Salsa Criolla

Specifically, this recipe goes with Pamploma de Puerco which will be published on Thursday, but it works as an appetizer with tortilla chips just as well.  Looking for a new topping for taco night?  Or maybe something different to go with your chimichangas? This will work for that too.

This is from chef Jose Garces via Tasting Table.


Salsa Criolla

Salsa Criolla

2 Tablespoons finely diced white onion

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

salt, to taste

1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper

1/2 cup tomatoes, seeds removed and finely diced

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

In medium bowl, combine onion, vinegar and salt.  Let sit for about half an hour to soften the onion a bit.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Serve with grilled pork, chicken or beef, or just on its own with tortilla chips


Red Savina Hot Sauce 

Way back in November 2017, a blogger I follow, Cast Iron Dan, posted his recipe for this hot sauce.  I reblogged it because it looked interesting.

It was the only thing I had ever posted that I had not already made in my own kitchen.  I had every intention of making it straight away, but travel plans came up quickly, guests started arriving, Christmas came and went, then came our busy season…and this got put to the WAY BACK burner.

Anyway, I just came from my kitchen, where I made the full recipe!  By the time all is blended, you really do end up with 2 pints of hot sauce.  I know!   8 oz of habaneros doesn’t really look like that much when its sitting on a scale.  But, factor in the other ingredients and yup, its a quart.


Cast Iron Dan will be happy to know that I did, in fact wear rubber gloves, as he recommended and my kitchen was well ventilated, plus, I had the hood fan going.

I had a small spill when blending (best to do it in 2  smaller batches instead of 1 big one!!) and I had already removed my gloves when I wiped it up.   Even the small amount that touched my palms is causing a slight tingle.  So, be warned.  WEAR GLOVES.  It does make slicing the habaneros awkward, but much better than the alternative.  Click here for an amusing story about that!

The bottom line is that this is a great sauce!  The carrots give this a nice sweetness which cuts the heat just a little.   My tongue is on fire, but I have already eaten 2 tostadas smeared with this sauce and intend to go back for more.  I cant wait to try this on … oh, probably every thing else I cook this week!

The basic recipe is below, but for the full version, follow this link to the original page.

Ingredients  (makes approximately 30 oz)

  • 8 oz carrots
  • 8 oz Habaneros  (red savina if you can grow your own)
  • 1 head of garlic- roasted on stove
  • 1 cup Apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Slice carrots into 1/8″ wheels, place in saucepan with enough water to cover a and cook until tender.

While that is cooking, slice peppers a bout 1/8″ thick.

Once the carrots are tender, add the peppers and the rest of the ingredients and return to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.

Pour entire contents into blender and mix until very smooth.

I’m not sure how long this will keep.  My best guess is a couple of weeks if you just pour it into jars, and much longer if you process it as if you were canning.

Cast Iron Dan

The other day, I had someone on Facebook ask me what I do with all those peppers that I grow. That’s a good question, so I guess I should share what I make with all of that hot fruit! I make habanero hot sauce! The variety of habaneros that I grew this year are called Red Savina, which are about twice as big and twice as hot as the normal orange habaneros. Some of the peppers this year are over two inches in diameter!

I’ve been making this sauce for 5 years now and every time I think that I should change the recipe – I end up deciding to leave it just the way that it is! It is smoky, sweet, savory, citrussy and very hot… but not too hot! It doesn’t take much, but its a great condiment for tacos, burgers and most everything else. My youngest daughter…

View original post 277 more words

Beef · Main Courses


You may have noticed that I haven’t published many Mexican recipes.  The simple truth is why cook it when I can get authentic Mexican any night of the week within a 10 minute drive from my doorstep?

One thing I have not seen here though, is a Chimichanga.  Maybe it isn’t really Mexican?    I don’t really care.   It is fun to make and even more fun to eat.   The photo shows  just one chimichanga on our plates, along with a lot of shredded lettuce and tomatoes.  The truth is, we both went back for seconds so this recipe will serve 2.  You will have ground beef and beans left over, so you could have a couple of friends over or you can make a extra to re-heat later or use the leftovers in tacos or quesadillas the next day.

Don’t be discouraged by the amount of instruction.   Basically, you are putting cooked meat on a tortilla rolling it up and frying it.    Just be careful with the frying part, that oil is HOT.  And of course, never leave heating oil unattended on your stove.

