Just when you think you have prepared every salsa or hot sauce recipe possible, someone will tag you in a picture with a salsa that you just have to try. One day last week, my friend Donna shared a picture of a salsa she was enjoying at her local Mexican eatery. She asked if I had ever seen or prepared something similar. As far as I could see, it looked like a tomato based salsa, but was not thick, but more like a hot sauce with specs of toasted chiles. I had a rough idea and off I went into my kitchen. As I have talked about before, tomatoes and dried chile peppers are staples in my kitchen. You never know when you might be challenged to a salsa throwdown! Ha, ha, ha!! Bring it Bobby! Just kidding….but, not really. This was my best guess at the taqueria salsa.
Toasted Chile de Arbol Tomato Salsa/Hot Sauce.
My New Favorite Salsa!!! Until the next one comes along…
Inspired by my friend Donna!
1 large vine ripe tomato, chopped 10 chile de arbol, toasted 1 cup water salt to taste 1 tablespoon cornstarch 2 tablespoons water Juice of 1/2 a lime juice or 1 tablespoon white vinegar, optional 1 teaspoon crushed chile piquin or toasted chile de arbol
Tips~Simply place the dried chile de arbol in a dry skillet at medium heat. Toast for a few minutes, turning as needed. Do not let them get too dark or they can become bitter tasting.
Tips~I typically only purchase Roma tomatoes for my everyday cooking, but the store was out! Lol! So, I picked up some vine ripe tomatoes. Delicious!
This is the salsa/hot sauce soon after I blended it and strained it into the bowl.
1. To the blender, add the chopped tomato, 1 cup water, toasted chile de arbol (stems removed) and salt to taste. Blend on high until smooth. You want the chiles to really break down as small as possible.
2. Strain salsa using a fine wire mesh strainer into a sauce pan. Transfer salsa/hot sauce to a sauce pan. Bring up to a simmer. Whisk the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water until smooth. Mix this into the simmering salsa. Reduce heat and cook for a few more minutes. If using any lime or vinegar, add it while salsa is cooking. Taste for salt. Add crushed chile piquin or more toasted chile de arbol.
Here is the salsa/hot sauce as it cooks. The color deepens. The cornstarch slurry thickens it sligtly and also keeps it from separating. I really enjoyed the tangy tomato flavor. It reminded me of these spicy ketchup potato chips I used to purchase in Mexico, tasty!
I cannot tell you all how happy I am to see that spring has finally arrived in New York state! It was the coldest and longest winter I have ever experienced here in 29 years….lol! So, every sunny day, which have not been many, I try to schedule some grilling time. On this day, we grilled a few foods and then we put some dry rubbed chicken thighs on for a low and slow smoke. It was pitch black night time, but there we were doing our thing, ha, ha, ha! This recipe is really a no fuss recipe if you ask me. We enjoyed the chicken as is for a few days and then with the last two pieces, I prepared some tostadas with our grilled and smoked salsa and hot sauce. So here’s to a great grilling season, a warm spring and a hot summer! Ok, maybe not so hot… #girlongrill #chilehead
Smoked Chicken/Pollo Asado
8 bone in, skin on chicken thighs (about 4 1/2 pounds) 4 to 5 tablespoons Weber Brand Carne Asada Seasoning or your favorite spice rub Oil for brushing onto grill grates
1. Generously add carne asada seasoning/spice rub all over chicken, making sure you get some under the skin on top. Use your hands to rub it into the chicken. Place in baking pan with cover or heavy plastic storage back. Marinate overnight.
2. Remove chicken from refrigerator 1 hour before cooking. Set up your grill for indirect grilling at a temperature of 250 degrees F. If you want to add some smoky flavor, add a few applewood chunks near the hot coals 5 minutes before adding chicken. Or if cooking on gas grill add wood chips to a smoker box. Close lid for a few minutes.
3. Brush grates on cool side with oil. Add the chicken, skin side up on cool side of the grill. Close lid and cook for about 2 hours or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165 degrees. Pull off the chicken as it reaches the desired temperature. When done, transfer chicken to a dish, cover loosely and let rest for 5 to 7 minutes. Yields 4 servings.
Tips~ Oven method for chicken. In a large oven safe skillet, add 4 tablespoons of olive oil and heat to medium. After a few minutes, add the chicken, skin side down and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Turn over and cook for another 5 minutes. Turn skin side up, cover pan and finish roasting in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes.
Smoky Chicken Tostadas
2 smoked chicken thighs, remove meat and shred
1 avocado, mashed Lime juice
Salt to taste
Smoked Pico de Gallo
Grilled Chile hot sauce
Sauteed sweet and hot peppers
After mashing the avocado, add a little lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the avocado onto 4 tostadas. Add chicken, smoked pico de gallo, sauteed peppers and grilled chile pepper sauce. I would add creamy black beans or pinto beans next time!
