Confession… I used to be really intimidated by a bag of gorgeous dried chiles.
The closest I used to get to dried chiles was during my Southwest decor faze when I had a string of dried Hatch chiles hanging in my living room. Well, that was a long time ago, and now I embrace all kinds of food preserving, including dried chiles.
Besides being able to grind the chiles into your own fresh powder or chile pepper flakes (bye bye store bought crap!) these chiles can be reconstituted in warm water and used in a gazillion more ways. Yes, a gazillion. Go on the world wide web and you’ll see for yourselves!
I was recently given a bag of Melissa’s dried Hatch chiles and although fresh Hatch season is upon us, my hubby grew up in the Southwest and he gets very excited when we have Hatch’s in our home. With the dried one’s I can always have them on hand for making things like this Salsa with Dried Chiles. In this case, I used mostly Hatch with one Ancho Chile thrown in for some extra heat and a slightly different flavor profile.
Dried chiles should be pliable and not brittle, so make sure to give them a little twist in the bag before you buy them, to make sure they aren’t too old. To use dried chiles for a recipe like this, you’ll want to cut off the stem and remove the seeds and any white veins that may still be there. This is where your heat comes in. If you like things muy caliente, then by all means, leave in some seeds.
Next, you’ll want to roast them in a dry skillet for just a few minutes to add extra depth to the chiles flavor. Add about a cup of water and let the chiles sit for 15 minutes.
While those are soaking, prep your veggies…
Start roasting the onions, tomatoes and garlic until charred on all sides. (I did this in a skillet pan on the stovetop but I would probably do it in the broiler next time. You don’t want to cook the tomatoes, just give them a quick char.)
Next, add the chiles and liquid to a blender and puree. Then add in the other veggies. Blend until it has small chunks, but isn’t liquid. (This isn’t store-bought-watered-down-salsa you’re making here, folks! And speaking of store bought…this will not be bright red like the jarred stuff you get at your grocery store. This is what salsa looks like without food dyes.)
Once you have your desired consistency, pour the salsa into a pot and add in your remaining ingredients: oregano, cilantro, lime juice, sugar, ground pepper and salt.
You can simmer this over low heat until you get your desired thickness. So, simmer awhile if you want it thicker, add a little water if you want it thinner. Mine was just the way we like it so I removed it from the heat after stirring in all my ingredients.
This is a nice salsa for eating with chips, but you can also use it for your enchiladas, soups, stews or Heuevos Rancheros. Here are a few other Hatch Chile recipes I have using fresh or roasted Hatch’s:
If you’re interested in roasting some chiles this season, here is a little article on how to roast your own Hatch chiles. Or, you can go to one of these Melissa’s Hatch Roasting events happening across the country, starting this week.