Amped Up Adobo

By • April 20, 2011 • 29 Comments



Author Notes: When the coffee recipe contest was announced I knew I wanted to do a savory dish. My mind instantly went to molé, but my research ended up taking a turn toward adobo. Coffee seemed like a great match for the smoky, spicy, sweet, and tangy Latin American barbeque sauce. I used the adobo recipe from Mesa Mexicana by Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger as the backbone of my recipe. I've replaced the chicken stock in the original recipe with strong brewed coffee. I've also added additional spices, and used a mix of dried chiles for increased depth of flavor. The resulting adobo makes a great marinade for pork or chicken, and I recommend grilling the marinated meat after it's had a good 3 or 4 hour soak. - hardlikearmourhardlikearmour

Food52 Review: Those of you who don't like it spicy might be turned off by the first three ingredients, but don't be! In actuality, the peppers provide intense flavor without intense heat. Using this sauce for grilled chicken, I shared this recipe with some friends and we ALL loved it. When I divulged what was in the sauce everyone was surprised. One friend doesn't like cinnamon (?) and my husband doesn't like coffee, but you can't pick those flavors out. It all just works together to make a delicious sauce. - nannydebnannydeb

Makes about 3 & 1/2 cups

  • 4 ancho chiles (dried)
  • 4 guajillo chiles (dried)
  • 1-2 dried chipotle chiles
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 & 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 T)
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 & 1/2 cups strong brewed coffee
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 & 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Using kitchen shears remove stems from chiles, and cut down one side of each chile. Open chiles and remove seeds. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Heat the chiles until softened and just beginning to change color - turning several times to prevent burning. You will need to do this in batches. Place the toasted chiles in a medium sauce pan.
  2. Add vinegar and water to the saucepan with the chiles. Heat to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes to soften the chiles. Toss the chiles occasionally to ensure they all get soft. Allow mixture to cool for 5 or 10 minutes before proceeding.
  3. Transfer chiles and cooking liquid to work bowl of food processor or blender. Blend until a paste has formed, scraping sides of bowl once or twice during the process. Leave work bowl on processor.
  4. Wipe out the saucepan you used for soaking the chiles, then heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, and cook, stirring occasionally until softened and starting to brown (8 to 10 minutes.) Add cumin, cinnamon, coriander, and garlic, and cook until fragrant, stirring continuously, about 30 to 60 seconds. Add coffee to deglaze the pan. Transfer onion mixture to the work bowl of the food processor with the chile paste. Process until fully blended about 30 to 60 seconds, scraping down the bowl once or twice in the process.
  5. Transfer chile mixture to the saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes. You will want to use a spatter shield or partially cover the pot for this step.
  6. While the chile mixture is simmering, combine the brown sugar, lime juice, orange juice, tomato paste, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Whisk until fairly homogenous (it's okay if little bits of the tomato paste don't want to incorporate.) Add the mixture to the simmering chile mixture. Simmer an additional 15 to 20 minutes (again with the spatter shield.)
  7. Transfer to a storage container and allow to cool to room temperature before covering and refrigerating. Will keep in the fridge for about a week, and much longer in the freezer.

Tags: smoky, spicy, sweet, tangy

Comments (29) Questions (1)

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about 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

This sounds amazing. I actually don't like a huge amount of heat this sounds perfect.

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks! With one chipotle it's warm, not hot. I love, love, love it on pork tenderloin (which I know you're a fan of!) and it's great on chicken as well.

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about 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I would love on pork, just bought a tenderloin today. Will try it!

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over 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Oh My Stars - I just made a batch of this and it is FABULOUS - perfect balance of heat and sweet and rich and a hint of bitter - LOVE it! I am glad it makes a decent amount so I can use it a bunch in the next few days!!! SO excited to add this to my repetoire - thanks for an awesome recipe!!!

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over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Wow! It means a lot to me that a fabulous cook like yourself tried my recipe and liked it! Thanks for your input! You made my day.

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over 3 years ago dymnyno

I can hardly wait to try this!

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over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, dymnyno! It's makes a great barbeque marinade. Do let me know if you try it (and also which wines you'd pair with it.)

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over 3 years ago VanessaS

Yum, sounds great!

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over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, VanessaS! My husband and I certainly enjoyed it.

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

You've done it again! This sounds absolutely phenomenal!!

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over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks! We just finished the last of the grilled adobo chicken breasts tonight, and I'm already feeling sad.

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over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, all! Had a really long day at work, and it's nice to get home and have supportive comments from so many stellar food52ers!

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

This is a totally inspired recipe! Looking forward to trying it out ASAP!

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over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Thanks for creating a savory recipe!! It sounds really great.

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over 3 years ago Midge

This sounds amazing!! Look forward to trying it if and when grilling season ever gets here.

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over 3 years ago TiggyBee

This sounds great!! I've been tinkering around with coffee for the past few days and am thinking I should switch to tea.

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over 3 years ago Panfusine

wow, what a versatile sauce, just scrolling down the ingredient list is making me drool!!...
I could just add this to some stir fried veggies & scoop it over some steaming Basmati Rice,

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over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

I think that would be great! It's got a pretty bold chile flavor, so if you give it a try with the veggies let me know how you like it. I was thinking about coating some potato wedges with it, and tossing them on the grill, but time got away from me last night!

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over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

You just gave me an awesome idea. I bet it would be amazing to toss this with some sweet potato cubes and roast them.

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over 3 years ago Panfusine

As soon as I get my hands on those varieties of dried Chiles,I definitely will make this Sauce!

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over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I'd like to eat a bucket of it all alone. You've created something of great depth and brightness. Wonderful!

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over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thank you, boulangere. I wasn't sure about it when I tasted it alone, but when I ate the marinated and grilled pork and chicken I was completely sold.

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over 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

YUM! A gal after mine own heart with this one.

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over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

LOL, aargersi! I think you'd want to add extra chipotles, though.

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over 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

You know how I am ... :-)

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Great job. I love the citrus notes in this with the chilies.

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over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, Sagegreen! The citrus adds a little sweet and a little sour to the mix, and does round out the smoky, spicy, slightly bitter flavor from the chiles.

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

YUM! I absolutely love this and bet it would be delicious on ribs.

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over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, gingerroot! I bet it would be great with ribs, too.