(This Wicked Chipotle Chile Pequin Salsa relies on chipotles for flavor and chile pequins for heat! Jump to recipe here.)
As chili peppers get smaller they tend to get hotter. And Chile Pequins are real small.
Their capsaicin level is 5-10 times stronger than a jalapeno so consider yourself warned, they are one of the hottest chilis you'll come across.
You'll also frequently see them on the ingredient list of your favorite hot sauces.
As seen above, they are typically paired with other chilis as their subtle, nutty flavor is less robust than their dominant heat. That's what we'll be doing here: pairing the Chile Pequin with Chipotles in Adobo to create a wicked salsa that has the best of both worlds.
Recipe for Wicked Hot Chipotle Chile Pequin (Piquin) Salsa
You'll notice quite a difference if you roast the tomatoes and chilis before blending them together. You can pan roast the tomatoes but lately I just throw them in the oven at 400F.
Pick through the Chile Pequins and remove any stems or hardened chilis. We are using 1/8 cup of Pequin, this is roughly 25-30 chilis. (How To Handle Hot Chili Peppers.)
After about 15-20 minutes the tomatoes will be roasted (enough) and you can add the Chili Pequins to the roasting pan.
The Pequins are tiny and only need about 1-2 minutes in the oven to roast. Anything longer than that and they'll burn and turn bitter.
Once done, add to a blender along with 2 garlic cloves, 3 chipotles in adobo, a sliver of onion, a couple tablespoons of water, a pinch of salt and a splash of vinegar.
We aren't using much onion at all here, maybe a couple tablespoons worth. The idea is to create a sharp, concentrated sauce to be used one drop at a time. Adding additional onion would dilute the salsa too much.
And if you are new to Chipotles in Adobo you'll find them in the Latin goods section of most supermarkets or in any Hispanic market.
Pulse blend until the ingredients are combined. And a friendly warning: don't give it a smell after blending as you'll get a homemade version of pepper spray coming at ya!
You'll end up with a wicked hot sauce that packs real heat from the Chile Pequins but also has a rich, complex flavor from the Chipotles.
This salsa works best as a topper sauce, i.e. the final touch on a taco or burrito. The splash of vinegar will help it keep for weeks at a time in the fridge so you can think of it as your own personal hot sauce that's always on standby.
Use it one drop at a time until you acclimatize to the heat because it's hot in here.
Wicked Hot Chipotle Chile Pequin Salsa
- 2 Roma tomatoes
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons onion
- 1/8 cup Chile Pequin (approx. 25-30 chilis)
- 3 chipotles in adobo
- splash of vinegar
- 2-3 tablespoons water
- Roast the tomatoes in the oven at 400F for 15-20 minutes
- Pick through 1/8 cup of Chile Pequins (25-30 chilis) and remove any stems or hardened chilis
- Add the Chile Pequins to the roasting pan and roast for 1-2 minutes
- Add the tomatoes and Chile Pequins to a blender along with 3 chipotles in adobo, a sliver of onion, 2 garlic cloves, a pinch of salt, 2-3 tablespoons of water, and a splash of vinegar.
- Pulse blend until ingredients thoroughly combined
- Serve immediately
Chile Pequins would also work good in our Peanut Chile Salsa.
Still hungry? You might also like our spicy Black Bean Nachos.