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Smoky Chipotle Tzatziki

There are few dips that could fall into the “healthy” category these days; most are laden with mayo, sour cream and cream cheese. Tzatziki, on the other hand, makes the most of thick plain yogurt – preferably the Greek kind. This twist has a bit of a kick thanks to smoky chipotle chiles – from a bottle or can, or powdered, if you can find some.

Tzatziki is infinitely versatile; use it to dress up anything from Mediterranean-style wraps to lamb burgers, grilled shrimp kabobs or roasted fish. Or serve it with pita chips or veggies for dipping.

Plain yogurt, preferably thick Greek-style, is far superior to runny low fat or fat free varieties, which are often thickened using gelatin or other stabilizing agents. If you like, strain your yogurt through some cheesecloth for several hours to thicken it. If you want to go for authenticity, try using plain goat milk yogurt.

Smoky Chipotle Tzatziki

If you like, add some chopped fresh mint or dill, or a drizzle of good olive oil.

1/2 English cucumber
1 2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups good quality plain yogurt, preferably Greek-style
1-2 tsp. chopped chipotle chilies en adobo (or a few shakes of chipotle hot sauce)
salt and pepper to taste

Grate the cucumber with a box grater onto a double thickness of paper towel. Gather up the cucumber in the towel and squeeze out as much excess water as you can.

Combine cucumber, garlic, yogurt, chipotle chilies, salt and pepper in a bowl and stir until well blended. If you like, add a squeeze or lemon. The garlic flavor will intensify the longer it sits. Makes 2 1/2 3 cups.

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