Friday, April 13, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper Salsa

Yesterday I  spent half the day canning jams and salsas. Canning is always a fun, messy, time- consuming commitment and I think trying to work my way through four recipes was maybe, in retrospect, a bit ambitious. After mixing up batches of jalapeno salsa, jalepeno jelly and carrot-orange marmalade, I simply ran out of time and energy to make the last salsa, and fell into bed at 10 pm with bits of sticky marmalade still stuck in my hair.

This morning, bright and refreshed, I took to tackling the Roasted Red Pepper Salsa. Let me tell you, I'm glad I waited, not just for the amount of time involved, but so that I could be awake enough to appreciate exactly how brilliantly colored and tasty this salsa really is.

I've included the directions for canning, but you can always just stick it in the fridge when done instead. This recipe is adapted from the Ball Guide to Home Preserving.

If canning: prepare lids and jars as directed. You'll need about 9 half-pint jars.

2 dozen dried red peppers of your choice (I used guajillo chilis)
3 pounds of Roma tomatoes
2 large green bell peppers
2 small onions, peeled
8 cloves of garlic, whole and unpeeled
2 tsp each sugar and salt
1 cup cider vinegar

Remove and discard the stems from the red chilies and submerge the chilis in a large bowl of hot water. Place another bowl on top to keep the chilis under the water.

Meanwhile, place your whole tomatoes, green bell peppers, onions and garlic cloves on a cookie sheet and broil, turning occasionally until the skins are charred.  Set aside and let cool enough to handle.

Then, go back to your soaking red chilies, which have been soaking for about 30 minutes, and puree them, with the liquid they are sitting in, until smooth. Set aside.

When cooled, peel and discard the skins from the tomatoes, bells and garlic. Place them with the onion in a blender and blend. You can either keep the texture chunky or smooth, your choice.

Combine the red pepper sauce with the roasted veggie sauce in a large saucepan and stir in the salt, sugar and vinegar. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, simmer for 15 minutes.

At this point you can either put it in the fridge, or continue to the canning process.

If canning: fill your prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace, wipe rims and process for 15 minutes.

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