Get the Recipe
I was in need of some Cinco de Mayo inspiration, so I busted out the most appropriate book in my collection—Robb Walsh's The Tex-Mex Grill and Backyard Barbacoa Cookbook. Flipping through the pages, nothing was grabbing my attention, until I reached a recipe almost the very end—"Ancho-Raisin Salsa."
Thinking of a salsa primarily as a dip for tortilla chips, this sauce doesn't fit the bill. Instead, it's a deeply earthy sauce that's made from first steeping an ancho chile and raisins in coffee, all then pureed with a little bit of cocoa powder. Next, onions are sauteed and the ancho mixture is added back in along with garlic, vinegar, and Worcestershire.
The resulting medium-thick sauce had incredible character—it possessed a rich complexity that started off with an earthy and slightly bitter bite, which then combined with a fruity sweetness and a little tanginess. Though not a dipping kind of salsa, the flavors of this ancho-raisin sauce were well-matched to a beefy and hearty grilled skirt steak, and even better when that steak was piled into flour tortillas and enjoyed as fajitas.
This post may contain links to Amazon or other partners; your purchases via these links can benefit Serious Eats. Read more about our affiliate linking policy.