Saturday, 8 September 2012

¡Esta Rojo!

¡Esta Rojo!

It's all about the red...or shades of red...this week.
Red has more personal associations than any other color. Recognized as a stimulant, red is inherently exciting and the amount of red is directly related to the level of energy perceived. Red draws attention and a keen use of red as an accent can immediately focus attention on a particular element.
So to celebrate red week, I have a lusciously mellow salsa and a delicious bed of red rice. Perfect to complement some lovely Mexican-style sausages, or whatever else you have for the grill. 

Mellow Red Chile Salsa with Sweet Garlic and Roasted Tomatoes
Epicurious  | November 1998
Rick Bayless, Salsas that Cook
yield: Makes 2 1/2 cups


    4 dried New Mexico chiles (1 1/3 ounces)
    3 medium plum tomatoes (1/2 pound)
    1/2 small white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick (2 ounces)
    1/2 head garlic cloves, peeled
    1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
    1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
    about 1/2 cup water
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    1/4 teaspoon sugar (optional)


Heat the broiler. Pull the stems off the dried chiles, tear them open and shake out the seeds (if you prefer a salsa with a more refined texture, be sure to remove all the seeds). Place in a bowl, cover with hot tap water and lay a plate on top to keep them submerged.

Lay the whole tomatoes on a broiler pan or baking sheet. Set as close to the boiler as your oven allows and broil for about 6 minutes, until darkly roasted and blackened in spots — the tomato skins will split and curl. With a pair of tongs, flip over the tomatoes and roast them for another 6 minutes or so, until they are soft and splotched with dark spots. Set aside to cool.

Turn the oven down to 425 degrees. Separate the onion into rings and, on a pan or baking sheet, combine it with the garlic. Set in the oven. Stir carefully every few minutes, until the onions are soft and beautifully roasted (don't worry if some of the edges char) and the garlic is soft and browned in spots, about 15 minutes total.

If you're not inclined toward rustic textures in your salsa, pull off the peels from the cooled tomatoes and cut out the "cores" where the stems were attached; catch the flavorful juices on the baking sheet as you work, so as not to waste any of them. By now the chiles should be soft (to catch them at the perfect stage of rehydration — before they've lost much flavor into the water — soak them no longer than 30 minutes); drain. In a blender or food processor, combine the drained chiles with the tomatoes and their juice. Process to a fairly smooth puree — chile skins are tough, so you want to make sure they are chopped up enough. Scrape two-thirds of the puree into a large bowl. Roughly chop the onion and garlic, then add them to the blender containing the rest of the chile-tomato mixture. Pulse repeatedly until all is moderately finely chopped. Scrape down the sides from time to time to keep everything moving evenly; if the mixture just won't move through the blades, add a little water to loosen it up. Scrape the puree into the bowl. Stir in the oregano and vinegar, then add enough water to give this salsa a lightly consistency.

Taste and season generously with salt — this is a condiment, remember. Taste again and add a little sugar if you think it's necessary to balance any lingering bitterness in the chiles. If you're planning to use your salsa right away, simply pour it into a bowl and it's ready, or refrigerate it covered and use within 5 days.

Arroz Rojo
adapted for the rice cooker from Rick Bayless' recipe, Mexico, One Plate at a Time

1 full jar passatta - 24 fl oz
1 cup long grain rice
2 chicken bouillon cubes
6 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 large shallot, chopped fine
2 jalapenos, chopped fine
1 cup water
2 carrots, chopped

Place in rice cooker, stir to combine, and cook until tender, as directed by the manufacturer.
Rick Bayless @IHCC button rounded IHCC