Salsa campechana translates fairly easy. Campechana is a word used to describe something that is made up of different components or ingredients. The results of this salsa campechana give the appearance of a salsa ground down in a molcajete(lava stone mortar). But, with a few quick pulses from your food processor this salsa from authentic and fresh ingredients is done!
Every time I post a salsa recipe that is prepared in a lava stone mortar(molcajete), I get the same question? Can it be prepared in the blender or food processor? Of course it can. And even though it will still be delicious, nothing yields the same results as when you use a molcajete. It’s one of those traditions that I want to keep alive. For many years I could not use my molcajete due to some chronic pain in my left arm. It’s a lot better now and I have mastered my molcajete! Lol! I enjoy it so much I have a acquired a small collection in different sizes.
- 1 1/2 pounds tomatillo remove husk and rinse
- 2/3 of white onion
- 4-6 cloves of garlic skins on
- 2 large guajillo peppers stems and seeds removed
- 1 full cup of chile de arbol
- Large handful of fresh cilantro
- Salt to taste
- On a comal or skillet at medium heat, add tomatillos, onion, garlic and chile guajillo. Dry roast for 15-20 minutes, removing guajillos after 1-2 minutes. Remove garlic after 10-12 minutes. Turn as needed.
- In a separate pot, add the chile de arbol. Cover with water and heat to medium. Add the 2 guajillos from the comal and continue cooking at a low simmer for 7-9 minutes.
- When ready, remove skins from garlic and tranfer to a food processor or blender. Add the tomatillos and onion. Drain the softened peppers, reserving a little of the cooking water. Transfer peppers to processor or blender as well. Let cool slightly.
- After a few minutes, add a big handful of fresh cilantro to the processor(blender) and salt to taste. Pulse to blend to achieve a molcajete-style looking salsa. If you prefer it smooth, than go ahead and blend on high! If salsa is too thick, mix in some of the reserved cooking water.
My cast iron comal! I cannot live without it. I use it to cook my homemade tortillas, pan sear steak, easy crispy tacos and yes, I love it for dry roasting and blackening salsa ingredients!
If you want to yield a less spicy salsa campechana, you can reduce the amount of chile de arbol and bump up the chile guajillo amount.
When you prepare salsa from scratch, did you ever notice how the next morning it looks like it congealed and separates? One way to prevent this is to fry or cook your salsa after you have blended it. It really works. It cooks out any remaining raw flavors, thickens the salsa slightly and gives it a better flavor in the end. I knew I would not be cooking this salsa after I processed it, so I added fresh cilantro before blending. Many times I will add finely chopped cilantro after I cooked the salsa.
The food processor works great for pulsing salsa and giving them a chunky or coarse texture. For smoother salsa, I always use my blender.
Go to the end of the post to see how this salsa campechana looks blended smooth! Some people don’t care for chunky salsa, so there is that option s well.
Here is the salsa campechana blended smooth in my small powder blender. I would suggest cooking the smooth version at a steady simmer for at least 8-9 minutes.