Smoky salsa to celebrate Hispanic heritage


N1204P66013CNo celebration of Hispanic heritage is complete without a meal. Hispanic cuisine is as versatile as it is beloved, and people of all backgrounds list Hispanic cuisine among their favorite foods.

Southern California chef Hugo Molina, a one-time executive chef at the Parkway Grill in Pasadena, recognized the celebratory nature of Hispanic cuisine and created the following recipe for Smoky Salsa from “The New California Cookbook” (Chronicle Books) by Diane Rossen Worthington, with that in mind. Grilling the ingredients first adds a smoky undertone to the salsa.

Smoky Salsa

Makes 2 cups

5 large Roma tomatoes, halved

1 small red onion, cut into thick slices

3 scallions, white and light green parts only

1/3 medium bunch of fresh cilantro, tough stems removed

1 garlic clove

1 teaspoon canned chipotle peppers

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup Chicken Stock (see below)

1. Prepare the grill for medium-heat grilling. Grill the tomatoes, onion slices and scallions about 3 inches from the heat until partially charred, turning occasionally. (The onion will take the longest.) Transfer to a plate. Grill the cilantro for about 30 seconds, just to wilt and give it a slightly smoky flavor.

2. Mince the garlic cloves in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the grilled vegetables and cilantro, chiles, vinegar, salt, and stock and process to a puree. Taste for seasoning. (For a thinner consistency, add more chicken stock.) Pour into a storage container and let cool. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Chicken Stock

Makes 3 quarts

4 pounds chicken necks and backs

3 celery ribs

3 medium carrots, peeled

2 medium onions, root ends cut off, cut into halves

2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned and sliced

1 bouquet garni (see note)

Salt to taste

1. Combine the chicken parts, vegetables and bouquet garni in a 6-quart stockpot and add enough cold water to fill the pot three-fourths full. Bring to a boil slowly over medium heat, uncovered.

2. Reduce the heat to as low as possible and simmer for 3 hours. Add salt to taste.

3. Strain the stock through a colander or strainer lined with cheesecloth. Let cool to room temperature and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight. With a large spoon, remove the hardened fat from the surface and discard it.

4. If you’re not using it immediately, pour the stock into small containers and refrigerate or freeze.