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Bringing the Heat

May 23, 2019

There was snow in western South Dakota this week. This wasn’t just a few spring flurries fluttering prettily in the air. Eight to 22 inches of heavy, wet snow fell in places in the Black Hills. Roads were impassable. Trees cracked under the weight, and school closings and late starts came on what should have been the last day of school. Yikes. Winter just won’t give up.

I am all about enjoying the beauty and wonder of all the seasons, but it is late May. Winter’s time is up. The cold and damp and wet need to give it a rest. This state and its people need warmth and sunshine.

I can’t do anything about the sunshine, but I can warm things up a little with a new dip recipe that I tried earlier this spring. Pumpkin Seed Salsa gets its heat from dried chile peppers and a surprising creaminess from pureeing the roasted seeds. I initially served it with fresh vegetable dippers and corn chips, but it was also great on roasted fish and as a chicken taco condiment. This flavorful dip keeps for about a week in the fridge to add a little heat to whatever you are serving on these cold spring days and even later when it finally (hopefully) warms up.


Pumpkin seed salsa provides some much needed warmth to South Dakota's cold and wet spring.

Pumpkin Seed Salsa

(adapted from The Washington Post)


1/2 cup hulled, raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

3 fresh roma tomatoes

1 tomatillo, husked and rinsed

1/2 of a small white onion, cut into chunks

6 cloves garlic

1 fresh Thai/bird’s-eye chile pepper

4 dried ancho chile peppers

1 tablespoon kosher salt, or more as needed


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Arrange pumpkin seeds on a small baking sheet; bake for about 3 minutes, until toasted. Arrange tomatoes, tomatillo, onion, garlic and fresh chile on a separate rimmed baking sheet; cover tightly with aluminum foil. Roast the tomato mixture for 15-20 minutes, until the ingredients have softened.

Meanwhile, lightly toast the dried ancho peppers in a dry skillet for about 30 seconds on each side. Be careful not to burn the dried chiles, or they will be bitter. Place in a bowl and add enough hot water to cover; let sit for about 5 minutes and then drain, reserving the soaking liquid. Remove the seeds and stems from the hydrated peppers.

Combine the toasted pumpkin seeds, the rehydrated chiles, the roasted tomato mixture and salt in a food processor; puree until smooth. As needed, add a bit of the reserved soaking liquid to achieve a hummus-like consistency. Season with additional salt to taste.

Serve dip at room temperature.

Fran Hill has been blogging about food at On My Plate since October of 2006. She, her husband and their three dogs ranch near Colome.


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