You know those moments in life when things don’t go as you’d planned them, not even a little? This recipe was exactly one of those moments.
During Christmas I was in Texas visiting family and we went out to eat at this amazing Mexican restaurant. It was a huge treat for us to enjoy a really good Tex-Mex restaurant. Remember, I discuss how Midwestern Mexican food doesn’t even compare to Mexican/Tex-Mex in Texas?
This wonderful restaurant in Texas served us chips and salsa of course, but it wasn’t your typical chips and salsa. It was a sundried tomato and chipotle salsa. It was smoky, spicy, tomato-y; it was divine.
Right then and there I vowed to re-create this salsa at home. I decided to wait until Cinco de Mayo to make the salsa. Like every recipe I make I have an idea in my head of how the recipe will look and taste. Sometimes it’s pretty close, and other times I completely miss the mark. This particular recipe was completely off. Maybe it was because I waited four months since I tried the salsa to make it. My memory of the salsa is a little fuzzy.
Or, maybe it’s simply because I don’t have the original recipe.
As I pureed the soaked sundried tomatoes and chipotle peppers it became pretty obvious that I wasn’t going to get a salsa out of this recipe. The texture was more of a paste, almost what you would put over a pasta. I tried adding liquid to make it more salsa-like, but the mixture only soaked it right up.
Disappointed and feeling defeated, I was about to give up. Maybe I would try again next week. As I kept tasting the failed salsa I realized that I really enjoyed the flavor. It had the smokiness from the chipotle peppers and was bursting with sundried tomato flavor.
I wasn’t ready to give up just yet. How could I make this work?
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks!
It’s a dip, not a salsa. The consistency is dense, smooth, and spreadable.
What if I add some cream cheese to give it a creamy component?
Heeeeeyyyy Paul! Will you pretty, pretty please pick up some cream cheese on your way home from work? Thx.
Bam! Just like that, with one quick text to my personal grocery shopper-I mean incredible husband-my recipe was not only saved, it was made into something unexpected, delicious, and totally addicting.
As they say, “When life gives you salsa, make a dip.” Wait! That’s not right. Oh well, it applies here.
This creamy sundried tomato and chipotle dip would be the perfect item to bring to a Cinco de Mayo party, especially because it can be made in advance.
Serve it with some crackers or tortilla chips and a few margaritas and/or Mexican beers to wash down the spice and you’ve got one heck of a PAAARRRTTTAAAYYYYY!!!!
Enjoy, my friends. And Happy Cinco de Mayo!
P.S. I discovered that this dip is incredible cooked into scrambled eggs!
- 2 cups sundried tomatoes (unflavored, and not in oil)
- 1.5 ounces (1 cup) dried chipotle peppers*
- 2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Juice of 3 limes
- Filtered water for soaking the sundried tomatoes and chipotle peppers
- ¼ cup liquid reserved from soaking the chipotles*
- 1 cup cilantro, minced
- ¼ to ⅓ cup liquid reserved from soaking the sundried tomatoes*
- ½ red onion, minced
- 8 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
- Sea salt
- Sliced green onions, for garnish, optional
- Crackers and/or tortilla chips for serving
- Cut off the stem of each of the chipotle peppers.
- Place the sundried tomatoes and the chipotle peppers in their own separate bowls and soak in hot water for 20 minutes.
- Drain the peppers and sundried tomatoes, reserving the liquid but keeping each type separate.* Place the sundried tomatoes and peppers into the bowl of a food processor. Add the garlic cloves, cumin, smoked paprika, cilantro, lime juice, ¼ cup tomato soaking liquid, and ¼ cup (or less) * of the chipotle soaking liquid. Process for a few minutes.
- Scrape down the sides and process again until the mixture is mostly smooth with a few chunks of tomato or pepper.
- Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. If it is mostly cool then proceed. If it is still pretty warm to the touch, cover the mixture and place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to cool down. It can still be warm; you just don’t want it to be hot enough to melt the cream cheese.
- Once the mixture is cool enough that it will not melt the cream cheese, stir in the red onions and cream cheese. Salt the mixture to taste.
- Cover and place in the refrigerator to chill for a couple hours or overnight.
- Serve chilled with crackers or tortilla chips for spreading and dipping. Garnish with green onion, if desired.
Inspired from the salsa at Meso Maya Restaurant in Dallas, Texas.