. Make it now. Today. And make a lot of it, because once you have it in your kitchen you’ll wonder what you did without it. The salt draws moisture from the lemons and makes them mellow and soft and deep in flavour. The salt is a bonus. When you make the lemons preserved in salt you automatically have lemon finishing salt for meals and dishes, too.
I’ve stuffed these lemon peels in the cavities of roasting chickens, chopped it up and added it to marinated salads, and my mom ate the salty lemon peels like a snack. Yes she did. Repeatedly. But we’ll talk about that later. Just make some.
Lemons in Salt
- Lemon peels that have been juiced and trimmed of most pulp
- kosher salt
- Cut the lemon peel into slices. The size and shape is unimportant, it's just to make it take up less room in a mason jar.
- Add the lemon peels to a mason jar and cover with a great deal of kosher salt.
- Add the lid to the jar and shake well.
- Pour more salt in if necessary to cover the lemon peels. Let set at room temperature and use as needed.
- Replenish the lemon peels whenever you juice more lemons.