The story behind this salsa is tied to my final years in the workforce. In April of 2019, I retired from a 28 plus year career with Whirlpool Corporation. Working there got me involved in many interesting projects with great people from all over the world. I also enjoyed great benefits – not the least of which was the employee discount (which the company generously still grants me as a retiree). This has allowed me to fill my home with the world’s best appliance brands, including KitchenAid small appliances. My KitchenAid food processor figures large in this recipe.
I have always loved the kind of salsa you get in Mexican restaurants – the fresh, finely chopped kind. I have never been a fan of the chunky, cooked type you get in jars. So, as usual, I wondered if I could create my own version at home.
I knew that to get that fine chop in any reasonable time frame would require my food processor. I made a few trials using fresh jalepenos, serranos, etc, but somehow the flavor lacked the depth I was looking for. Then I remembered those cans of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in the Mexican aisle. Chipotles are dried, smoked jalepenos, and the adobo sauce is tangy and slightly sweet. I wondered how that would play in a salsa instead of a fresh hot pepper.
It turned out great – but I’d made such a big batch I (double the recipe below) that I knew it would take us forever to eat at home. So I took it to work.
The timing was right because it was during what we accountants refer to as “closing”. This is the period of time during which we make adjustments to “close” the books and produce financial statements. It takes place during the first few days of the month following the month being closed. It was also the time when we generally worked the most overtime, and, in order to “ease the pain”, it was common for people to bring in food to keep the team’s motivation up.
The remarkable thing about this salsa is that it appealed to a very diverse group of tastes. It has some heat, which is great for hot sauce lovers like me, but even the non heat lovers in our group liked it. It became known at work as “Closing Salsa”, and before I knew it, I was bringing a big batch and a couple bags of tortilla chips in every first day of closing. This was a team tradition for several years until I retired.
Note that since vegetables vary in size, you my have to adjust seasonings and amounts. And another very important thing – don’t skip the sugar – it’s essential to get all the flavors in balance. Also, the flavors won’t fully settle until the salsa has been refrigerated for awhile, so you may have to adjust slightly after that.
Anyway, that’s the backstory of this recipe. Hopefully it will be a hit with your team, as well.
Smoky Chipotle Salsa
- food processor
- 4 cloves garlic
- 4 green onions
- 1/2 medium white onion
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1/2 chipotle pepper in adobo
- 3-4 large roma tomatoes (or 4-5 small)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Peel garlic and cut white onion, green onions and red pepper into large pieces. Place in food processor and process until finely chopped.
- Add sugar, lime juice and chipotle pepper in adobe. Cut tomatoes into large pieces and add. Process until finely chopped.
- Add salt and pepper and process. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
- Chill before serving.