Salsas are at the centre stage of Mexican Food. A taco is not a taco without a good salsa, so there are so many recipes for them it will make your head explode! One funny thing I discovered last year is that a lot of people seem to think that chopping fresh tomatoes and adding onion, chilli and other raw stuff makes a salsa... In Mexico, mostly all our salsas are cooked. What Irish people refer to as 'salsa' is really a salad for us, a sort of pico de gallo that we use to garnish or accompany a dish with. Every family has their favourite salsas, the ones that have been passed from mother to daughter for generations! I've share a few recipes here before, like this Red Salsa & Pico de Gallo, this creamy Green Tomatillo Salsa or this super hot dried arbol chili one. When I do a cooking demonstration, I always like to show people how quick and easy it is to make a salsa from scratch. Today, I want to share my most precious salsa recipe, one that has been cooked in my family since I can remember: Salsa de Chile Maduro or Ripen Red Chili Salsa.
Growing up, there use to be a bowl of this at home all the time, it is my brother's favourite and its bright orange colour and sharp taste indicates how ferociously hot and incredibly addictive this salsa is. Definitely not for the faint hearted. Traditionally, the Ramirez make this salsa with ripen Serrano peppers, which as their name implies, are chiles grown in the 'Sierras' (the mountains) in the central regions of Mexico. It is slightly hotter and narrower than a jalapeño pepper, crispier and, in its ripen red form, very flavoursome. Together with the piquin variety, they are the most consumed chilies in Mexico. I've attempted to make it with little red Thai chilies, but it was so hot it became inedible for us, so I ended up making it with the regular red Kenyan chili variety found in the markets in Ireland. You, however, are allowed to experiment with different types of chilies until you find the one you like the most.
Wash the chilies and take the stem out. Put them in a pot with water (the pot should be about three quarters full) and turn the heat on. Bring them to the boil and lower the heat so the chilies simmer for about 15 - 20 minutes.
Drain the chilies and reserve 1/4 cup of their water for later use.
In a blender, put the cooked chilies, garlic clove, Mexican oregano, cider vinegar, oil and about 2 tablespoons of the water where the chilies cooked. Blend this for a couple of minutes to make a smooth, thick and creamy salsa. If you prefer your salsa more runny, add some more of the reserved water. Season with salt.
Your salsa is ready! this keeps in the fridge covered for up to 2 weeks. I never frozen it, but I don't see why it wouldn't work. Enjoy it with your favourite taco or with a nice pack of tortilla chips like these. It is quite hot, but delicious; perfect for any chili head in the family!