This is a straight-up, kick in the ass, try it if you dare sort of salsa. It’s also quick, simple, and surprisingly complex, thanks to the carrot and two wonderful varieties of chiles.
We almost always keep a homemade salsa around the house, and I’m not usually the one to make it. But after finding fresh ancho chiles at the farmers market, I was inspired to try my hand at developing a signature salsa to rival Will’s. I’ve been told that in Mexico most folks don’t put garlic in their salsas. I have to admit that I never asked anyone while we were living down in Oaxaca, partly because I’d rather not know. I love garlic in salsa. I suspect that, like with most Mexican cooking, the differences are regional. At any rate, this recipe doesn’t claim to be authentic – just delicious!
I got my ancho chiles from the fabulous Tierra Vegetables. If you can’t find fresh, dry will work fine, but you may want to use a little extra liquid.
Spicy Smokey Chile Salsa
1 cup dried chile de arbol, stems removed
3 fresh ancho chiles
5 cloves garlic
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup water
1 tbs grated raw carrot
1 tsp salt
In a dry cast iron pan, roast the dried chile de arbol, stirring frequently, until they begin to darken. Make sure to turn on the hood fan for this – the roasting chiles will be quite pungent! Remove chiles from the pan and place them in a blender. Place the fresh ancho chiles in the same pan and roast them until they begin to blister and soften, turning a few times so that they cook evenly. Remove stems and place them in the blender with the chiles de arbol. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste and transfer to a glass container for storage. Makes about 2 cups.
Warning: this salsa is hot! If you want to make it less spicy, you can remove the seeds from some of the chiles, or substitute a milder chile for the chiles de arbol.