Alex Stupak’s Necessary Salsa Recipes

For Chef Alex Stupak’s Midnight Snack, tacos al pastor, you need salsa verde, salsa roja, and adobo sauce. You can use store-bought salsa, but if you want the real deal you should make it yourself.

Salsa Roja

Ingredients:

2 plum tomatoes

10 Guajillo chiles

1 Chipotle Morita chile

½ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

1/8 teaspoon cumin seeds

5 garlic cloves, skin on

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

¼ cup water

Makes 2 cups

Method:

Roast the tomatoes on a baking sheet under a hot broiler until blackened on one side, about 5-6 minutes. Turn them over and roast on the other side for another 5-6 minutes. Remove from the broiler and set aside to cool at room temperature. Once they are cool enough to handle, peel the tomatoes, discard the skin.

Prepare the dried chiles: Remove the stems from the chiles and tear them open. Shake out the seeds, remove and discard the veins.

Set a cast iron skillet over medium heat and toast the dried Mexican oregano and cumin seeds and toast briefly until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Remove from the heat, transfer to a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder.

In the skillet, toast the Guajillo and Chipotle Morita chiles, turning from time to time until the first wisp of smoke, about 30 seconds. Transfer the chiles to a bowl, cover with hot tap water and place a heavy plate over the chiles to keep them completely submerged. Set aside to soak for 30 minutes.

In the skillet, roast the garlic cloves, turning them from time to time until softened slightly and blackened in spots, about 6 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside to cool at room temperature. Once they are cool enough to handle, peel the garlic cloves, discard the skins.

Remove the plate from the bowl covering the soaking chiles. Drain the chiles and place the soaked chiles into the jar of a blender along with the ground toasted spices, roasted garlic, salt, sugar, cider vinegar and water and purée on high speed until completely smooth (work in batches if necessary). Set up a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and pass the purée through the strainer. Transfer to a container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Salsa Verde

Ingredients:

1 garlic clove, peeled (no skin) and roughly chopped

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 Serrano chiles, stemmed and roughly chopped

½ medium white onion, minced

3-4 medium (5 ounces) tomatillos, husked and rinsed, cut into ¼-inch dice

1 teaspoon honey

40 cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

Makes 1 cup

Method:

Place the garlic into the molcajete with the kosher salt and, using the pestle, crush to a paste.

Add the Serrano chiles to the paste and crush to a coarse texture, followed by the minced onion. Continue working the salsa to a coarse texture.

Add the tomatillos to the molcajete and continue crushing with the pestle. Season with the honey and stir with a spoon. Add the cilantro leaves and stir to combine. Transfer to a container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Adobo

8 each Ancho Chiles

8 each Guajillo Chiles

1 each Chipotle Mora Chile

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1 2 inch piece of canlea

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

20 each garlic cloves, unpeeled

1 cup cider vinegar

Method

Prepare the dried chiles: Remove the stems from the chiles and tear them open. Shake out the seeds. Tear the chiles into small pieces.

Set a cast iron skillet over medium heat.

In the skillet, combine the clove, cumin, canela, black pepper, and Mexican oreno and toast briefly until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Remove from the heat, transfer to a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder. Set aside.

In the skillet, toast the Ancho, Guajillo and Chipotle Morita chiles, turning from time to time until the first wisp of smoke, about 30 seconds. Transfer the chiles to a bowl, cover with hot tap water and place a heavy plate over the chiles to keep them completely submerged. Set aside to soak for 30 minutes.

In the skillet, roast the garlic cloves, turning them from time to time until softened slightly and blackened in spots, about 6 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside to cool at room temperature. Once they are cool enough to handle, peel the garlic cloves, discard the skins.

Drain the chiles from their soaking liquid and place in a blender along with the ground spices, roasted garlic and vinegar.

Blend the mixture to a paste. You may need to add a bit of water to the blender inorder to get the chiles to pass easily through the blades.

Transfer the adobo to a container and set aside under refrigeration.

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