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Cooking With Craig

Tortilla Chips with Ancho and Guajillo Salsa

Craig Thiebaud

Thursday, June 26, 2014 • 6:00am

I lived in Texas for a good number of years and from time to time I crave good quality chips and salsa.  Given we are nearing the July Fourth holiday, bringing backyard barbeques and family gatherings to the forefront, I thought I would share a very easy salsa recipe that is part Texas, part Mexico and part Spain.  The ingredients aren’t too difficult to find.  I found the dried chilis at Penzey Spices in Summit but I also know that Garden of Eden in Berkeley Heights sells them as well.  This salsa is slightly hot and slightly sweet with hints of lime and garlic.  The texture is thick, almost jam-like, and it is certainly a salsa that can be enjoyed both as a dip and a sauce.

 Personally, I don’t care for store bought tortilla chips.  I think I became spoiled in Texas as many grocery stores make their own fresh tortillas throughout the day and you can always either buy freshly made chips or make your own from their fresh tortillas.  Since that just doesn’t happen in New Jersey, I simply purchase a package of flour or corn tortillas and make my own chips from there.  Any brand of tortillas will work great.  I prefer flour for chips but feel free to use the method for corn or make a combination of flour and corn.  Making the salsa really should take around 30 minutes to put together, though the flavor will improve over a few hours or even overnight.  It will last around two weeks when stored in an air-tight container.  The chips should take 10-15 minutes.  So, this is a perfect quick and easy little snack that is packed with flavor for your Fourth of July celebrations!

Ingredients:

For Salsa:

4 Ancho Peppers

3 Guajillo Peppers

4 Cloves of Garlic

1-2 Tomatoes, quartered

1 Large Piece of Stale Bread, chopped into 1 inch pieces

½ Cup Vegetable Oil

Around 1 Cup Reserved Pepper Water (more on that in the recipe)

1 Tablespoon Agave Nectar Syrup (or to taste)

1 Tablespoon White Vinegar

1 Tablespoon of Lime juice

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Pepper

For Tortilla Chips:

1 Package Flour or Corn Tortillas

3 T Grapeseed oil

Kosher Salt to taste

Preparation:

For Sauce/Salsa:

  • Place chili peppers in a bowl and cover chilies in very hot water.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap for around 20 minutes (until soft).
  • Once softened, remove peppers from water.  For a milder sauce, remove seeds.  Keep the seeds for a spicier version.  Cut peppers into strips and set aside.  Reserve water that the peppers steeped in.
  • In a food processor, place 1 inch pieces of bread and garlic cloves.  Process until very fine (around a minute or so).   Add tomatoes and pepper strips.  Process again until a thick paste is formed.
  • Add Vinegar, lime juice, agave, and ½ cup of the reserved water from the peppers.  Process until a thick sauce forms, about a minute or so.
  • Slowly drizzle the vegetable oil into the food processor as it runs, which will take around another minute. 
  • Check sauce for consistency.  For a thick sauce, stop here.  To thin the sauce, simply add more reserved pepper water until you get the consistency you desire.
  • Taste and add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.  I generally use a good couple of tablespoons of kosher salt to season this sauce.

For Tortilla Chips:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Take tortillas and cut each into six segments
  • Take bowl and place grapeseed oil in bowl.  Toss tortilla chips into oil and arrange on a baking sheet or sheets.  Do not overcrowd the pan.
  • Sprinkle kosher salt over chips.
  • Bake chips 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Allow to cool.  Store in plastic bag at room temperature once cooled.  Best if used same day.

Craig Thiebaud is a Diplomat of Classic Culinary Arts at the International Culinary Center (formerly The French Culinary Institute) located in SOHO in New York City.  After extensive training in the Art of French cooking and professional food preparation in general, he brings his knowledge of food and passion for cooking to us by sharing culinary techniques and creating recipes that mainly use local, seasonal ingredients and can be easily recreated in the home kitchen.  Good, wholesome meals for the family can be created quickly with planning, using the best techniques with the best ingredients that are both affordable and available.  Let's get back into the kitchen together! 

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TheAlternativePress.com or anyone who works for TheAlternativePress.com. TheAlternativePress.com is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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