- 8 large dried guajillo chiles or New Mexico chiles, stemmed, seeded, coarsely torn
- 1/2 medium onion, halved lengthwise through core end
- 1 to 2 chipotle chiles and 1 to 2 teaspoons adobo from canned chipotles in adobo
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
Place torn chiles in bowl. Add 2 cups hot water; soak at least 2 hours or overnight. Drain chiles, reserving soaking liquid.
Heat small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic to dry skillet; cook until browned in spots, about 6 minutes for garlic and 10 minutes for onion. Trim core from onion. Place onion and garlic in blender. Add drained chiles, 1 cup soaking liquid, 1 chipotle chile, 1 teaspoon adobo, cilantro, and lime juice; puree until smooth. Add remaining chipotle and 1 teaspoon adobo, if desired; puree. Transfer to bowl. Season to taste with coarse salt. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.
Roasted tomatillo and chile morita salsa
I’m all for simple salsas to dress up any meal of the day. Our dear friend Victor taught me how to make a version of this salsa when I was a newlywed and it’s one that I’ve continued making frequently ever since. You should use tomatillos milperos for this recipe. They’re a smaller variety of tomatillo, no bigger than about 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter. Anything much bigger than that is a larger variety of tomatillo. Tomatillos milperos have a more concentrated flavor, but are less acidic than the larger tomatillos, and have a slightly sweet, mellow taste when roasted. They’re called “milpero” because they’re often grown in the milpas in Mexico—the rows between corn planted in the cornfields.
How to choose tomatillos at the store
You want to choose only tomatillos with dry husks that are snugly enveloping the fruit. Stay away from bruised and shriveled tomatillos, and ones that have loose husks. The husks are green and papery on the outside, and have a sticky, bitter sap on the underside that you have to wash off before cooking or consuming them. Beware tomatillos that have holes (a sign it’s been eaten or infiltrated by a bug), soft spots or brown husks. Tomatillos that are mostly green with purple-hued patches or spots are perfectly fine.
You can refrigerate tomatillos with their husks still on in the refrigerator for up to a month (2 weeks if you peel the husks off) if you store them in a paper bag or something else that won’t gather condensation. If you allow them to sit in a bag with condensation in the produce drawer, they can get moldy within a few days to a week.
How to peel and wash tomatillos
Once you’re ready to peel off the husks and use your tomatillos, you have to wash them because of the sap. If you don’t wash them, they’ll be sticky to the touch and leave an unpleasant, bitter taste in your mouth. Remove the husks and discard them place the tomatillos in a colander and run warm (not hot) water over them. Pick up the tomatillos and rub them with your fingers under running water to wash off the sap. If it’s still sticky, you can use some unscented hand soap or dish soap lathered in your hands and then roll the tomatillos around in your hands and rinse under the water until they’re no longer sticky.
Tips for roasting tomatillos
Be sure to line your pan with aluminum foil. As the tomatillos roast in the oven, they’ll pop and leak a bit. When you throw everything in the blender together, you can just tip the pan and let any liquid run off into the blender, too.
The key ingredient: chile morita
What makes this salsa so good is the spicy, smoky chile in it. Chile morita is a small, dried, smoked red jalapeño. Similar to a chipotle pepper, the morita is smoked for less time and retains its color. Unlike the canned chipotles you might be familiar with, they don’t come in adobo sauce. Most Mexican supermarkets carry them, and you can also buy them online from specialty stores. If they look or feel brittle, or look dull, that means they’re old—don’t buy those. Try to get them as fresh as possible. The chiles can range in color from a red to a deep brownish red and have a slightly fruity flavor, and should have a shiny outer skin.
Although lots of recipes using this dried chile call for it to be rehydrated, this particular salsa is made by lightly toasting the chiles on a comal or skillet and adding them to the blender with the wet ingredients.
To toast the chiles, heat your comal or skillet over medium heat and remove any stems that might still be attached (most of the time they’re already cut down to a stub, and those are OK to leave on). The ones pictured below are how you want them to be. About 30 seconds per side should do the trick you want them to toast and inflate slightly, but not to burn.
