Monday, December 3, 2012

Vat O' Salsa

The perfect homemade Salsa
This is, hands-down, the tastiest Salsa I have ever eaten. I'm one of those people who likes restaurant Salsa pretty well, but the grocery store stuff just doesn't do it for me. This recipe beats them both!

I started out with this recipe from the wonderful Melomeals blog. But, I wanted to make a few adaptations: omitting the added oil, taking out the sauteing steps while keeping the great flavor, making a much larger batch, making it slow cooker or Crock Pot friendly, changing the spice proportions a little, substituting a different pepper, and testing it for the freezer. Strangely, after all those changes, it still tastes so much like the Melomeals Original recipe, that I wouldn't feel right not giving her credit!

This recipe freezes well and is ultra-delicious. I keep several small containers full in my freezer to thaw as needed.

It also makes a good homemade Christmas gift!

Here are TWO batch sizes - one for medium to small Slow Cookers, and one for large Slow Cookers. Of course, you can also elect to make it on the stove top - just simmer it for about 15 to 30 minutes - until onions become tender around the edges, but are not translucent.

Vat O' Salsa
All the ingredients in the way-too-full Crock Pot.
Cook in Large Slow Cooker on high 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Do NOT cook until onions are translucent - you want to leave a little crunch.
(Ideally, your slow cooker should not be more than 3/4 full)
1/3 cup chili powder
3 Tablespoons Coriander
1 Tablespoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Oregano
2 Large Fresh Raw Onions, Chopped (do not use frozen for this recipe)
Optional: 6 minced pickled chili peppers**
1 #10 can diced tomatoes
1 Tablespoon Salt
After cooking,
blend slightly with an immersion blender to your favorite texture and add:
1/2 c water
3 T garlic (or to taste - the Garlic I use is very mild compared to European or home grown varieties)
Bunch fresh cilantro, washed and chopped
1/3 cup lime juice
*Sriracha to taste 

Large Batch Salsa
Cook on high in Slow Cooker for 2 hours, till onions are translucent around edges, but still mostly white.
1 1/2 T coriander
1 1/2 tsp cumin
4T chili powder
½ tsp oregano
1 to 2 fresh, diced onions (not frozen)
Optional: 4 small pickled peppers (Thai), very finely minced**
4 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes
2 tsp salt
1/3 cup water
After cooking,
Puree with immersion blender to desired texture and add
2 Tablespoons fresh garlic
1/2 large bunch cilantro, washed and finely minced
1/4 cup lime juice, or to taste
Chill and adjust flavors.
*Sriracha to taste

* Edited January 2015: I have some tender palates in my house - so the last time I made this I omitted the peppers to produce a no-heat salsa. It was very well-received by the heat-free crowd. Then, I added Sriracha to taste in  a bowl of Salsa for myself. I used 1 teaspoon Sriracha in 1 1/2 cups Salsa, and it was not excessively hot. I will probably always make the no-heat variety in the future, so that I can better control the heat levels.

**If I do use hot peppers, I use CTF brand Pickled Whole Green Chilli  which I buy at my local Asian market. I like that they keep in the fridge forever and are handy when I need them. They're also a nice snack for any fire-breathing dragons who might stop by to visit ; )

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