Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Salsa de Chiles Chipotles - Salsa Ranchera

I am getting very very attached to the small little tins of Chipotle chiles you can get in the shops here. They hold roughly three chiles in adobe sauce, a perfect quantity for someone, like me, cooking for just themselves.

I have used chipotles before, although it was not always easy to source them in Ireland, to make BBQ sauce; being smoked they are ideal for this. Their smokyness also works well in a Salsa Ranchera, one that goes well with all kinds of meat and is also often also served with Mexican breakfasts.

There are a couple of variations here, Rick Bayless' recipe for Salsa de Chile Chipotles doesn't include onion and relies simply on the tomatillos, garlic, the chiles and seasoning. Other versions, are more elaborate including both onion and corriander. Diana Kennedy makes no mention of a Salsa De Chile Chipotle, however she does have a Salsa Ranchera, which oddly enough is made with serranos and has nothing to do with chipotles. You can take from all this disagreement what you like, all I will say is that Diana Kennedy is pretty exacting and dogmatic and if it came to placing a bet.....

I decided to split the difference between the Rick Bayliss version and the others. I certainy didn't feel corriander was a suitable addition for such a deep smokey salsa however neither did I want to exclude the onion.

The formula I settled on was to char 6 to 8 tomatillos on a saute pan while at the same time frying about half of a largeish onion in another smaller pan. When the tomatillos were charred on both sides and cooked through they were added to the slightly browned onions in the blender along with one of those small tins of choptles with the adobo (I removed the seeds). About a half a cup of water might be necessary to get the blades moving and get everything blended. All that is required then is as much salt as you think is necessary.

The salsa is hot and smokey, and works well with meat, it is also nice with eggs, I used it over an omlette and it was ideal. What it is lacking however is the bright flavours of a Salsa Mexicana which I am coming to appreciate more and more as the ideal counterpoint, in texture, temperature and flovour to a taco.

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