~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Monday, April 30, 2012

2 Simple Salsas....Salsa Roja and Tomatillo with Smoky Chipotle Salsa


2 Simple Salsas... Salsa Roja( Guajillo Chile Salsa) and Tomatillo and Smoky Chipotle Salsa.
I'm glad I picked up a cookbook from my bookshelf the other day. And even though I've looked through my cookbooks many times, I still enjoy grabbing an armful of cookbooks and plopping on the sofa to re-read them. There's always a new recipe that I missed before... or an old recipe that I meant to make, but never got the chance. New technology has now made recipes available at the click of a button. It's easier... no need to store books. But every so often I miss leafing through cookbooks... there's nothing like having the hard copy in my hands.

I don't know about you, but when I have the chance to eat at a Mexican restaurant, I look forward to the chips and salsa. I probably enjoy the salsas more than the actual meal:). The salsas are so different in texture and flavor. Not one is alike.

When it comes to making my own salsas at home, I've often limited myself to making the usual salsas that involve fresh tomatoes, fresh jalapenos, an onion, some cilantro and a bit of lime juice... or pico de gallo. And from time to time, I may make the salsa verde, guacamole, or the black bean and corn salsa.... even the quick, budget-friendly avocado sauce. They are all excellent. But recently I managed to make 2 different salsas, opening the door to a new way of making salsa for me... using various chiles to add depth and flavor.

I've learned that in order for a good salsa to gain that depth of flavor, the ingredients(some or all) need to be roasted or grilled. When using raw ingredients, the flavor can be a bit more harsh. Granted I still love a fresh salsa... especially during the summer months when tomatoes and peppers are at their peak. But it's good to have a back-up for the fresh salsa....

I happen to really like Rick Bayless's style of cooking. I've learned a ton from him....like using simple ingredients and simple techniques to create dishes with maximum flavor. The salsa recipes I'm sharing today actually come from his cookbook Mexican Everyday... if you remember, I posted a tortilla soup recipe not too long ago. It, too, comes for the same book, and it happens to be my absolute favorite tortilla soup.

The really nice thing about salsas is that they can be used with so many dishes.... and I think that's why I love making salsas. Plus, they aren't calorie-laden and are the perfect "topping" for all sorts of dishes... from burritos, to enchiladas, to soups, to scrambled eggs. Or in my case, a new brunch dish that I recently made and loved... will be posting it soon:). Hope you enjoy...

Salsa Roja(Guajillo Chile Salsa)

Note: This salsa is somewhat tangy... as would be expected from using tomatillos.

Tip: You can use 16(1/4oz) dried arbol chiles instead of the guajillo chiles...and you can skip the oil and dry roast the chiles if you prefer.

You will need: adapted from Mexican Everyday

2 TBS oil
2-3 dried guajillo chiles (1/2 oz.), stemmed
3 cloves garlic, peeled
4 tomatillos, husked and cut in half
1/2-3/4 cup water

1. Break stems from chiles and shake to remove as many seeds as will come out easily....
2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil. To the hot oil, add the chiles and press on them for a few seconds until they have changed color slightly and are aromatic, turn and do the same on the other side.... this should take no longer than a minute(20-30 seconds on each side).
3. Use a slotted spoon to move the chiles to a high speed blender, leaving behind as much oil as possible.... I add some of the oil to the blender.
4. Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel, and heat on medium-high. Add the tomatillos, cut-side down, and the garlic. Allow to brown.
5. When the tomatillos are well-browned, about 3-4 minutes, turn everything over and brown the other side.
6. Place tomatillos in blender( I used my Vita-mix for this) and combine with the chiles. Stop blender and add some water( I added a little more than 1/2 cup). Blend on high until salsa is super smooth.
7. Season with salt.... adjust consistency of sauce with additional water if needed.


Tomatillo with Smoky Chipotle Salsa

Tip: A little cilantro is always welcome in a chipotle salsa, as is grilled/roasted green or white onion.

You will need: adapted from Mexican Everyday

3 garlic cloves, peeled
4 medium tomatillos, husked, rinsed and cut in half*
2 canned chipotle chiles en adobo (or more if you like really spicy salsa)
1/4 -1/2 cup water
Salt to taste
* I substituted 2 roma tomatoes for 2 tomatillos


1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place the garlic and tomatillos, cut side down.

2. Cook tomatillos until they are well browned, 3 or 4 minutes... then turn everything over and brown the other side. The tomatillos should be completely soft.

3. Remove the garlic and tomatillos from skillet and add it to a food processor or blender along with the chipotle chiles and 1/4 cup water. Process to a coarse purée.

4. If needed, thin the salsa with a little additional water, if necessary just to give it an easily spoonable consistency. Taste and season with salt. Allow to cool down before serving.


Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

I too am a big fan of Rick Bayless. I've made many of his dishes and they never fail to impress. These salsas sound like a couple that I need to add to my repritorie ASAP! I love the use of dried chiles, frying them is how we make our enchilada sauce, too! It makes their flavor even better :) Great post Ellie!!

Andreea said...

very nice recipes!
I'm not counting my cookbooks anymore, I measure them in meters :)) I have almost 2m :))
It's true we can find anything on the internet but I always say, how can I look for a recipe if I don't know that dish exists. So that's my excuse (not that I need one) for buying more books. My last one is this http://www.amazon.ca/Advanced-Bread-Pastry-Michel-Suas/dp/141801169X even if I love what I found in the book, I don't think those recipes are made for my (modest) cooking skills :)) will still try one, from time to time, maybe I'll reconsider.

Ellie said...

Andrea, Yes, the first time I used dried chiles to make a basic red sauce, I was hooked! The flavor was just incredible... and so much better than any store-bought enchilada sauce. Hope you can give these salsas a try... it's worth making a variety of salsas for any Mexican-style meal. Personally, I think the salsas just make the meal:)...
Thanks for stopping by.... always good to hear from you:).

Hi Andreea:). It was good to hear from you. It's funny, I was doing some spring cleaning (getting rid of a lot of stuff)... and one thing I couldn't part with were my cookbooks:).
Thanks for sharing the link... it sounds like a wonderful book that teaches you to branch out and try new recipes and methods. One thing I know, if I don't try and practice... I'll never learn! So to me the cookbooks are worth the space it takes in my house:). Glad to hear that you too enjoy the hard copy. But I'm thinking you may have a few more cookbooks than I:)...

Mihaela said...

Hi Ellie, thanks for sharing the salsa's recipe, sounds like a Cinco de Mayo fiesta :) I really like the second one, I will save the recipe for the summer, grilling time is coming :) Have a great week-end!

Ellie said...

Hi Mihaela:). I think you will like the salsa... the smoky chipotle really makes it stand out. One of our favorites, too:).
I'm always looking for new salsa recipes. And I'm glad I made these. A keeper, for sure. But thanks for stopping by... and have a great weekend!