I’ve written this recipe with two chiles to start (and a third if you’re new to chiles and brave) because sometimes they can be rather hot for people not used to eating spicy foods. However, if you taste it and think it’s too mild, you can try adding one or two more. I like mine spicy so I usually add three chiles to start and sometimes add a fourth. Remember: a larger chile does not mean it’s hotter, but the more chiles you use, the more red the salsa will look. However, don’t be fooled about the heat factor with a salsa that looks less red—it can still be pretty spicy!
If you find that the salsa gets a little too thick or gels after refrigerating, that’s completely normal. Tomatillos are naturally high in pectin. You can let the salsa come to room temperature and stir in a little bit of water if needed.
A note for those with food allergies or sensitivities: Tomatillos are part of the nightshade family.
Life is but a Dish
Is it too late? Did I get this recipe out JUST in the nick of time for Cinco de Mayo? It’s not too late. It’s never too late for amazing, life changing salsa! ?
So I wanna know. What’s your go-to Cinco de Mayo food. Is it the margs? Burritos? Guac? Salsa? ? This year I’m all about this salsa! It’s SO quick to pull together, packed with flavor and awesome on eeeeeeverything!
I mean you really can’t go wrong with the simple chips and salsa. But once you run outta chips you can throw this on eggs, chicken, steak, you name it!
Homemade fresh salsa really does take the chips and salsa game to a whole new level. To me, it’s like making a homemade dressing vs. store bought. It’s just not the same.
So grab your blender or food processor and whip up this recipe ASAP! Also, check out some of my favorite Cinco de Mayo Recipes below to pair this with!
Smoky Roasted Salsa Recipe
One of my favorite parts of Rebecca’s cookbook is not just the unique ingredient combinations she features for jams and sauces, but the additional recipes of what to make WITH the jars of deliciousness you’ve just canned.
I had a hard time choosing which recipe to share. Her Korean Barbecue Sauce from the book is so utterly expandable you could use it on just about everything and as you know from these two recipes, I’m a huge fan of Korean recipes like this one.
But with the plethora of amazing produce out there right now, and my husband’s penchant for everything hot, I tried her Smoky Roasted Salsa, and I’m telling you, it is a serious winner and my husband couldn’t stop raving about it. So far we’ve had it with chips, nachos and every day with eggs for breakfast. I’ll be using it in another one of her recipes from the book soon, so stay tuned for that.
But first…let’s dip into this salsa.
I found a bounty of tomatillos and Roma tomatoes at the farmers market. But I didn’t get them. And then I regretted it. So I headed to one of our local Mexican markets and hit the jackpot. Tomatillos AND Roma tomatoes for get this: 2 pounds for a dollar. No, I am not kidding. This could be the least expensive canning project I’ve ever done.
The tomatillos (green tomatoes) and Romas are roasted whole in the oven with onion and garlic. No need to peel the garlic or season or oil any of the vegetables. My one recommendation is to line your sheet pans with heavy duty aluminum foil to make for easy clean up. The roasting of the tomatoes makes peeling the Roma’s a cinch and takes away that raw flavor. Rebecca’s instructions were to place on one sheet pan, but I needed two.
While at the Mexican market, I found the guajillo chiles Rebecca instructs to toast in a fry pan and then soak before adding the the blender to get all mixed up with the goodness. But there were no dried chipotle peppers to be found. So instead, I bought a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and used them instead.
I started with 4 chipotle peppers and then added two more after taste-testing my salsa. I also upped the amount of sugar and salt to balance out the additional adobo sauce.
The combination of peppers and tomatoes produced a wonderfully smoky flavor that wasn’t too spicy or overwhelming. In fact next time, I think I might keep 1/4 of the seeds I removed from the guajillo peppers to up the spicy flavor. We shall see!
After a quick whiz in the blender or food processor, cook the salsa for about 15 minutes or so. And then it’s time to start canning.
One of the important tips I took away from Rebecca’s book is to wipe the edges of your glass jars with vinegar rather than water. Vinegar is high in acid so will better keep that pesky bacteria from forming.
Words can't express just how easy this is to make. I mean. I guess they'll have to because that's kind of my job and all that. As for how to make this, the instructions below are really all you need. The only tricky bit involves charring the garlic, and even that's pretty straightforward (you're basically lighting them on fire. but, gently). Do make sure to toast your chilies and to soak them for a little while, as you definitely don't want a salsa with annoying flaky bits of dry chili skin in it. Nobody wants that. Like the look of those tacos above? If you're looking to try it out, that's my recipe for Instant Pot Carnitas con Queso. It's a perfect recipe for this salsa. Go ahead and check it out. I'll wait here.
