Using up preserves, part 3: Salsa!

It’s rare that I don’t make a couple of batches of homemade salsa during
the tomato season: for me, it is the most versatile and flavourful of
condiments and can be used as the basis for many meals. Still, I often end
up with half-eaten jars of mild and medium salsa competing for fridge space
with the BBQ sauce and football-sized bottle of ketchup that live there.

Being possessed of a salty-spicy palate more than a sweet one, I’d gladly
take salsa over ketchup any day and often sub it in on burgers, with
homefries, and on scrambled eggs.

Here are a few more suggestions for spicing up your life with leftover

1. Add it to slow cooker chicken: Dump that jar into the cooker with
whatever cuts of raw chicken you have on hand, and enjoy with rice or
tortilla chips eight hours later! Or add a Thai-inspired twist with a few
spoonfuls of peanut butter, a can of black beans, and some coriander seeds
added to the cooker along with the salsa and chicken. Serve with fresh
cilantro sprigs, green onions, and lime wedges. YUM!

2. Add to chili: Thought the red peppers in the crisper were still ok,
but then got a squishy surprise? Skip ‘em and just add leftover salsa to
the chili pot: it contains plenty of peppers, along with onions and garlic,
which means a whole lot less chopping for you!

3. Make “dirty rice”: Another Mexican delight! Just add a few
spoonsful of salsa to white rice as it’s cooking; amazing with refried

4. Add to meatloaf: Stir it right in, along with bread crumbs, onions,
eggs, and meat. Or spread it over the top of the loaf before baking for a
nice glaze.

5. Make soup: My favourite Mexican restaurant makes an unforgettable
chicken soup that’s as piquant as it is nourishing—after eating many bowls
of it there over the years, I hope I’ve mostly figured out the recipe!
(Thank you, Mex of Ellsworth, Maine! You are the BEST!) Here it is…

Mexican Chicken Soup

4-5 cups soup stock (I like beef best, but chicken or veggie stock would
also work)
1 large chopped onion
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup salsa (or whatever’s left in the jar)
1 can chopped green chilies
1 can whole stewed tomatoes (or use 3-4 fresh or frozen ones from your
1-2 cups diced cooked chicken
2 teaspoons salt
Juice of 2 limes
cilantro for garnish

Add all ingredients except cilantro and lime juice to a large soup pot and
bring to a boil. Serve piping hot with a few splashes of lime and cilantro
stems in each bowl. Great with corn chips!

Bon appétit (buen provencho!)