Monday, November 17, 2008
It Had a Chipotle Heat!
One of the better gifts I have ever given Mrs. Abbey has been a big rectangular baking stone and a baking peel. They were two things that she has wanted for a long time and two things that I have mostly commandeered for my own uses. I think she has used it to bake bread once since September when she got them and I have used them seven or eight times to make pizza.
Growing up, I thought there was nothing better in this world than Pizza Hut pizza. Then about five or six years ago, either it started getting worse or I developed other tastes and I preferred my own pizza to it. I would bake it in a cookie sheet and life was good. Then September came and I tried a pizza on a baking stone in a screaming hot oven. I was in heaven. Since then, we have had pizza at least once a week on that thing.
Normally we have our pizza on Friday night but last Wednesday, the stars aligned just right. My wife had found a recipe for chipotle chicken pizza in an aisle of the grocery store, I had some leftover chicken that needed to be used up and I had the time to make some dough so that it had time to rise. The recipe was from Pillsbury and called for all their pre-maid stuff, which didn’t interest me, but I had all the raw ingredients and thought I could improvise.
One batch of dough makes four small pizzas about six or eight inches in diameter so I had the first two out of the oven and the third in when my wife got home from work. We sat down and by luck of the draw I took the first bite. It was great but instantly, the inside of my mouth started tingling from the spice. I made a comment to my wife that the pizza had a kick to it and went in for a second bite. The tingling turned into heat and was within seconds so intense that all I could do was suck air through pursed lips in gasps and guzzle down my iced pop to quench the fire. The forehead sweats never even had a time to appear. Even Little Abbey who normally loves spicy foods was whimpering. I gathered up the pizza and threw it away. I have never been so disappointed in my life.
As we heated up some leftovers and drank milk, water and pop to quench the fires in our mouths, I looked to see what had gone wrong. I had never cooked with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce before and had mentally associated them as a smoky mild flavored pepper. Inspecting the can showed no signs that what lay inside was insanely hot. There were no words of warning and only a fairly plain label stating chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Had I read Wikipedia's entry on chipotle peppers first I would have understood and this could have been avoided. But I didn't until after it was all over with and we were lucky enough to still be alive.
I next checked the recipe from the store that I had just lightly skimmed before doing my own thing. There I found my mistake. What I had thought said to chop up 1/2 to 1 (7oz) can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce actually read chop 1/2 - 1 pepper FROM a (7oz) can of chipotle peppers. There had been five or six peppers packed into that small seven ounce can and I had chopped up the entire lot of over ripened and smoke dried jalapeno chilies packed in a sauce.
So I did what had to be done. I made a special trip to the grocery store for some more chicken and made pizza the very next night except this time I used regular green peppers and instead of adobo sauce I used my all time favorite smoky barbecue sauce called Cookie's BBQ Sauce. It was heavenly and since it was cooked on a baking stone, it was the way pizza was intended to be cooked. As a bonus, I could eat it without gasping for error and liquids!