Dried Chile Salsa

Hello sunshine! It’s that time of the year when I migrate back to Tucson for the winter. It’s always an interesting journey to transition between two cities that I love. Closing up one kitchen and opening another. I find it fascinating how weather affects my palette. In the cold of the Midwest, I want to curl up in front of a fire with a cup of tea. Back in Tucson, I want to be outdoors, hiking and biking. One of the first things I do when I arrive is to check my 14 citrus trees to see how the fruit is maturing. Limequats are ready, lemons and grapefruit will ripen next month. I’m excited to start fermenting, inspired by Noma’s new cookbook, "The Noma Guide to Fermentation." Hmm, what should I do with those limequats? I start craving local foods again... Corn tortillas from La Noria, artisan baguettes from Barrio Bread, the kale salad at Falora, ice cream at Cashew Cow. It’s the perfect time to enjoy a classic margarita with guacamole, chips and salsa outside watching our beautiful sunsets. I love the depth of flavor in a dried chile salsa.

Dried Chile Salsa

Preheat the oven to 350˚

Using a wet paper towel, wipe off the chiles. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until puffed and fragrant, 5-7 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Cut open to remove the seeds. Put the chiles in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water. Weight the chiles with a bowl to submerge and cover. Let rest for 30 minutes until the chiles are soft. Remove the chiles from the water, remove the stems and remaining seeds. Let dry on a paper towel.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook for 3-5 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic and continue cooking until the garlic is lightly toasted.

Place the chiles, shallot, garlic and the remaining ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth, 30 seconds to one minute. Taste and adjust salt, if necessary.

Note – This salsa can be easily customized to your taste. If you want a bit more of a smokey flavor, add a tbsp or more of abobo sauce, from a can of chipotle peppers or a tsp of smoked paprika. If you need more heat, add some cayenne to taste. 

make three 12 oz jars


  • 2 oz dried Ancho chiles, about 3 large
  • 2 oz dried Pasilla chiles, about 3 large
  • 2 oz dried Guajillo chiles, about 3 large
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup shallot, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups Pomi chopped tomatoes
  • 5 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar 
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 2 tsp organic cane sugar
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp oregano