Saturday, September 13, 2014

How drunk is your salsa?

Salsa Borracha3a
Yes, I know, you must be thinking… “drunk” what? Yes, salsa borracha or drunken salsa is a very famous salsa in Mexico City and the central states, usually served with a good portion of Lamb or goat barbacoa (steamed). The peppers used to make this salsa are called “Pasilla” peppers, they have dark colored skin  and wrinkles resembling those of dried plum-prunes, and, in Spanish, dried prunes are called “ciruelas pasas” hence the name pasilla. These peppers are not spicy, they are more like the mild  type of peppers. The Pasilla peppers are also used in Moles and stews. This salsa is more of a complement to enhance the flavors of grilled, broiled or baked meats and poultry instead of adding spiciness.

Wikipedia more about Pulque

But, what about the drunkenness of the salsa? Ah!, well, this salsa is prepared in Mexico using one of the oldest alcoholic drinks since ancient times: Pulque. Pulque is an alcoholic beverage that has been produced since Pre-Hispanic Times; it is white in color with a light viscosity. It is made fermenting the liquid extracted from certain types of Agave Plants. It was produced in the Central States of the country like the State of Mexico, Puebla, Hidalgo and Tlaxcala where the weather is ideal to cultivate this plant. In Pre-Hispanic times Kings and priests drank Pulque, since it was considered a sacred drink, the rest of the people were only allow to drink it in special celebrations and in moderation. Drunkenness was prohibited and it could be punished even by the death penalty. Yes, those were other times… 

But since pulque is not available everywhere in Mexico (let alone outside the country), people use beer to give the salsa its drunken status. I mean alcohol is alcohol. So, here we are using light beer instead of Pulque, any brand of beer will do, and yes, you can have a sip or two of the beer too. If you don’t drink alcohol then use orange juice.

There is another Salsa in the Northern States also called “Salsa Borracha-Drunken Salsa”, very different from this salsa, but it also includes beer.
Salsa Borracha4
  • 4 Pasilla Peppers, cleaned, devein and seeds removed
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 cup light beer*
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/3 cup white onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled dried cheese**
Salsa Borracha5NOTES:
*As indicate above, if you don't want to use beer, substitute the beer for orange juice, or for a milder version mix 1/2 cup orange juice and 1/2 cup of beer.
*It usually served with a dried cheese called Anejo, it is not easy to find outside Mexico. But if you find Fresh cheese or Cotija they are a good substitute.

Salsa Borracha6
1. Slightly toast the already cleaned and deveined Pasilla Peppers in a medium hot grilled alone the garlic clove. The pasilla peppers will take just a few seconds to toast. Remove promptly since dried peppers develop a bitter taste is over toast or burnt.

salsa borracha7
2. Transfer peppers to a bowl and cover with warm water, let them soak for about 15 minutes until soft.
3. Combine drained peppers, beer and garlic clove in your blender or food processor, process until you have a fine and smooth sauce.
4. Place salsa in a serving bowl, season with salt, and sprinkle with cheese and diced onion.

Salsa Borracha, is usually one of the salsas served with Lamb Barbacoa. For the Lamb Barbacoa recipe, please click HERE.


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