This recipe is, in some sense, a bit of a hybrid between two recipes that are already pretty similar to begin with: the aforementioned k'uut bi ik from Serious Eats, plus another Yucatecan salsa called Chile Tamulado (which has also been covered by Serious Eats - if I was getting paid for this I'd probably owe them royalties). The recipes differ by using dried or fresh chilies, and the SE Chile Tamulado recipe uses fire-roasted garlic. I looooooove me some garlic, so I decided to incorporate it in my k'uut bi ik recipe. That being said, you can totally omit it if you're not in the mood, or if charring garlic seems like too much work (I have a gas stove, so it's a snap). If you do choose to omit the garlic you can expect a somewhat sharper, fruitier, more chili-centric flavour. Still very good, just a little different.
Needless to say, the chilies are pretty important here. Right out of the gate I'll cover this point: you could use any good dried chilies that you like to make this, and you'd end up with a tasty salsa. But if you're looking for a nice balance between chili-heat and smokiness, I do recommend you track down árbol and morita chilies.
The árbols are a pretty standard hot red chili with a nice fruity profile. If you're looking for substitution ideas you can check out the link to the Pantry Page here.
Morita chilies are one of two types of chipotle pepper. Moritas are distinctively purple-red, with a fairly glossy skin and a smoky, but not overwhelming scent. The second type, the chipotle meco, is a papery, tobacco-brown colour with a much stronger, distinctive smoky flavour. Chipotle mecos are great, but they can be overwhelmingly smoky. If you can't find morita peppers but you can find chipotle mecos, use one or two of those in place of the moritas. For more on chipotle peppers and how to find, choose, and use them, check out this Pantry Page all about the subject.
Seville (Sour) Oranges
One of my favourite ingredients, this recipe (and this one) is a fantastic reason why you shouldn't be afraid to try a new fruit when the opportunity arises. They're not always easy to find however, so if you can't track them down, you can substitute at 1:1:1 mix of grapefruit, orange, and lime juice. The flavour isn't an exact substitute, but it will do the job nicely. For more on finding, choosing, and using Seville Oranges, check out this Ingredient Page.
- 8 ripe plum tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 poblano peppers
- 4 Anaheim chile peppers
- 1 jalapeno chile pepper, or more to taste
- 1 large green bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- ¼ onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon mesquite flavored liquid smoke concentrate (Optional)
Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat.
Rub tomatoes with oil and grill for 10 minutes, turn. Place poblano, Anaheim, jalapeno chiles, and the green pepper on the grill. Grill 5 to 7 minutes per side, being careful not to let them burn. The skins should blister and brown. Remove tomatoes to a separate bowl. Place the chiles and pepper in an airtight container to let them steam while they cool so they're easier to peel.
Peel tomatoes and drain excess liquid. Peel and seed peppers.
Place the tomatoes, chiles, green pepper, cilantro, vinegar, onion, garlic, and salt in the container of a food processor. Pulse 4 or 5 times. Add liquid smoke and more jalapenos if desired. Pulse until salsa is as chunky or smooth as you like.
Great salsa. I roasted the tomatoes under the broiler on a sheet of foil for easy cleanup. Great on eggs and as a dip for tortilla chips. Our friends all loved it. I did find that the recipe only made about two cups, though.
I took the advice of one of the reviewers and blackened the tomatoes under the broiler and it worked just fine. I used 4 jalapeno's and 1 serrano chili as we like it with a kick. Next time I'll use a bit less lime juice tasting as I go b/c I think it was too limey but everyone LOVED it anyway. It had a nice smokey flavor to it. I pureed the canned chipotles and added it to the sauce and I think that is the secret to its roasted flavor. A most excellent salsa that was devoured by my dinner guests as a dip for chips as well as the topping on the tamales! This is a keeper. My husband and I put it on our morning omelet the next day! Very Yummy.
