May I rant about dried chile de arbols for a second? First a disclaimer: I love them and use them often. Okay, that’s out of the way, now I’ll rant.
Chile de arbols are tiny little FIERY HOT dried chiles. A little bit goes a very long way. Most recipes call for at most two little chiles. So you’d think the manufacturers would realize this and sell them in small packages, right? Oh no. They are sold in bags of like, fifty plus chiles, and it takes forever to use up a bag, even if you make tons of Mexican food like I do. So I usually don’t use up an entire bag before the last dozen or so have gone bad. As I hate to waste food, that really bugs me!
So when I ran across a recipe that called for twenty, count ‘em, twenty chiles de arbol, I was beyond excited and had to immediately make it. As I expected it would be, this salsa is HOT. Definitely not for those who don’t like it spicy. But the flavor was unique from probably most any salsa you’ve had before, and it really was delicious. So if spicy chiles are your thing, then I would heartily recommend this one. With some salty, crispy tortilla chips and cold Mexican beers, it’s quite an enjoyable snack.
Source: Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor by Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack, Veronica Gonzalez-Smith and Evangelina Soza
1 tsp canola oil
20 chiles de arbol, stemmed but not seeded
1 small white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup canned whole peeled tomatoes
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 tsp kosher salt
Heat the canola oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add chiles and toast for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly so chiles are fried well and change color.
Add onion and garlic and saute another 2 minutes, again stirring constantly.
Transfer ingredients in the skillet to the blender. Add whole tomatoes, tomato sauce and salt. Puree until salsa is smooth with flecks of chile running throughout. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed.
Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled with crispy tortilla chips.
Note: if you find this is seriously too hot for your palate, mix in some sour cream. Tastes terrific and it will cool things off.