What I love about salsa is that there are so many types, each with its own unique character. Some use red tomatoes, some use green, some use both, and some don’t use any at all. Then, there is an endless variety of chile peppers to add, both fresh and dry, in order to enhance the flavor. And after, you have to consider how the salsa will be prepared. Will the ingredients be roasted or fresh? Will you blend everything using a molcajete (Mexican mortar and pestle) or a blender? My head is just spinning with all of the possibilities that are out there.
One of my favorite things about eating tacos on the street in Mexico is sampling the myriad of salsas at the stand. Now, as I mentioned before I tend toward the red salsas. I think I’m ultimately attracted to their deep red color, but I also think that they are multi-dimensional in terms of flavor. It’s like, “Oh, what’s that I taste? Roasted tomato? No, wait…garlic. Oh, but now I taste that hint of cilantro. And…is there lime juice in here, too?” Red salsas are mysterious and alluring.
And, I think one of the must seductive salsas out there is that which contains some chipotle chile. There is something about the smokiness from the chipotles (smoked, dried jalapeños) and the heat that they give off that puts an enchantment on the whole salsa.
This salsa is precisely of that bewitching category. It contains six chiles morita (dried chipotle chiles that are dark purple in color) and a combination of green and red tomatoes. And as if that wasn’t enough, there are some chiles de árbol scattered in to add another layer of heat.
Now, if you don’t like smoky barbecue type food, then this salsa is probably not for you. But, you could always play around with the amount of chiles morita to create a salsa that’s a little more subtle in chipotle flavor, but equally enticing. And, if that works out for you, I would love to know 🙂
Chipotle Chile Sauce (Makes 2-3 cups)
Click here for printable recipe.
5 tomatillos, husks removed and washed of sticky residue
2 plum tomatoes
3 slices of white onion (equivalent to about 2 TBSP, but don’t chop them up)
6 dried chiles morita, with stems removed (you could also use 3-4 canned chipotle chiles)
1 clove of garlic, peeled
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
→Turn on the broiler of your oven. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Place the tomatillos, plum tomatoes, and onion on the pan. Place under broiler and cook for about 10-15 minutes, using tongs to turn the vegetables once. The tomatoes and onion should be slightly charred and juicy.
→On a comal or flat griddle, roast the chiles morita, chiles de árbol, and the garlic clove until slightly blackened. Do not roast these for too long or the flavor of the chiles will become bitter.
→After the chiles and the garlic have been roasted, place them in a small saucepan filled with water. Bring the chiles to a boil and then turn off the heat. Cover them with a lid and let them steep for 5 minutes. This allows them to plump up slightly before being blended.
→Once all of the ingredients have been cooked, place them in the blender. Discard the water used to boil the chiles/garlic, as you will not need it for the salsa. Add the salt and pulse until the salsa begins to come together. Then blend on high for about 1 minute until all of the ingredients are smooth.
→Serve with chips or as a sauce for tacos.
- If you have never used tomatillos before, they are usually covered by a green papery husk. Simply remove the husk. You will notice that the tomato is slightly sticky after taking off the husk. If you just run it under some cool water and rub it between your hands, you will be able to remove that stickiness.
- There are two common types of dried chipotle chiles—the chile morita and the chile meco. The chile morita is far more common and is a dark purplish color. It kind of looks like a big raisin and will smell smoky. If you cannot find dried chipotle chiles, you can use jarred ones. For some reason, I think canned chipotles tend to be spicier. If you do not like the smoky flavor of chipotles, try adding fewer.
- I used kitchen scissors to cut off the top of the chipotle morita where the stem was.
Recipe Source: Adapted from Cocina al Natural by Sonia Ortiz via the Cocina y Comparte blog