Salsa Negra is your new best friend in the kitchen–it will keep in the fridge, add zip to your cooking, and it is super easy to make! Affiliate links have been used in this post to link to items I am discussing.
I have had a fantastic recipe for Spiralized Calabacitas sitting in my drafts folder since July 23. Yes, July 23. And why have I not shared this delicious recipe for using up zucchini during zucchini season you ask? Because I needed to make more of the salsa negra used to make it, so I could photograph it also. And finally, finally I got that done! Whew!
This blogging business is a hard job, I tell ya!
In all seriousness, the salsa negra was an integral part of the recipe. No point in sharing the one until I had shared the other. And this recipe is so embarrassingly easy that it is pretty mortifying it took me so long. C’est la vie. (And needless to say, stay tuned for an awesome calabacitas recipe coming soon.)
This recipe started with a “secret weapon sauce” that Rick Bayless shares in his new fabulous More Mexican Everyday: Simple, Seasonal, Celebratory. I have almost half the book bookmarked, and the secret sauces for keeping in your fridge are worth the purchase price alone (I paid for this book). It is not a super authentic salsa negra, which takes some serious work, but rather a next best thing and super delicious and easy to boot salsa negra. If that makes any sense! I made the recipe exactly as written the first time I made it, at my parents’ house. You can find that recipe at Parade Magazine. The recipe I am sharing is a little different. First of all, I made it with Steen’s 100% Pure Cane Syrup, a decision made because of what I had around (and which led to some other changes because the Steen’s is runnier than molasses in my opinion). Second, when I served the sauce to my family, almost everyone loved it (some could not handle the heat), but many of them wanted it sweeter. So, authentic or not, I decided to make it a bit sweeter.
About the heat… if you are using this as, for example, a barbecue sauce (entirely valid–it is fantastic on shredded pork), it is, indeed, super hot. But this sauce has many uses that tone the heat down. Brush a little on chicken breasts–they will be more like moderately hot. Drizzle a little into calabacitas–not hot at all. Drizzle more though and it will be! You get the idea–it can be a great way to add some flavor without making it super hot. Or, if you love this stuff like I do, you can also dip a chip in it and just have a glass of cold milk handy!
- 2 7 1/2-oz cans chipotle chiles en adobo
- 3 T Steen's pure cane syrup
- 5 T dark brown sugar, packed
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- pinch of salt
- 7 T water
- 2 T Chinese light soy sauce
- 2 T Chinese dark soy sauce
Place the first 5 ingredients (including the adobo sauce with the chipotles) into a blender and puree until quite smooth. Pour into a small saucepan. At this point it will look like this:
Add the water and on medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to medium low or low, enough to maintain a gentle simmer. Be careful because this mixture will splatter--you will want to stir it frequently, which will cut down on the splattering.
Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
You are looking for it to thicken and darken a bit (but not as dark as the finished sauce), kind of like tomato paste.
Remove from the heat and stir in the soy sauces. If you are using the dark soy sauce, which I definitely recommend for its depth of flavor, it will darken the sauce considerably. If needed, add a little water--you want a consistency like runny ketchup.
Place in a sealed container and store in the fridge. Bayless says it will keep for a month or 2; I can confirm that the little I had left from July 23 was still fine this past weekend when I added it to the new batch I made.
If you are looking for delicious ways to use your Salsa Negra, I will list some of my dishes below as I post them!