World’s best salsa: recipe included
Last Sunday my friends Jeanne Ritter and Nancy Thomas came over to make salsa from Jeanne’s deep secret recipe, which she began sharing a few years ago. It is the best.Salsa-making is a labor-intensive but rewarding endeavor, something you don’t want to try at home alone, but fun with friends, many hands making light work. We chatted while we peeled and chopped, listened to my CDs of radio programs from the ’40s, and in a little over four hours had produced two batches.Here is the salsa recipe for one batch (17 pints), most ingredients purchased at the farmers’ market:1 bag of roasted chilis (we used 1/2 mild, 1/2 hot)25 tomatoes5 onions (we used four because they were huge)4 jalapeno peppers, more if you like it hotter12 cloves of garlic1 29-ounce can tomato puree (no substitutes)2 tablespoons chili powder1 tablespoon salt1 tablespoon garlic salt17 pint canning jars with lids and screw-topsSterilize the jars by boiling them for 12 minutes. Put the lids and screw-tops into a separate pot and set aside, to be heated later.While the jars are boiling, put the puree into a large pot with the spices, adding the rest of the ingredients as they are ready.Thoroughly peel and remove the seeds and sinew from the chilis. Chop them up into small pieces, putting them into the pot as you go along. My granddaughter Riley and I did this the night before.Drop tomatoes into boiling water, core, peel, chop and add to the pot. Do this by hand or they will be mush. Peel garlic cloves, throw them in the Cuisinart on “chop” – add to the pot.Peel and chop the onions into five or six pieces. Feed them into the Cuisinart one onion at a time; add to the pot.Wearing rubber gloves and holding your breath, quickly behead and slice open the jalapenos, removing all seeds. Cover the Cuisinart hole with a wet paper towel, chop and swoop the contents into the pot and rapidly rinse off the equipment.Only now do you put the fire under the pot, so everything cooks at the same time. Bring to a roiling boil and put the smaller pot with the lids and tops on the fire so they’re good and hot.We were at this stage when we double-checked the ingredients on the list, since one time I left out the salt with very bad results. “Did you put the chilis in?” “Of course,” I replied confidently, but of course I had NOT – they were still in their plastic bag in the refrigerator. Yikes, that was close.Next you fill the still-hot sterilized jars a quarter-inch from the top, seal and screw tightly. You then boil these 17 pints for 45 minutes, with the water completely covering the cans, preferably in a canning pot, but anything will do. The salsa lasts forever, but may be consumed sooner than you think.Su Lum is a longtime local whose back is out of whack and let Nancy do the heavy lifting. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.
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