Salsa is much, much more than a dip. Spoon it over burgers and meatloaf, stir into sautéed vegetables or rice, and use it as a condiment for Mexican-style dishes. Sure, you can buy jars of salsa to stash in the pantry—and these are terrific to have on hand—but frozen homemade salsa allows you to have more leeway with spiciness and added ingredients. If you want more chile heat, stir in pure ground chile powder (see Note, below). For some variety, for every cup of salsa, stir in 1/2 cup thawed frozen corn kernels, rinsed canned beans (black, pinto, or red) or 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped.
Servings: Makes 4 cups
Ingredients 1 tablespoon olive oil , preferably extra-virgin olive oil1 medium onion , chopped1 jalapeno , seeds and ribs discarded, finely chopped2 cloves garlic , finely chopped1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice, drained1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes in thick purée1/2 teaspoon pure ground chile powder , such as chipotle or ancho (see Note), optional
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until it is golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the jalapeño and garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes, and the ground chile powder, if using.
Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, until the salsa is lightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Cool completely. Transfer the salsa to 1- or 2-cup covered containers. (The salsa can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost the frozen salsa before using.)
Note: Unlike chili powder, which includes other ingredients such as cumin or oregano for seasoning a pot of chili, pure ground chile powder is unadulterated ground chiles (some people call them chili peppers). The variety of chile dictates the powder's heat. Chipotle are very, very hot, whereas ancho is milder and sweeter. Pure ground chile powders are available at Latino and specialty food markets, and by mail order from Penzeys Spices (www.penzeys.com, 1-800-741-7787, and their retail shops, concentrated in the Midwest.)