Posted October 10, 2007 by SteveM in Reviews

Review: Goya Salsita Hot Sauce with Ancho Chiles


It’s nostalgic for me to be reviewing a GOYA product. What lover of ethnic foods does not know the name? Go to any “Americano” supermarket, where they crowd all of the international foods into one tiny section of one aisle, and you will see the name GOYA on dozens of products. Let me tell you; don’t be fooled into thinking that a brand that is labeled and priced to appeal to the masses is in any way inferior. Too often, we make that assumption while shopping and pass by something good.

Attending hotel school and living in Miami in the late 70’s, I was fresh out of Culinary Arts School, and eager to master the world’s cuisines. Miami, as the gateway to South America, and having a thriving Cuban-American community, was a perfect training ground. On the road to discovering Spanish and Latin-American cuisines, I relied on GOYA products to be my training wheels.

I remember the first time I walked into the mercado at the end of our street (SW 78th Ct. at Bird Rd.). The sights, smells and colorful language transported me to an exciting new world ““ a world where I couldn’t read the food labels because I didn’t speak Spanish! So the GOYA products, with their colorful “Americano-friendly” labels naturally ended up in my basket.

Many GOYA products are staples for the table. In a culinary “tool kit”, they might be considered the wrench or the saw. They serve a particular purpose with reliability and consistency. So, when I saw the word picante on the label of the GOYA SALSITA, CHILE ANCHO, I knew how I was going to use it. I use picante sauces as “cutting tools” for rich, fatty foods, much like the acids and tannins in a good red wine balance out a well-marbled Prime steak. Hold that thought while you look at what I “cut” with the SALSITA, and learn how it was made”¦

Goya Salcita Hot Sauce

On a recent evening, two Margaritas deep, I opened the refrigerator to scout for possibilities for dinner. It was pretty sparse. I spied some leftover steamed zucchini, a tomato, and 4 lonesome-looking poblano chiles in the vegetable drawer. Oh, also a 2-day old hunk of grilled flank steak and a few assorted cheeses. That was it. But those, and some stand-by’s in the pantry, were all I needed to construct an awesome meal. I sprung into action!

First I took those beautiful, shiny, dark green Poblanos outside and laid them on the gas grill to char. Meanwhile, I took 4 potatoes roughly the size of the chiles. They were firm and yellow, going by the name “Butter Potatoes”. I peeled and quartered the potatoes, then sliced a medium white onion thickly and set the spuds and onion slices in a steamer basket in a covered saucepan. While they were steaming, I sprayed the inside of a glass casserole dish with olive oil, then put a light layer of canned green enchilada sauce on the bottom of the casserole, then the zucchini slices on top.

After a couple of turns, I took the Poblanos off the grill and sealed them tightly in a paper lunch bag for 10 minutes, then carefully removed the charred skin, leaving the stem intact. I inserted my finger in the tip of each chile (opposite end from the stem) and opened it up in preparation for stuffing, removing the bitter seeds.

Once al-dente, I removed the spuds and onions to a heat-proof bowl and mashed them coarsely. I added finely ground black pepper, ground sea salt, a splash of heavy cream and a big handful of shredded cheese ““ my choice was cheddar and Monterey Jack. The consistency was like thick, creamy, lumpy, cheesy mashed potatoes. With a spoon, I carefully stuffed this mixture into each chile, and then wrapped the open chile around the mixture to re-form it into its original shape.

I pre-heated the oven to 375 and got an inch of frying oil going in a skillet in preparation for frying. I beat an egg together with a few tbsp of flour, a few shakes of salt and a teaspoon of water, adjusting the mix with additional flour or liquid until it was the consistency of thin pancake batter ““ just thick enough to coat the chiles. I rolled each chile in the batter to coat it, and then dropped it in the hot oil to fry; having tested a few drops of batter first to be sure the oil was the right temp. Turned once, and fried to a golden brown, I removed them to drain on anther paper lunch bag.

Now, I arranged the fried Poblanos on top of the zucchini slices, spooned additional green enchilada sauce over them, and then covered the whole mess with lots more grated cheese. Into the oven for a half hour or so!

I started to clean up and got another idea! There was about a half cup of leftover potato stuffing and an equal amount of the batter. Instead of throwing them out, I mixed them together, added a half teaspoon of baking powder, fired up the oil again and”¦made potato fritters! As these came out of the pan, I drained them on paper and dusted them with pimenton. Marvelous!

Last step, to spoil what was so far a veggie delight with a nice helping of meat, I sliced up the flank steak, sliced a medium onion and the tomato. I poured the frying oil out of the skillet, wiped it out, put in a bit of fresh olive oil and got it very hot. I threw in the steak, onions and tomatoes and cooked them fajita-style on high heat, seasoning them with a few turns from a grinder containing Caribbean spices and sea salt, then finishing with a little lump of butter in the pan. Finito!

I put a stuffed poblano, a few of the potato fritters and a helping of the fajita on my plate and here is the finished product with the SALSITA on deck!

Goya Salcita Hot Sauce

Despite having two types of green chiles, this is a fairly rich dish, with starchy potatoes, cream and lots of cheese. So I go to the tool box and look for that picante sauce to balance the richness. The GOYA SALSITA with ANCHO CHILES does the trick.

Ingredients: Water, salt, Ancho pepper, Arbol pepper, acetic acid, citric acid, xanthan gum, onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, caramel color, sodium benzoate, cinnamon.

First Impressions: This SALSITA is a beautiful chocolate brown. How much of the color is manipulated through the addition of caramel, I don’t know, but it looks very appetizing. The initial smell is hard to peg. I hate to be vague, but it smells “piquante”, whatever that it.

Taste: The initial taste is”¦well”¦piquante!..OK, acidic!…and pleasantly salty. I can taste the garlic, but can’t distinguish the other spices mentioned in the ingredients. The sauce has some mouth feel ““ you can actually detect the grit of the ground chiles. Bottom line, you know when you taste this that it belongs on something like my stuffed poblanos, or a cheesy quesadilla, a rib-eye steak or your mom’s mac & cheese! And how about several dashes in your Bloody Mary! I’m trying that next!

Heat: This sauce is relatively mild (I give it a 4 on the HSB Heat Scale), but you will feel it if you use a lot of it. I have been swigging generous amounts of the sauce while writing this piece and can report the following: mouth burn ““ confined to mid-mouth, behind the lips and mid-tongue ““ a pleasant, low burn. The affected sweat points ““ small to medium quantities of this sauce produce perspiration confined to the sides of the nose/ under the eyes. Larger quantities cause the perspiration to spread to eyebrows, followed by a very pleasant, slow release of endorphins, causing a feeling of warmth in the face and upper body.

All-in-all, I am a fan of this sauce and give it an overall rating of 8, considering that it is basic, honest and it knows its purpose in life. There are hot sauces to be collected and displayed like trophies. There are hot sauces to be acquired and kept in your pantry for occasional use. Then, there are hot sauces that belong on the table, like this picante SALSITA by GOYA. Enjoy!

Goya Foods, Inc.
100 Seaview Drive
Secaucus, NJ 07096
Tel: 201-348-4900
Fax: 201-348-6609