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The Best Homemade Tex/Mex Hot Sauce Recipe And A Pretty Damn Good Fresh Salsa
When I moved to Texas I became an instant fan of a lot of the different types of salsas, hot sauces and picco de gallo (fresh salsa) that are available. Throughout the harvest seasons experimentation with different recipes has gradually led to two recipes that most people that stop by seem to really enjoy. While they are a bit time consuming with all the chopping, once you get started making your own hot sauce and fresh salsa you won't go back to store bought again, I guarantee.
The first recipe is for a cooked hot sauce that is similar in nature to a salsa picante. This is different than American types of salsa and is more in keeping with the very traditional Mexican hot sauce. It is rich, spicy, slightly smoky in taste and delicious and goes very well with almost everything from chips through to scrambled eggs. This hot sauce is not traditionally thick or chunky but if you want to leave it a bit chunkier feel free.
A Canadian's Take On Tex Mex Hot Sauce
This takes a bit of time but well worth the effort.
12 pounds of chopped ripe tomatoes (about 12-14 cups)
1 ½ cups finely chopped, seeded jalapeno peppers (or ¾ cup jalapeno peppers and ¾ cup hot red peppers – more if you like it to bring tears to your eyes!)
1-2 serrano peppers seeded and finely chopped (very optional – very hot)
1-2 roast chipotle peppers finely chopped or dried smoked chipotles soaked in ½ cup boiling water then chopped – add liquid as well
2-3 very finely chopped red, white or yellow onions
2-5 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped or pressed
4 cups red wine vinegar
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons mixed pickling spices
1 tablespoon salt
2-4 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
Combine the tomatoes, onions, garlic and the peppers (as many types as you want) and add 2 cups of the vinegar. Cook until the tomatoes are soft but not mushy. Add sugar, spices and salt and also the pickling spices. The pickling spices have to be placed in a cheesecloth bag so they can be removed after cooking. Continue to cook about 30 minutes on medium low heat until the tomatoes are very soft and the sauce is thick. Stir frequently to prevent burning and sticking. Add the last 2 cups of vinegar and adjust spices, continue cooking until the desired thickness is achieved. Remove the bag of pickling spices. Pour the mixture into sterilized canning jars leaving about 1/4 -1/2 inch headspace at the top. Adjust the caps and place in a boiling water bath for about 20 minutes. This will make about 6-8 pints.
For those who enjoy a delicious fresh salsa with chips, fish, chicken or even rice and beans it is easy to combine the hot sauce above with some fresh ingredients. This is a real hit at football parties and goes great with an icy cold beer.
1 medium purple (red) onion, chopped
3-5 green onions, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
2-3 large jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
¼- ½ cup chopped cilantro leaves – if you really want to leave this out you can but it isn't the same without!
1 ½ pounds of ripe tomatoes, chopped (about 3-4 large good quality tomatoes)
1-3 small cans of green chilies
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2-4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
½-1 teaspoon salt – depending on quantity of tomatoes and taste
½-1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 cup of hot sauce from above recipe (or ¼- ½ cup store bought chili sauce or tomato sauce)
The garlic, cilantro, onions and jalapeno peppers can be pulsed in a food processor or left in a very fine dice. Mix in the tomatoes, canned chilies and all the rest of the spices and ingredients. Place in a non-metal bowl and cover, refrigerate for at least 4 hours but no more than 8 hours before serving. This makes about 4 cups. Top with a bit of fresh cilantro and voila!
The great thing about the two recipes above is you can add, delete or change anything that you want. I have become particularly fond of using just about a ½ of a small can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in the first recipe in addition to the fresh peppers, but this is definitely not a choice for the faint of heart (or tastebuds).