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Fresh from the Garden: Salsa de Chile Macho at Casa Navarro

July 7, 2014

This week’s post features guest blogger Emiliano Calderon, a staff member at Casa Navarro State Historic Site, located in downtown San Antonio.

El cocinero mexicano, ó, Coleccion de las Mejores Recetas para Guisar al Estilo Americano : y de las Mas Selectas Segun el Metodo de las Cocinas Española, Italiana, Francesa e Inglesa. Mexico: Imprenta de Galvan, a cargo de Mariano Arevalo, Calle de Cadena num. 2, 1831. P. 138.

by Emiliano Calderon

Late May HarvestAn ongoing interpretive project I am engaged in here at Casa Navarro State Historic Site aims to engage visitors through interactive programming associated with our on-site garden.

It was common for both rural and urban Tejanos living during the 19th century to maintain a small garden where vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, peppers, squash and fruits would have been grown to supplement a diet that hinged largely on the cultivation of corn and beans. At Casa Navarro, a variety of these vegetables were planted the early spring, giving us the opportunity to do a small early harvest for public program development and preparation.

I chose to recreate a Salsa de Chile Macho published in the third chapter of El Cocinero Mexicano, ó, Coleccion de Las Mejores Recetas para Guisar al Estilo Americano. The recipe is fairly general but did not require much kitchen savvy.

Ingredients for Salsa de Chile MachoPublished Recipe:

Se tuesta chile ancho y la tercera parte de pasilla. Se desvenan y machuacan añadiéndosele un poco de pulque, ajo y pepitas del mismo chile. Estando machacado, se mezcla con cebolla cruda picada, un poco de mas pulque, aceite de comer, y queso añejo desmoronado.


Toast one ancho chile and one third of a pasilla chile. Devein the chiles and mash them with a little pulque, garlic, and seeds from the chiles. When these ingredients have been crushed, add some chopped raw onion, a little more pulque, some cooking oil, and crumbled, aged cheese.

Recipe as Kitchen-tested:

Salsa de Chile Macho (2)Ingredients:

1 Ancho Chile
1 Small Onion
1 Jalapeno (subbed)
1 Teaspoon of Tequila (subbed)
½ Teaspoon of Crushed Garlic
Seeds from Ancho and Jalapeno Peppers
Queso Añejo
1 Teaspoon Olive Oil


  1. Remove stems and roast the Ancho and Jalapeno Peppers (I did this over a gas fire until the skins of the peppers were blackened.)
  2. Cut roasted Ancho and Jalapeno Peppers, and mash together with Tequila, Crushed Garlic and some seeds from Peppers. (I mashed these together using a Molcajete and Tejolote, a Tejano version of the mortar and pestle.)
  3. Chop the Small Onion, add to previously made mixture with olive oil, a drop of tequila and Añejo Cheese. (I purchased the Queso Añejo because it is an aged cheese made from Goat’s milk, and has a crumbly consistency.

Salsa de Chile MachoAs noted, I substituted several ingredients because I wanted to use what I had readily available from our early harvest. The portion of the Salsa came out very small, but I am looking forward to making a larger amount in the near future, as well as testing out other recipes in the collection!

Casa Navarro is located at the corner of S. Laredo and W. Nueva streets in downtown San Antonio, in the Texas Independence and Hill Country Trail Regions.

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