Tomatillo-Arbol Chile Salsa

De Arbol (Capsicum Annuum) means tree like in Spanish. The plant has thick, upright, woody stems and the chile itself is narrow, curved and bright red in color. Believed to be closely related to the pequin, the De Arbol is thin fleshed, with tannic, smoky, grassy flavor and searing heat. This chile has a heat range of 7.5 on the heat scale of 1-10. De Arbol Chiles are comparable to a Cayenne Pepper. Scoville heat units 15,000 to 30,000.

Suggested Use:
De Arbol is a hot chile and a staple in Southwest kitchens. Add some heat to your next salsa or Mexican dish. Be adventurous and add them to your next stew or chili along with the other spices Add some heat to your next salsa or Mexican dish.

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4 tomatillos, husked, rinsed and blackened
3 Roma tomatoes, blackened
5 dried de arbol chiles, stemmed, with seeds
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
½ teaspoon cumin seed, toasted and ground
½ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, toasted and ground
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon peanut oil


To blacken the tomatillos and Roma tomatoes, place on a baking sheet under the broiler for about 5 minutes, rotating until the skins are charred and blistered on all sides. Cut out and discard the stem and core from the tomatillos and Romas.

In a small pan, toast the cumin seed and oregano over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until fragrant. Grind in a spice grinder.

Place all ingredients, except peanut oil, in a blender and puree until smooth.

In a large, heavy nonstick skillet, heat the peanut oil over high heat until just smoking. Turn the heat down to medium-high and carefully add the sauce. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon for 3 to 5 minutes, until it thickens slightly. The sauce will keep for about 2 months in the refrigerator.

Makes about 2 cups.