Salsa Roja: Red Chile-Tomatillo Salsa

Total Time:
20 min
Prep:
10 min
Cook:
10 min

Yield:
about 1 3/4 cups

Ingredients
  • 1/2 ounce small hot dried chiles, stemmed
  • 6 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 pound (10 to 12 medium-size) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • Salt
  • Sugar, about 1/2 teaspoon (optional)
Directions

Note on chiles: This is one of the most versatile formulas to know, since you can go to practically any grocery store and find at least one variety of small hot dried chile. In a Mexican market (on either side of the border), the possibilities multiply quickly ? from the nuttiness of cascabel to the punch of arbol chiles, the peanutiness of piquin, and the smoky sweetness of red chipotles (morita). As a rough guide, 1/2 ounce dried chiles corresponds to 6 red chipotles (mortas), 4 tan chipotles, 16 arbols, 3 cascabels or 1/4 cup piquin.

Toasting and roasting. Preheat a broiler.

In an ungreased skillet over medium heat, toast the chiles, stirring for 1 minute, until they are very aromatic (some will have slightly darkened spots on them). Transfer to a bowl, cover with hot water and rehydrate for 30 minutes.

In the same skillet, roast the garlic, turning regularly, until soft and blotchy-dark in places, about 15 minutes. Cool and slip off the papery skin.

Roast the tomatillos on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler until soft, even blackened in spots, about 5 minutes on each side. Cool, then transfer the contents of the baking sheet (including any juices) to a blender or a food processor.

Finishing the salsa: Drain the chiles and add to the tomatillos along with the garlic. Puree, then scrape into a serving dish. Stir in enough water to give a spoonable consistency, usually about 1/4 cup. Season with salt, usually 1 teaspoon, and the optional sugar. Refrigerated, the salsa keeps for several days.


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4.8 6
I live in south phila, close to many Mexican eateries with homemade chips and salsa's and daily specials. Places where you walk in and telemundo is playing and they open at 7am everyday. I went to the same spot about 250 times over the last ten years and they used to make this very salsa. I loved it, over beans and rice or pork tacos at 9am or 11pm this is the bomb. Enchilladas here i COME! Over the years though their roja became more and more tomato'e to to point where it was disgusting. I regularly make a verde at home because i just cant stop. ExceptI roast everything for that too, onions garlic peppers tomatillos. Anyway they blamed it on the gringos not liking the heat. I cant agree, i'm of Scandinavian decent and i think salsa with tomatoes is like calling throw up food. I just made this with chipoltes/moritas and I love it. Ps. This is my first review of any recipe online ever and i'm 28 and love to cook. REAL DEAL, HOLLYFIELD! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Excellent... I used 1/2 Arbol & 1/2 New Mexico chiles in our recipe. Didn't need any water at all, perfect consistency for us. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Cascabel is my favorite so far. 1 bag plus one ancho, and a few arbol, Japone, or pequin for some warmth. Very mild for my wife and I. My oldest loves the batch with straight pequin. Very hot will cut in half next time with a larger chili for flavor. One quarter cup way to hot for me now but 20 years ago I would have loved it. Have more kinds of dried chilies to try out. Morita and Chipotle next up. Hard to find many of the chilies but Mexican and Vietnamese markets in our area had all of the dried chilies. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Really good. Really complex. Really simple. I used the dried chipotles. Definiate keeper. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this recipe first using arbols (8) to what I thought was a half-pound of tomatillos and 3 cloves of garlic. However, after checking my receipt I noticed the grocer's scale was way off and I really had a pound. So it wasn't as spicy and not nearly as red as it should have been. However, it was still great and a big hit. So the next time I made it I used dried tan chipotles - stemmed and seeded, toasted and soaked. The full 6 cloves of garlic, and better tomatillos from a local ranch market. Wow. An incredible taste that's clearly salsa but nothing like 'regular' tomato mush in a jar. Please note, this recipe calls for dried chiles, not the chipotles in adobo from a can that Rick uses so often on his show. That would indeed make the recipe way too hot and the flavor of the tomatillos would probably be hidden. Also, it doesn't take much sugar to sweeten if the tomatillos are fresh and ripe. Again, a great recipe. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I cooked this with the original recipe first and lost an entire batch because it was far too hot to eat. It was as if the entire dish was coated in habanero sauce. I generally like spicy food but this gave me a headache, etc. I had enough of the ingredients left to make a second batch and modified it as follows: Use 2-5 peppers from the can of peppers, plus ALL of the adobo sauce. The adobo sauce carries nearly all the flavor, without the heat. Also,add a teaspoon of brown sugar to the sauce. With these modifications the recipe was much better. item not reviewed by moderator and published