A few weeks ago, I was the late one to a group dinner at a pizzeria in town called Biga, so I texted my friends to tell them to order without me. When I arrived, they told me they’d one of the house combos, a pizza topped with bacon, sweet potato, maple-chipotle dressing, and macadamia nuts. I would never have ordered this. Macadamia nuts? Maple-chipotle? Sweet potatoes on a pizza? I’ll never be late again, I vowed.
Just a few minutes later, I was eating my words, along with a second and then a third slice of pizza. The bacon and maple-chipotle sauce were a divine combination, fatty and salty and sweet, reminiscent of maple syrup breaking its dam and flooding your breakfast meat. I couldn’t get enough of the sauce especially, the way it combined a little smoke and amber richness and a slow, sweet heat.
The sauce was not only delicious, it was inspirational. It started me down on a whole experiment with sweet chipotle sauces, whose results I am prepared to share with you now. (I did reach out to Biga’s owner to ask for the original recipe; he declined, citing trade secrets. Understandable.)
Ultimately, I found that fried foods—chicken, tater tots, popcorn shrimp—are the best candidates for a sweet chipotle drizzle, though it’s great on the original pizza as well. I also ended up swapping out maple syrup in favor of honey, which tastes lighter in its sugariness and allows more of the chipotle to shine through. I would recommend using a good-quality honey, though, as you want those floral, amber flavors instead of just straight corn-syrupy sugar.
Makes one serving
- 3 Tbsp. wildflower honey
- 1/2 tsp. sauce from one can chipotles in adobo
- Short squirt of ketchup, maybe 1/2 tsp.
- Salt to taste
Over medium-low heat, stir together 1 Tbsp. honey and 2 Tbsp. water in a small pan until honey dissolves. Add remaining 2 Tbsp. honey, stirring. (Adding the honey in stages helps it more easily dissolve.) Scoop some of the chipotle peppers and their sauce from the can into a mesh strainer over the pan, crushing the peppers to extract a 1/2 tsp. of liquid. Squirt in a quick fsshhht of ketchup, stir contents of the pan, and add salt to taste. Remove from heat, let cool slightly, and drizzle over fried foods.