Los Nortenos (Bryan, TX) – Warm Salsa w/Chips

A tribute to one of the great Tex-Mex eateries.  For an obscure reference to Patsy’s legendary cafe in downtown Bryan, listen to Lyle Lovett’s (Class of ’84) “This Old Porch.”  And then listen to the rest of the album, too.


OK, it works something like this.  Start a 3-qt saucepan over low heat.  When it’s hot, add a couple tablespoons of olive oil.  When the oil shimmers, add two ripe, whole tomatoes and roll them around until the skin is seared  and loosening; then cut them in half with the business end of an outdoor grill spatula.  As the tomatoes get more and more tender, continue to chop them in halves and halves, add 3 cloves of minced fresh garlic, two diced fresh jalapenos, and a very coarsely chopped yellow onion.  Increase heat and saute.  Add a 15-oz can of tomato sauce, half a can of water, a handful of finely chopped fresh cilantro, and two dried bay leaves.  Stir well.  Add water by the tablespoon as the salsa cooks to keep the liquid reasonably thin.  The vegetables should soften long enough that the onions’ sharp flavor is rounded off, and the tomatoes should become part of the liquid.  When the salsa is nearly ready to serve, stir in a little bit of ground cumin (a couple of shakes only; cumin can take over, and we don’t want that) and a teaspoon of salt.  If you’re browning any beef or pork on another burner, stir in a tablespoon of melted animal fat or olive oil to finish, stir well, and serve with large tortilla chips.  Keep hot in a Crock Pot for parties and serve with a big ladle.


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