The past few days have been pretty dreary. It's been grey, I'm stuck at home doing work and I've finally finished Game of Thrones. On the bright side, I finally bit the bullet and bought a Kenwood Chef! I have wanted a stand mixer for, oh, forever, and I heard the TV say it was on sale. I was on the computer paying within 2 minutes. I've always wanted a Kitchenaid of course, because I like pretty things, but alas, it was out of my reach. Anyway, I'm very excited by the presence of the Chef and so expect a lot of meringue-y type things coming up.
Bored, bored, bored by sitting at my computer all day long, ugh. I needed some excitement, and because the alcohol kind of excitement is temporarily off limits, I wanted something spicy. The idea of salsa always appeals to me, but it is so often a letdown. Usually the tomatoes are insipid and watery, diluting the taste of everything they touch. They also usually contain acrid raw onions, which I really don't like. And raw garlic, which is mostly okay, but sometimes just too much.
That's a dried Ancho chilli, which kind of makes the salsa. I know it's not the easiest thing to buy, so if you can't find it, I'd just leave the jalapenos out of the recipe and replace both of them with dried chilli flakes and some smoked paprika.
4-6 assorted peppers
6-8 tomatoes, or a tin of tomatoes
1 head of garlic, left whole and unpeeled
1 onion, roughly chopped
1teaspoon chopped Jalapeno chillies - or half a teaspoon dried chilli flakes (You can use less)
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Optional: 1-2 dried Ancho chillies, steeped in hot water for 20 mins to rehydrate, then chopped up.
Turn your grill up to its highest setting. Place your garlic, peppers and if you're using fresh tomatoes, them on a baking tray. Put it as close to the grill as possible. Keep an eye on the oven, and turn the vegetables over when one side is blackened and blistered. Try to get them charred all over.
Heat up a glug of oil in a pan on a medium-low heat, and throw the onions in. Cook them slowly for about 10 minutes, until they're cooked through and slightly caramelised. Add the chopped Ancho chillies and Jalapeno chillies or chilli flakes. If you're using tinned tomatoes, put them into the pan as well and simmer for 20-30 minutes till tender. Do this without a lid so the liquid can evaporate. If you're not using tomatoes, just set aside the onions and chilli mixture.
When the peppers are blackened, put them in a bowl and cover with clingfilm. Leave them like this until they are cool enough to handle. The skins should come off easily, so peel them off and scoop as many of the seeds out as you can.
Put the onion mixture and the roasted vegetables into a food processor. Squeeze the roasted garlic flesh out from its skin, and add the lime zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper, and blend roughly - you don't want a really smooth paste, just a sort of chunky mixture.
Serve with tortilla chips or on top of some chicken of fish or steak.