This is a delicious salsa. My husband, who doesn't normally care for tomato-based salsas, says this is now his favorite salsa. I blackened my tomatoes on the grill. Used 2 seeded jalapenos instead of 4 and it still had plenty of kick for me. Didn't have chipotle chile puree so I just added 2 tablespoons of chipotle chile in adobe to the mixture in the food processor and blended everything, then added the lime juice, cilantro and salt. I'll definitely make this again.
Don't ruin your cast iron cookware by charring acidic tomatoes this way. I found it impossible to remove the burnt residue from a favorite cast iron skillet (which was VERY well seasoned). Plus, it was very smoky. Not worth the effort since the end result was only mediocre anyway. Try charring the tomatoes in the broiler or on a grill if you try this recipe.
My husband LOVES Chevy's salsa and said that this recipe comes very close to Chevy's. I think the salsa gets better over time so it is best to do a day or two in advance. I will certainly make this again!
You just have to buy the canned chipotles in adobo and puree them. At least I haven't seen them sold any other way, but I am in a smaller town.
Does anyone know where to find chipotle chili puree? I only see canned chipotle chilis in adobo sauce in the ethnic food section. Thanks.
This was excellent. I have tried other salsas, but the smokiness of this and the garlic flavour was outstanding. It reminds me of the version from Chevy's only better.
Although I did not make this recipe according to the exact specifications (I cut it down to about a third because I only wanted to make about 1 cup), it was absolutely delicious. I actually added about a teaspoon of sugar to make it sweeter. It tasted even better after two days in the refrigerator. I will definitely make this again.
Inspiration for Pasilla Enchilada Sauce
I love creating sauce recipes using different chile varieties , and the smoky flavor of the dried pasillas makes this recipe incredibly delicious!
Now I switch off between this new recipe and the Ancho Chile Enchilada sauce we made last year — which I use on everything from rice and pasta dishes to grilled steak and shrimp — oh yes, and on enchiladas, too!
And check out these super cool snacks from the Don Enrique line at Melissa’s Produce . They’re called Pasta Para Duros and they’re new to me, so I really wanted to share them with you!
Recipe Tips and Substitutions
- If you want extra heat, leave some of the seeds in the peppers.
- If you’re tomatoes are not as sweet as you’d like, add a pinch or two of sugar when you season the salsa.
- While the recipe calls for specific measurements that work very well, when it comes to salsa, generally more or less of any of the ingredients is okay. Feel free to adjust it to suit your taste.
Smoky Corn Salsa. Cooking With Tequila
- 2 large dried chile ancho pods
- 4 ears of fresh corn
- 2 tbs grapeseed oil
- 3/4 cup red onion diced fine
- 3 large cloves of garlic minced
- 1 large jalapeño minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2-1 tsp crushed chile piquin or red pepper flakes
- Juice of 1 large lime
- 1/3 cup white vinegar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 cup silver tequila optional
- 1/2 tbs chile limon seasoning tajin brand
- 2 tbs cilantro chopped
Tried this recipe? Mention @pinaenlacocina or tag #pinaenlacocina!
If you are used to using dried chiles in your recipes like chile piquin or chile de arbol, you can grind down your own red pepper flakes! The first time I prepared this recipe, I used dried chile piquin. It added even more smokt flavor to the recipe. Really tasty!
As you can see from the photos, I use several methods to cook the corn. It just depends on what kind of mood I am in and how much time I have to dedicate to the recipe.
Out of all the large dried red chiles, I find that the chile ancho has the thinnest skin when re-hydrated. It can be chopped by hand easily without worrying that the skins will be tough to chop or chew.
Here is the dried chile piquin, both whole and crushed in my molcajete. A little goes a long way when it comes to this chile pepper. Both the fresh and dried pack a punch of heat and smokiness! It is my absolute favorite chile pepper.
If you are still unsure about adding the tequila, just try adding a few tablespoons to start and let it cook down for a few minutes. Or just sip on it while you are cooking! I have been known to do that myself, lol!
I enjoy using a variety of fresh hot peppers as well. My first choice is always serrano peppers. I also like to buy jalapeños, red fresno, habanero and chile guero when I can find it. The second time I prepared the smoky corn salsa, I added some red fresno. They are all delicious!
The smoky corn salsa was perfect on this corn tortilla quesadilla with plenty of melted Oaxaca cheese and squash blossoms from my little garden.