This green salsa with arbol chili peppers complements the deep, earthy flavors of barbacoa. The dried peppers are available at larger grocery stores, including Shoppers Food & Pharmacy, Giant and Whole Foods Markets.
Make Ahead: The salsa can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week; it will lose some of its heat over time.
Servings: 2.5 cups
- 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husked and rinsed
- 2 medium cloves garlic
- 3 to 5 whole dried arbol chili peppers (see headnote)
- 1/3 medium white onion, coarsely chopped (1/3 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine the tomatillos and garlic cloves in a medium saucepan. Cover with water and place over medium heat. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until the tomatillos have softened and become pale green. Turn off the heat.
Heat a small, dry skillet over medium heat. Add the whole dried arbol chili peppers to taste and cook for about 2 minutes, turning them a few times, until their color darkens. Discard the stems, but do not seed the peppers.
Transfer the toasted peppers to a blender, then add the tomatillos and 1/4 cup of their cooking liquid. (Discard the remaining liquid.) Add the onion, oregano, cumin, salt and black pepper. Puree until smooth, then transfer to a bowl for serving or storing. Taste, and add salt as needed. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Based on a recipe from Mexican cookbook author Diana Kennedy; adapted by Pati Jinich, chef of the Mexican Cultural Institute.
Tested by Patricia Jinich.
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