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Salsa Roja

Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Kristen Shelton Fielder


Prep time 15 mins
Stand time 20 mins
Cook time 7 mins
Yield Makes 5 cups
The earthy heat from the dried chiles stands up well to grilled meats like skirt steak and pork tenderloin. Read the label before buying: Some dried chiles are super hot. You may want to use gloves to remove the very spicy seeds.


  • 4 large unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 8 Roma tomatoes, halved
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 12 dried guajillo or ancho chile peppers
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice or apple cider vinegar

How to Make It

  1. Preheat broiler with oven rack 5 inches from heat. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

  2. Place garlic, tomatoes, and onion, cut sides down, on prepared baking sheet. Broil 5 minutes or until skins are blackened. Set aside.

  3. Wipe chiles clean with a damp cloth. Remove and discard seeds and stems. Peel garlic.

  4. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add chiles and cook, turning often, 2 minutes or until dark and toasted. (Do not burn.) Transfer chiles to a bowl; cover with 1 cup boiling water. Let stand 20 minutes or until softened.

  5. Transfer chiles to a food processor with a slotted spoon, reserving soaking liquid. Add reserved garlic, tomatoes, and onion. Pulse until finely chopped. Add salt, cumin, and lime juice; pulse until well blended. Add reserved soaking liquid if necessary to achieve desired consistency. Cover and chill.