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Tales of the Testers: Use This Instead of That

No matter how you spell it, the ground stuff is a worthy, economical substitute for CHIPOTLE en adobo. (Bill Webster -- The Washington Post)

Back in January, I developed a recipe for a quick Spicy White Bean and Pork Tenderloin Chili. To get a big burst of flavor fast, I added chipotle en adobo, only about 1 teaspoon of the sauce from a 3- or 4-ounce can.

The chili turned out great, but I felt a little guilty not freezing the rest of the can’s contents. I tossed 'em.

When I made the chili again for a photo shoot in February, I had forgotten to buy another can of chipotle en adobo. Now, even though readers can’t taste the dishes we’re photographing, I still like to remain true to the recipe.

I reached into my spice cabinet for the ground chipotle pepper. And I found that a mere quarter-teaspoon or so of the stuff gave me the same kick I got from the 1 teaspoon of adobo sauce.

Did it occur to me to share this money-saving, environmentally sound tip with the readers? Sure. Did I remember to include it in my recipe notes? Not so much.

Here’s the kicker: The very first e-mail I received from a Food section reader after that recipe ran asked: “After I use the 1 teaspoon, what do I do with the rest of the chipotle en adobo?”

I told her about the substitution I'd used, saying that a $4 jar of the ground stuff would last through a year's worth of chili, stews and other dishes. She sent me a thank-you note.

That's when I remembered I should have shared the substitution tip with everyone. So here it is. (The chili recipe has been updated in the database, too.)

Ground chipotle pepper is available from Penzeys, at retailers that carry Vanns Spices and from specialty catalogs and stores. (As you can see in the accompanying photo, Vanns can't get the spelling right, but it's the same ingredient.)

One more tip: before I forget: Add the ground spice with care. It's potent.

-- Stephanie Witt Sedgwick

By The Food Section  |  May 8, 2009; 12:30 PM ET
Categories:  Tales of the Testers  | Tags: Stephanie Witt Sedgwick, chili peppers, recipes  
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Sure would like to try the Spicy White Bean and Pork Tenderloin Chili but the link is broken. A little help, please?

Posted by: ceebs | May 8, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Fixed! Happy pork!

Posted by: Joe Yonan | May 9, 2009 12:44 AM | Report abuse

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