Pulque, the fermented milky sap from the maguey or century plant, is the traditional ingredient that provides the borracha in this salsa. If it’s not available, substitute tequila or dark Mexican beer. The pasilla chiles used in this dish are not California pasillas, which are actually ancho chiles, but the dried form of the chilaca, a thin, mild, black chile. Their rich, smoky taste with a hint of chocolate makes this a wonderful sauce to serve with grilled meats and chicken, and no Mexican barbacoa would be complete without a bowl of salsa borracha.
- 8 pasilla chiles
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ cup orange juice, preferably fresh-squeezed
- 1 cup pulque; or substitute tequila or dark Mexican beer
- ¼ cup chopped white onion
- 1/3 cup grated queso anejo; or substitute Parmesan cheese
- Salt to taste
Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat, add the chiles and garlic, and dry-roast, shaking the pan occasionally, until the chiles become fragrant and the garlic is soft. Allow the vegetables to cool.
Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles and place in a bowl. Cover the chiles with very hot water and allow them to steep for 15 minutes to soften. Drain and discard the water.
Put the chiles, garlic, and orange juice in a blender or food processor and process to a smooth paste. With the motor running, slowly add the pulque until it’s incorporated into the salsa. Season to taste with the salt.
Pour the salsa into a serving bowl, stir in the onion, and garnish with the cheese.