Monday, October 5, 2009

Recipe Diaries: Want to Salsa?

My first attempt at canning salsa, and I'm already addicted to the savory dish.  I will need to start stocking tortilla chips, something that has never been a regular on my grocery list before now. 

A novice salsa canner, I chose to start out small, canning only 8 pint jars.  I chose a recipe of Guatemalan descent--perfect to satiate my love for Latin American foods--a love developed while living 18 months in El Salvador at the turn of the millenium. 

The key to great salsa is Roma Tomatoes.  I bought my Roma's at one of the season's last Farmer's Markets at Thanksgiving Point.  Roma's are less watery than other varieties, and therefore yield a thicker, more savory sauce.
The Salsa Recipe is as follows:  10 Roma Tomatoes (whole), 5 Tomatillos (whole), 1-2 Serrano Peppers (whole but w/out stems), 1/2 bunch Cilantro, 3-4 Garlic Cloves, 1 Onion (chopped), Lawry's Seasong Salt, and lime juice

The Tomatillos are optional, they add a slighlty acidic flavor to the salsa.
Serrano Peppers are preferred over Anaheim Peppers because their flavor is stronger, mas fuerte!  No worries if you prefer mild salsa, the peppers are stewed whole, taken out before blending, then put back in, one at a time, until desired level of 'Hotness' is achieved.  Definately customizable.  But don't forget to stew them whole, first.

I placed all the ingredients into a large enamel pot, with 1/4 cup water.  Then Boiled for 45 minutes, stirring frequently.
Now that all the vegetables are mushy, I removed the serrano peppers, then blended the mixture into a fine puree of salsa.  (I didn't have a hand mixer I could put into the pot, so I used my Hamilton Beach Food Processor; I assume a blender could also be used....but gets very messy and tedious).  I added the serrano peppers, one-at-a-time, to taste.  Added Lawry's Seasoning Salt, to taste. And finally poured my salsa into pint jars.  Once in the jars, I added 3 Tablespoons of freshly-sqeezed lime juice to each jar.

The secret to juicing a lime is simple.  First, roll the lime around on the countertop with lots of pressure from your hand.  Second, cut the lime in half.  Third, nuke it in the microwave for 5-10 seconds, or until the juice is easily squeezed out.

I capped my jars w/lids and rings, immersed  them into the water bath, and boiled for an additional 20 minutes. (the water should be only lukewarm when the jars are immersed, so as not to crack the glass....and don't start timing the 20 minutes until after the water starts to boil)
And....voila!  Delicious, Savory, Healthy, Latin-American Salsa for my pantry.

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