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Peru 2021 - Recipes

Salsa Madre: Mother Sauce

The flavors in salsa madre are pretty intense, so you only need a small amount. Because the salsa madre already has a good amount of oil, you can start off sautéing whatever you are cooking simply with a dollop or two of the sauce. Store the sauce in the freezer in generous tablespoon-size portions or flat in a freezer bags so you can break off little chunks whenever you need it.

¼ cup olive oil
½ cup finely diced red onion
2 Tablespoons pureed garlic or finely minced garlic
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons aji Amarillo paste, home-made or store bought *
½ cup aji panca paste, homemade or store bought*
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1½ Tablespoons dried oregano leaves, preferable Mexican
2 Tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

*Available through Amazon if not found locally

1. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium-high heat until hot, a good 2 minutes. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until it begins to soften, 3 to 4 minutes.
2. Stir in the garlic and bay leaf, and then add the aji Amarillo and panca pastes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and gently push the aderezo (flavoring) back and forth on the bottom of the pan until the pepper pastes smell toasty and the sauce has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the cumin and oregano and stir for 15 seconds, or until the spices smell fragrant. Add the pepper, remove the salsa madre from the heat, and let cool completely.
4. Remove the bay leaf, cover, and refrigerate for up to 5 days, or lay the sauce flat in a quart-size freezer bag, freeze, and break off small pieces as needed.

Recipe from: The Fire of Peru, by Ricardo Zarate and Jenn Garbee

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