Roast Beetroot, Chili, and Balsamic Relish

The Guajillo (wha-hee-oh) chile is the most common dried chile in Mexico after the Ancho. The flavor of the Guajillo is distinct, slightly fruity with a strong piney, berry under taste. Guajillo flavors dished easily so a little goes a long way. This chile is between a 2-4 on the heat scale of 1-10. Guajillo, combined with the Passilla and Ancho, form the holy trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces.

Suggested Use:
A mildly hot chile. Use in sauces, salsa, soups and your favorite chile. A little goes a long way.

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For the tomato & chile sauce:
1 lb fresh tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 whole dried red chiles
2 fresh bay leaves
2 whole sprigs of fresh rosemary & thyme
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp of red wine
Salt & pepper to taste

For the beetroot relish:
1 lb fresh beetroot
1 large red onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp dark brown sugar
3.5 oz caster sugar
3.5 oz balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar


Makes 6 jars.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Firstly make the tomato and chilli sauce. Place the garlic and olive oil into a large pan and cook on a low heat for a few minutes before adding all the other ingredients. Cook for a further 30 minutes on a low heat until the tomatoes have broken down into the sauce. Leave to cool a little before passing the sauce through a sieve to remove the fresh herbs and chillies along with the skins and seeds of the tomatoes, you will be left with about 9 oz of tomato puree. Season well to taste. If you want an extra hit of chile place a little of the sauce in a blender with the two chiles and blend until smooth before adding this back into the tomato sauce.

Meanwhile wash and trim the beetroot of any stalks or roots before wrapping each individual beetroot in foil and placing them in a large baking tray. Cook in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the beetroot are cooked through, test this with a small sharp knife. Once cooked leave to cool a little before unwrapping and then peeling the beetroot, the skins should just slide off easily if you rub them. Coarsely grate the beetroot into a bowl, a food processor makes quick work of this. Wear gloves for this bit if you don’t want to stain your hands purple!

To make the relish place the olive oil and red onion in a large pan and cook on a low heat for 5-10 minutes until the onion is soft. Add the sugars and vinegars and bring to the boil before turning down the heat and adding the grated beetroot and tomato sauce. Cook for a further 10 minutes or until the relish had reduced to a thick consistency. Place the relish in sterilised jars with vinegar proof lids and use within one year, once open keep in the fridge. To sterilise jars simply wash in hot soapy water, rinse and leave to drain before placing on a baking tray in a cool oven for 10-15 minutes until dry.