Chile de Arbol Salsa

Chile de Arbol Salsa

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.

dried chile de arbol

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!

chile de arbol salsa from Muy Bueno

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.

Chile de Arbol Salsa

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.

6 responses to “Chile de Arbol Salsa

  1. Julie,
    Not a spicy fan, but I can really relate to using up a large amount of something that comes in large quantities. This morning on Liz’s Lemon Bowl I found a recipe for dip using 2 cups of fresh herbs–right up my alley.

    • Texan New Yorker

      Oh, two cups of fresh herbs sounds just dreamy! I feel like I am always wasting a few sprigs here and there – annoying!

  2. Nice photos ..especially the last one:-)….at least chilies de arbol don’t go bad…some consolation there for having to buy so many at once

    • Texan New Yorker

      Thank you! Actually, I have had them go bad on me before – argh!! It does take quite awhile, but can happen. I’ve had them get so brittle as to be unusable and their color fades and looks very off-putting. I haven’t ever experienced anything similar with any other dried chile, though. Maybe because I don’t have as much trouble using them up??

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