My favourite homemade salsa recipe

Once upon a time, back when my wife and I lived on our own together, we used to cook a lot. Not that we don’t cook a lot now, but back then we took courses to expand our abilities and tried new things. Today, due to having three young kids, our cooking is usually on the simple, “kid-friendly” side of the spectrum.

Back then, I once tried to make my own salsa. I found a recipe on the internet that sounded good enough so I made it. Uninitiated in the use of jalapeños in cooking, my first mistake was touching my eyes while coring the jalapeños. After crying for two hours, during which I finished making the recipe, I got desperate and I went to the internet for advice and decided to pour milk in my eyes. My second mistake was adding the dozen cored jalapeños uncooked to the salsa. I know now that cooking jalapeños is kind of key to controlling the hotness of the salsa. Regardless of whether you like your salsa hot or not, you should cook the jalapeños at least a little bit, otherwise you will pay for it not only when you eat it, but… later as well.

One day, after regaling her co-workers about my salsa-making exploits, my wife stumbled upon this homemade salsa recipe, shared with her by a co-worker. This recipe has become a staple in our household. When we finish eating the last batch made, we make another. It’s become a condiment in our house, both my wife and I can’t eat eggs anymore without adding this to them. It’s addictive, and I gave it out as gifts this past Christmas season. In the past year alone, I’ve made about 30 litres of the stuff. And, I am a pro at canning now, too.

So now, here is my favourite, addictive-as-crack salsa recipe:

Saute for 15-30 minutes:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped peppers (use green, red, orange and yellow peppers, it makes it look really fun)
  • 4 cups chopped onion
  • 16 jalapeño deseeded and chopped
  • 4 bulbs garlic finely chopped (that’s right! 4 whole bulbs! the most time-consuming part of this recipe is peeling all the individual cloves)

Add, cook and cover ~ 1hr:

  • 14 chopped/peeled tomatoes (we do not peel the tomatoes!)
  • 1 1/2 cups vinegar
  • 2 small cans tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp coarse salt (kosher is the only way to go)
  • 1 bunch chopped cilantro ~1 cup (we often skip this one)

The length of time you cook the salsa will affect its hotness. Cooking for the full times shown above will result in mild salsa, and shortening the cooking time just a bit (to 45 minutes instead of an hour) will get you medium heat.

Makes about 3.5 to 4 L depending volume of tomatoes

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