Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Adobo Awareness

Chipotles in adobo sauce is an ingredient we sometimes use in our Mexican cooking. (For example, it's called for in the recipe for Chipotle Chicken Fajitas on page 146 of our cookbook, Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking.) While the preparation can vary from country to country, in essence, it is chipotle chiles (smoked jalapeno peppers) stewed in a sauce made with tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, salt and a blend of spices.

In recent weeks, I've received a handful of emails from readers who were startled to find wheat flour listed on the ingredients of their chipotles in adobo sauce. Some preparations - especially Mexican - can include wheat flour in the recipe. It's a good reminder that, as with any prepared food product you buy in the supermarket, always read the ingredients list to confirm that the brand you're buying is indeed gluten-free.

That said, there are a number of widely available brands (and a few more obscure ones) of chipotles in adobo sauce that are gluten-free:

La Costena (We use this regularly in our cooking. It's sold in the United States as "chipotle peppers in adobo sauce" under the La Costena brand.)

* Of course, remember the rule of thumb above, and check the ingredients label, even if you're buying one of these "gluten-free" brands!

The bottom line, though, is that with the right awareness, and the right can of chipotles in adobo sauce, this ingredient can be a tasty and reliably gluten-free member of your cooking arsenal. (Or, you could always make your own chipotles in adobo sauce, but that's for another blog post...)

- Pete


Monica I. said...

I'm in for that recipe when you post it! I have issues with white/distilled vinegar, so making my own with alternates seems to be on the menu.

theMom said...

A somewhat tangential question, probably long...sorry...

When eating in Mexican restaurants, those of the genre I categorize as independent, run by ethnic Mexicans, but probably all getting their stuff from a big Mexican restaurant distributor...Are you with me here on my categorization?

We've found that many of these establishments can cook GF if you talk to them ahead of time and if they are not too busy to use the caution we require. But one of the sauces, either the enchilada or the burrito, is not GF and they need to exchange one for the other.

So after that lengthy intro, here is the question. Do you know which sauce is the one that is typically not GF at this sort of Mexican restaurant? I can never keep the two straight and it saves a little bit of time in explanations if we can be specific about which sauce we need to have them check and for what ingredient.

Since you live in and near metropolitan areas, with lots of choices for genuine homemade artisanal Mexican cuisine, and lots of GF restaurant choices, you may never have need to frequent such places.

But around here, with the nearest city of 66,000 over an hour away, we are glad to settle for these somewhat authentic independent Mexican places. They often offer the best reasonably priced choice for GF family dining when we get "to town."

And to tangent even further, as long as I'm at it, I'll offer a little plug for truly authentic Southwest American cuisine with added artisanal flairs and many GF options, you can't beat the Pasqual's restaurants in Madison, WI. You'll have to try them if your work ever takes you to Madison. The Monroe Street location is the original.

peterbronski said...

Hi Monica... No time frame on when we'll post the recipe, but hopefully in the near future!

Hi Mary... In theory, both an enchilada sauce and a burrito sauce might be thickened with flour and/or wheat gluten. But if I were a betting man, I'd put my money on gluten being in the enchilada sauce.

Cheers, Pete

Anonymous said...

I found a gluten free recipe:

I haven't tried it yet, but it looks like a good substitute. Just make sure the ketchup is gluten free.