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Sweet Strawberry Salsa with Arbol Chiles

2 dried arbol chilies, wiped clean stemmed
2 tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 pound strawberries, rinsed, hulled and quartered [3.5 cups]
0.5 cup sugar
10 whole peppercorns
2 whole cloves
2 small Turkish bay leaves or 1 small California leaf
0.25 teaspoon fine salt or 0.5 teaspoon kosher salt


Heat a heavy skillet over medium-low heat and roast the tomatillos and toast the chilies, turning the chilies over and pressing down on them frequently with tongs, until they are browned all over and with some blackened spots, 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove the chilies and continue to roast the tomatillos, turning them over only once, until their tops and bottoms have blackened and the tomatillos are khaki-green color and cooked to the core, 20 to 30 minutes total.

Add the strawberries to the tomatillos in the hot skillet and cook, stirring over medium heat, until they start to give off liquid. Add the toasted chilies, sugar, peppercorns, cloves, bay leaves, and salt. Cook until the strawberries are soft, about 5 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to the blender jar and blend until the spices break down and salsa is very smooth, about 1 minute, then strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve, pressing don and then discard the solids.

This salsa keeps in the refrigerator for up to three days.