Salsa de Chile de Arbol

Not too long ago, a friend and old colleague of mine sent a picture on Facebook of a simple picture of salsa. That is all it was. A picture of a small ramekin of dark and delicious looking salsa. The foodie that I am, I responded immediately with a comment, and that built some small conversation regarding this small bowl of delicious looking salsa. Another friend and old colleague of mine chimed in and said, ‘hey, that looks like chile de arbol’.

Salsa de Chile de Arbol

I was already hungry, and looked into my cabinets, and brought out the bags of chiles I already I had on hand. Chile de arbol. A pepper that has a great red color to it, and one that carries with it a bit of heat. One that would be perfect to concoct a killer salsa, and I was ready for the heat. After looking at the picture on Facebook, I investigated what could possibly be in there. I noticed the usual suspects, and decided to come up with my own take on chile de arbol.

There are ingredients, in my opinion, that make a really good salsa. As many Americans are used to that jarred crap of chunky salsa (no offense), there are easy techniques, and easy ingredients that can make a salsa any way you want. Whether it be sweet, hot, chunky, or smooth, the beautiful thing about salsa is that you are in control of the situation. Roasting vegetables, or cooking in a hot cast iron skillet, or heck, for that matter, fresh and blended, salsa reigns king in so many ways.


  • 6 tomatillos, husked, cleaned, and cut in half
  • 12-18 chile de arbol peppers (less equals less heat)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, lightly smashed
  • 1 shallot, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Start with a cast iron skillet. If you do not have one, use your oven, on 425 degrees, and place the chilies on the skillet or roasting pan, and cook for about 5 minutes, just enough time to release some of the oils of the chilies. Once the chilies are lightly roasted, place in a bowl with 1/4 cup of the water.

Next, add the garlic, shallots, and tomatillos to the cast iron skillet. Cook for about 10 minutes, until you have a nice charred appearance on all of the items in the skillet.

Get your blender out, and add in the chilies and water, and the roasted vegetables. Toss in the salt and cilantro, and blend until you have a nice puree.  Remove from the blender, and add to a container to let chill.

Now get ready. Get your chips out, get some soft tortillas, or get your favorite slow cooked meat out, and drizzle this salsa all over it. The great heat, the sweetness, and the flavors of this salsa, really make this one awesome. Thanks to Justin and Romke for stirring the conversation. Sometimes that is all that is needed.

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Dax Phillips

Thank you for visiting my website. Truly, I do appreciate it. My free time and stress reliever is cooking for my family, friends, and everyone in between. The recipes you find on this site are those that I have either created, been part of, or those that I simply enjoy and have made my own in some shape, form, or other. My focus has always been on comfort food, because at the end of a long work day, you want something comforting. I currently am the father of three children, and married to a wonderful wife of thirteen years. There is nothing fancy with these recipes, just simple, and I will admit, not so simple ingredients, and a simple kitchen corner I can call my own. I learned early on that cooking and bringing family together was very important. After all, this notion of being together at dinner time was instilled early on by my parents. There are many memories of being in the kitchen with my parents, watching them cook, or preparing meals, or those home cooked smells while waiting for dinner. My parents who worked full-time, always had home cooked meals during the week, with the exception of Friday nights where we would enjoy a Wisconsin fish fry, and often on late afternoons on Sunday, where we would order Ann's pizza. I tend to cook by making things up. As a home cook, I think you have to take chances, and add or subtract ingredients that make up a dish, and make them your own. Remember to taste, and taste often. If a dish has potential, try it again, and make it your own. You should also note that I do not count calories, or break down recipes into grams of anything. To me, that's a bit boring. My philosophy is that if the food is good, eat it, and eat it in moderation. Life is just too short not to enjoy good food. Commonly Asked Questions: Can I use your photography/content on my website/blog? Please do not redistribute my photography or recipes without my permission. All of the recipes and photography on this website are my own unless noted, and is subjected to copyright  If you’d like to use a photograph or a recipe, please contact me for permission. Will you review my product/book/site? I am available for recipe development, food photography and/or styling, travel/press events, product reviews, brand promotion/ambassador, and sponsored posts. If you are interested in working with me, or if you have a question/comment regarding a recipe or about my blog, please send me an email.

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