Fashioned after a friend’s recipe for lime crema, which she uses as an awesome finishing touch on her chili, this easy sauce adds the smoky heat of a chipotle pepper. The spiced-up version is perfect for chili and most anything based on south-of-the-border flavors.
I use this versatile condiment on a couple of recipes that are coming very soon. Because its uses are many, I wanted to share it as its own unique recipe. Reach for it anytime you want to add a punch of flavor. Though chipotles are spicy, the sour cream tames the heat and the amount of pepper can be adjusted to personal preference.
Use it on chicken, fish, chili… it also makes a super tasty dip for sweet potato fries!
Yields 1+ cup.
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce plus 1 teaspoon of sauce (see notes* for details and substitution option)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice plus the zest of 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Blend all of the ingredients in a jar with an immersion blender or using a regular blender or food processor. Scrape down the sides, as needed, blending until the mixture is smooth. (If you’d like to cut this recipe in half, I recommend not using a regular blender or food processor because the smaller portion is almost not enough to catch in the blending mechanism and fully blend. As an option, mince the garlic and chipotle by hand. Wear rubber gloves or wash your hands immediately after handling the pepper.)
The crema may be prepared in advance and refrigerated, where it will keep for 5 to 7 days.
- The lime will be easier to zest when cold but will be easier to juice at room temperature. Once zested, you may warm the lime in the microwave for 20 seconds if you have trouble squeezing a full two tablespoons from the cold lime.
- * I have used chipotle chili powder as a quick substitute for the chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. In this case, I recommend starting with 1/2 teaspoon and adding more to taste.
- * Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are jalapeño peppers that have been smoked and canned in a red sauce. Small cans (often 7-ounce) can be found in the international aisle of most large grocery stores. Freeze leftover chipotle peppers individually with some of the sauce in an ice cube tray or in foil cupcake liners. Once frozen, transfer to a zip-top bag for future use. If gluten-free, make sure to check the can of chipotles in adobo to make certain it does not contain wheat.
- In terms of spiciness, one chipotle pepper puts this sauce in the medium-hot range. If you think that may be too spicy, start with half a pepper. Once the mixture is fully blended, taste and adjust to preference, adding sauce and/or additional pepper as desired. (Most of the heat is in the actual pepper as that is where the seeds are.) If you prefer more spice than the one pepper called for, feel free to add another chipotle pepper and/or more sauce. For more lime flavor, add more zest. For more tang from the lime, add an extra squeeze of juice, and so on.
For another healthy, satisfying way to enjoy the smoky flavor of chipotle chili peppers, you may wish to try Chipotle Turkey Lentil Chili…and a dollop of the crema would be a delightful finishing touch!