COWGIRL In The Kitchen: Fire-Roasted Hatch Chile Salsa


Ahhh … those perfect days of late August and early September, when it’s clear, sunny, not unbearably hot, and the faintest whiff of fall hangs in the air.  Don’t you wish you could put that in a jar to enjoy all year long?

Well, by canning this salsa, you can. Marrying the season’s two standout superstars: fresh tomatoes and Hatch chiles, this bright salsa is a stellar choice for both beginning and experienced canners.

Adjust the heat by choosing mild, medium, or hot Hatch chiles and reducing the jalapeños, if you wish.  To further deepen the flavor, I recommend blistering the peppers over a wood fire.

Just break out the chips and enjoy the taste of summer throughout the year!

Yields 8 1-pint jars

  • 6 pounds fresh ripe tomatoes*
  • 8 to 10 Hatch chile peppers (to yield about 2 cups of blistered, seeded, and chopped chiles)
  • 3 red jalapeños
  • 3 green jalapeños 
  • 2 cups chopped white onion
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves, firmly packed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped and firmly packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar (to taste)

Wash 8 pint jars, bands, and lids in hot soapy water; let drain.  Place bands and lids in a saucepan and cover with water.  Fill a water-bath canner and set on the stove over low heat, with your jars in it, either on their sides or upside down.

Cut tomatoes in half, cut out stem-end cores, and place on baking sheet under broiler for 5 to 10 minutes, rotating pan as needed, until skins are slightly blackened and slip off easily (you might need to do several batches).  While tomatoes cool, roast the peppers over an open flame until charred and blistered, then place in a large metal bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

Discard skins and chop the tomatoes. Place in large stockpot, being sure to include all the juices.  You should have about 8 cups of chopped tomatoes and juices from 6 pounds of tomatoes.  

Rinse the peppers under cool water, discarding ribs, stems, and seeds.  The blackened skins should come right off.  Finely chop the peeled and seeded peppers and add them to the stockpot.  You should have about 2 1/2 cups of roasted peppers.

Turn the heat under the canner to high and bring to boil, with the jars in it to sterilize them.  Place the saucepan with lids and bands over low heat; do not let boil.

Add the remaining ingredients to the tomato/pepper mixture, adding just 1 teaspoon of sugar to start. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, carefully purée the salsa to a smoother consistency (Cook’s Note: I like a chunky salsa, so I use a light touch).  Taste for seasonings, and if too vinegary, add another teaspoon or so of sugar.  If too sweet, add a bit more vinegar to balance.

Bring blended salsa back to a boil and simmer a few more minutes.

Carefully remove jars with tongs.  Use a canning funnel and ladle hot salsa into jars, leaving a 1/2-inch head space.  Wipe rims clean with a damp cloth and carefully place lid on and screw bands in place to finger-tightness.  Process in a boiling-water bath for 15 minutes, then turn off the burner under the canner, remove the lid, and let sit for 5 minutes.

Remove jars with tongs, being careful to keep them upright.  You will hear popping sounds as the jars seal.  Let cool undisturbed on counter for 24 hours.  If after 24 hours, any of your jars haven’t sealed, put them in refrigerator to use immediately.  Store sealed jars of salsa in a cool, dark place, and use within a year.

*Homegrown, farmers’ market, or farm-stand tomatoes will give you a much better result than the grocery-store varieties.

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