Although the dark complex flavor of this salsa defies description, I would say, “deliciously sweet with a deep smokey flavor and a fiery punch that makes you take notice.” Using canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, this salsa comes together quickly and is versatile enough to be used as a seasoning base for other dishes, like the dip shown above.
Sweet-Sour Chipotle Seasoning (Salsa Negra)
Recipe by Rick Bayless as seen on Parade.com
2 (7½-oz) cans chipotle chiles en adobo
2 Tbsp molasses
¼ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
¼ cup balsamic vinegar or sweet sherry vinegar
½ cup water
¼ cup soy sauce
1. Place the chiles (with canning liquid), molasses, sugar, vinegar and ½ cup water in a blender and process until completely smooth. Scrape into a small saucepan over medium heat.
2. Let the mixture come to a brisk simmer, then turn the heat to medium-low and continue simmering, stirring regularly, until the mixture is the consistency of tomato paste, about 30 minutes.
3. Remove from the heat and stir in the soy sauce. If necessary, add water, a splash at a time, until the salsa is the consistency of runny ketchup. Cool, taste, and season with salt if needed.
Chef’s Note: Refrigerate salsa in a tightly covered pint-sized jar, where it will keep for a month or two.
1. I was a bad girl. By not reading the directions thoroughly, I screwed up. I added the soy sauce with the other ingredients in my blender. I cooked down the salsa negra in step 2, but because I added more liquid by adding the soy sauce prematurely, I did not let it cook it down to a tomato paste consistency.
2. I used light soy sauce with good results and added no more additional salt.
3. In Food and Wine, Chef Bayless says of this salsa, “Balsamic vinegar might seem like an unusual ingredient in Mexican food, but it is common in Baja. This recipe makes more salsa than you’ll need to make Shrimp with Spicy Chipotle Tomato Sauce, but it keeps in the refrigerator for weeks and can add an intense, smoky heat to grilled meats, stews and tacos.”
4. Taking Chef Bayless’s recommendation, I made a dip using the salsa negra. Using 16 ounces of room temperature cream cheese, I added some salsa negra (to taste) and some crumbled bacon. The dip packs enough flavor alone, if you just want to spread it on a bagel. I like it spread on a blue corn tortilla chip, drizzled with Mexican crema, and topped with a cilantro leaf.