Special Equipment required:  A deep fryer or large deep sided frying pan and a deep fry thermometer



Avocado Sauce

1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped

1 bunch cilantro, leaves & tender stems, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup sour cream, well stirred

1/4 cup milk  (maybe more depending on thickness of sauce)

2 Tablespoons lime juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

Put all ingredients in  blender and blend until smooth.  You may need to add more milk, depending on the size of your avocado and how thick your sour cream is.  Just keep blending until you have a spoonable, but not runny, sauce.   Set aside.  (you can make this several hours ahead, just be sure to cover and refrigerate).

The Filling

2 Tablespoons canola oil

1 onion, diced

1 clove garlic

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)

1 lb ground beef

pinch of  ground thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

freshly ground pepper

Heat oil in frying pan,  over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until onion is translucent and beginning to soften.  Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes and cook another minute.  Add ground beef, thyme, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper and cook until meat is cooked through.  Stir often to breaking up those bits of beef as it browns.   This should take about 7 minutes.  Taste for seasoning and remove from heat.  Let cool a few minutes.


4   8″ flour tortillas

1   15 oz can refried beans

diced tomatoes

2 cups Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded (or any mild flavoured cheese will work just fine)

2 – 3 cups vegetable oil for frying

Heat refried beans gently in saucepan.  This makes it easier to spread them on the tortillas.  Warm the tortillas on low heat in the microwave a few seconds to soften.  This will avoid tearing during assembly.  Wrap in a clean towel to keep warm.

Putting it All Together

The general idea here is to use the middle portion of the tortilla for the fillings.   You want a rough rectangle more or less in the centre of the tortilla, with at least a 1″ border on both sides.

Lay 1 warmed tortilla on the counter in front of you.  With the back of a spoon, spread 1/8 of the beans across the centre, leaving a 1″ border on both sides.   Place 1/8 of the beef on top of the beans, staying, more or less,  within the rectangle you created with the beans.  Top ground beef with a small amount of grated cheese and a sprinkle of diced tomatoes.

Fold sides towards the centre, and over the mound you have created.  Hold sides gently in place with your fingers, then using your thumbs, flip the bottom up and over the filling.  Gently press everything into place so that it is all firmly packed, and roll the burrito away from you, stopping with the seam side down!  Set aside, seam side down and proceed with the next one until all burritos are filled.   If you find you are having difficulty rolling the burritos, use less filling.   Repeat with remaining tortillas.

Once all your burritos are stuffed,  Preheat oven to 150F and place a cookie sheet with a rack inside of it in the oven.  Heat 1″ of oil in a large deep sided (at least 4″) frying pan to 350F.  Using a spatula, carefully lower burrito, SEAM SIDE DOWN into the hot oil.  You can fry 2 at a time.

IMG_2691 2

Cook until bottoms are golden (2 – 3 minutes) then use tongs or spatula to gently roll them to cook the other side -about 1 minute longer.    Carefully remove from oil and place on prepared cookie sheet to keep warm while you repeat the process with the remaining burritos.

Serve with Avocado Salsa, shredded lettuce, radishes, cucumbers, more diced tomatoes, rice or even more refried beans.


shredded iceberg lettuce

sliced radishes

sliced cucumbers

pickled hot peppers












Cooked Green Salsa

Every taco stand we visit offers at least 3 salsas, usually mild, medium and hot.   This one is on the hotter side.

For a milder flavour, either remove the seeds and veins from the chile before blending or just use half of it.  Or both.

The key here is not to overcook the tomatillos.  They will turn from bright green to a sort of dull army or khaki green quite quickly.  Anything beyond army green means the tomatillo is overcooked and will be bitter.  If your tomatillos turn yellow, toss the batch and start over.

Cooked Green Salsa

1 fresh green Serrano or Jalepeno chile

10 medium size  (about 1/1/2 ” diameter) tomatillos, outer husks removed

2 cloves garlic

1/2 small onion, roughly chopped.

salt to taste

 taco chips for serving

in a medium saucepan, boil the serrano and the tomatillos until the tomatillos loose their shiny green colour and take on a sort of drab khaki or “army” green.  Drain well.

Put all ingredients into your blender, pulse until more or less smooth.  Add salt to suit your taste.

Pour into serving bowl and serve with fried tortilla or taco chips.

Cooked Tomatillo Salsa
Cooked Tomatillo Salsa