Anna Zepaltas reserves powerful, complex-tasting red salsas for beef, pork, lamb or hearty mushroom tamales.
Slideshow:More Terrific Salsas
4 dried pasilla chiles (1 1/2 ounces), stemmed and seeded (see Note)
2 dried guajillo chiles (1/2 ounce), stemmed and seeded (see Note)
1/4 cup golden raisins
3 cups boiling water
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, quartered
1 garlic clove, smashed
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
How to Make It
In a large heatproof bowl, cover the dried chiles and raisins with the boiling water; set a plate on top to submerge the chiles. Let stand until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain the chiles and raisins and transfer to a blender; reserve 1/4 cup of the soaking liquid.
In a small skillet, toast the sesame seeds and cumin over moderately high heat until fragrant and golden, shaking the pan, about 2 minutes. Transfer the seeds to the blender. Add the tomato, onion, garlic, lime juice, 1/4 cup of reserved soaking liquid and 1/2 cup of water and puree until smooth. Strain the salsa through a fine sieve, pressing hard on the solids. Season the salsa with salt.
Dried pasilla and guajillo chiles are available at Latin American markets, specialty food stores and some supermarkets.
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