Smoked/Grilled Pico de Gallo
8 roma tomatoes 3 large jalapeños 3 serranos
1 whole bulb of garlic
1 small sweet onion
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
Cut the top of the garlic bulb off before grilling. Grill ingredients on the idirect heat side of the grill for 45 to 60 minutes at 250 degrees F. I added a couple of applewood chunks so the salsa would have a smoked flavor. Let ingredients cool. Remove stems from peppers and peel garlic or if it’s soft enough, squeeze out into the blender or processor. Roughly chop ingredients and pulse to process or you can chop the ingredients by hand.I do this so I can add exact amounts that I want when mixing the salsa’s or chile sauce. Add lime juice, salt and pepper. Fold in the cilantro.
Grilled Chile Pepper Hot Sauce
3 large jalapeños
3 fresno peppers
1 whole bulb of garlic, top cut off and wrapped in foil
1 small sweet onion, quartered
Juice of 2 key limes
1 3/4 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
salt to taste
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1. Grill the peppers, onion and garlic on indirect heat for 1 hour. let cool. Remove stems from peppers and skins from garlic. Remove skins from fresno peppers as well because the skin may be hard to chew.
2. Roughly chop ingredients and transfer to the blender. Add the lime juice, vinegar and water. Pulse to blend as coarse or as smooth as you like. I like the pieces of peppers, garlic and onions in my hot sauce.
3. Transfer to a saucepan. Heat to medium. Season with salt to taste. When it comes to a boil, reduce heat slightly. Whisk the cornstarch and water together until smooth. Add to hot sauce in saucepan. Stir well to combine and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add cilantro.
No superbowl parties for us this year, but that does not mean I did not prepare some superbowl inspired foods! I am often asked “What do you do with all that food that you prepare?” Well, most times I will freeze the food into smaller portions to use for quick meals. And other times, when I prepare sauce, salsa’s or hot sauce, I incorporate them into new recipes. This is exactly what I did with this tasty chicken wing recipe. This is truly how I cook on a regular basis. I try my best to use the ingredients I have on hand and save myself a little money by avoiding an extra trip to the grocery store. The three recipes featured in this recipe are versatile and can be added to many recipes, such as stews, chili, soup, salad dressing, enchilada sauce, just to name a few. Or you can go to your local grocery store and purchase your favorite pepper jelly, favorite chile sauce and favorite hot sauce and still dish out some kick ass wings, no doubt! I encourage you to make a recipe your own to suit your taste. After all that half the fun of cooking in your own kitchen. Plus you get to enjoy a great meal with your friends and loved ones.
Spicy Pepper Jelly. Click onto picture to see the full recipe.
Chile Habanero-Fresno Hot Sauce. Click onto picture to see full recipe.
New Mexico Chile Sauce. Click onto picture to see full recipe.
Sweet Heat Garlic Sticky Wings~
3 pounds wing sections, defrosted
chile de arbol powder
vinegar powder (if you can’t find the vinegar powder, used mustard powder)
You will also need Grapeseed or canola oil 1/2 cup store bought garlic flavored wing sauce 1/2 cup spicy pepper jelly (I used my homemade recipe) 1/2 cup New Mexico chile sauce (homemade recipe) 2 to 3 tablespoons habanero-fresno hot sauce (homemade recipe) 2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
*2 to 3 tablespoons of honey, optional
1. Line a large baking sheet with foil paper. Drizzle with oil evenly, set aside. Mix 1 teaspoon of each of the spices listed above in a small bowl Stir well to combine and season the wings generously and place on prepared baking sheet. Place rack in oven 1/3 of the way down. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
2. When oven comes up to temperature, place wings in oven and cook for 20 minutes. Turn wings over and cook for another 20 to 25 minutes. While the wings are baking, place all of the ingredients for the sauce in a small pot and heat to medium/low heat just until butter melts.
3. Once wings are cooked, remove from oven and lower temperature to 400 degrees F. Baste the tops of wings with sauce, place back in oven for 5 minutes. Turn wings over, baste again and back in oven for another 5 minutes. Finally, turn wings skin side up and baste one last time and turn broiler to high heat. Broil for just a minute or two. Remove from oven and toss with any remaining sauce. Serve right away. Yields 4 servings.
And just in case you were wondering what my favorite garlic wing sauce is, you must check out All the wonderful flavors that House of Wings offers online. I am fortunate to live only less than 10 minutes away from where they serve and produce this great product! They ship all over the world, they are that good!
Embracing my Mexican heritage and sharing all the wonderful flavors, colors and foods I grew up with. Join me on this journey as I also learn new foods and cooking techniques. Dedicated to my parents Ramiro and Blanca.