Chipotle Black Bean Salsa & Baked Tortilla Chips for Michael

Back in high school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, my little brother Michael and I would race home to the kitchen impatient and ravenous for sustenance.  For me, I needed to calm the storm of angst and hormones feverishly brewing inside.  For Michael, to refuel the enormous man-boy body he possessed by age 14.  

We got smart when it came to quick remedies for the gnawing hunger always keeping the essentials on hand to make one of our favorite mainstays: quesadillas and chunky salsa.  But we didn’t crack open just any old jar of watery Tostino’s- oh no, we considered ourselves fancy connoisseurs of “the finer salsas” of life. We would grab a big bowl and empty the contents of one can of fancy salsa, one can of black or pinto beans, one can of corn, and seasoned the mix with fresh lime, cilantro, and cumin to brighten it up a bit.  YUM.  It never failed us.  Chunky, satisfying, and hearty: we’d forage through bowls of it with thick blue corn tortilla chips and pile it on freshly grilled quesadillas.   The amount that boy could consume was truly, truly amazing…

At our finest

But those times are ones that I will cherish forever.  We became friends in the kitchen- talking about life and the ladies and whatever else was on our plates.  It was in the kitchen where we once made the pact to “Never Be Normal” and shook on it.  Was our salsa “normal?” Au contraire! It was simply revolutionary! (Or at least that’s what we thought.)   So this recipe for homemade Chipotle Black Bean Salsa is an ode to you, my dear brother. 

I hope you all enjoy this simple, brilliantly satisfying, and very “un-normal” salsa and healthy baked tortilla chips.

Chipotle Black Bean Salsa

10 Ripe Roma Tomatoes

1 Cup Cooked Black Beans

2 Canned Chipotle Peppers

1 Teaspoon Adobo Sauce (from pepper can)

½ White Onion

1 Serrano Chile Pepper (2 if you like it hot)

¼ Cup Finely Chopped Cilantro

2 Tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice

1 Teaspoon Olive Oil

Salt to Taste

Baked Tortilla Chips

1 Package White or Yellow Corn Tortillas

Fresh Lime Juice

Table Salt

For the salsa, first place tomatoes and serrano chiles in a pot and cover with water.  Bring water to a simmer and cook tomatoes until the skin starts to peel away. Once tomatoes are sufficiently blanched, strain water and set aside to cool.

While the tomatoes and chiles simmer away, finely chop onion, chipotles, garlic, and cilantro. Juice your limes.  Remove peels from tomatoes and place all ingredients (minus beans) in mortar and pestle or food processor.  Macerate salsa to desired consistency.  Stir in beans.  Salt and add additional chipotle, lime, or chile to your preference. 

For the chips, preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Arrange a small pile (6 at a time is the best I can do) of tortillas and slice into desired sized wedges.  Arrange on ungreased baking pan.  Spritz with fresh lime juice and sprinkle with salt.  Bake until golden brown and until the chips are crispy throughout (about 10 minutes for me).  

The only thing left to do now is EAT! So, dig into a big pile of chunky salsa and healthy baked chips and enjoy!

8 Comments Add yours

  1. ambergravitt says:

    Looks awesome! I bake my own chips too–the easiest thing ever.

  2. sdotrose says:

    Love black beans and will totally add to my salsa next time!! I’m sure the added texture is awesome!!! P.S. I totally remember your family introducing me (cira 1997?) to the hobo packs that you and Michael are eating in the above pic! 🙂 We noshed on them picnic style with an unforgettable veiw of the lake! xo

    1. thewildbohr says:

      You know it!!! So bloody good!

  3. mamasita says:

    Ah honey………..I have a crystal clear memory of some of the nicest looking and best tasting salsa I could get my hands on!………After being in a kitchen most of my days…………I loved coming home most to ours, and finding you and Michael there creating, and being the buddies you always were. You too Annie, until you shared a kitchen at the Babcock House in Madison. I honor you all, and the memory of Michael, who will always live so fully in our celebrations of this gift of life, love, and good food! Here’s to salsa extraordinaire. Mamasita

  4. Love you Emma and have been thinking about you… many good “food” memories! I will definitely try this recipe, because you are such a good cook and in memory of Michael, who I still miss. Barb Holtz

  5. janet says:

    Hi Emma. Wonderful story, thanks for sharing your memories and pictures with us. I will be trying these recipes. I happen to have a pile of tomatoes sitting on my counter. I can feel the love of family whenever I have the pleasure of sitting with your mama. Be well. janet

    1. thewildbohr says:

      Hi Janet! Thanks for the love and taking care of my mama. See you soon!

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