Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Red Chile Sauce

Do you know how hard it is to find a recipe that uses FRESH red chiles to make a red/enchilada sauce??? They pretty much all use dried whole chiles or variations of chile powder. Of the several New Mexico cuisine cookbooks I have and a number of internet searches yielded two recipes for fresh red sauce. So I took the two and improvised....here's my take:

Fresh Red Chile Sauce, makes about 2 cups
6 - 8 good sized fresh red New Mexico chiles, roasted & cooled
2 - 3 Tbls. grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil, like veg)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 cup water or broth
kosher salt to taste

-- Peel, seed & chop the chiles. (To roast, put them on a baking sheet under the broiler for a couple minutes per side, or until skin begins to blacken & blister. Once fully blackened, remove from oven, and place in zippered bag; seal, and let sit for 20ish minutes. When they are cool enough to handle, the skins will slip right off.)
-- Heat oil in a heavy bottomed skillet or saute pan.
-- Add onions & garlic, and cook on medium heat, until onions begin to get translucent.
-- Add in chiles, cumin, oregano & salt; stir well to combine.
-- Add about 1/4 cup water & mix well; remove from heat.
-- Pour everything into a blender, and puree very carefully! (Take out the little donut hole that's in the blender lid, and cover it 75% of the way with a towel; the steam needs a place to escape!)
-- Return puree to pan, and gradually incorporate the remaining water.
-- Check for seasonings.... I think I added a bit more cumin and salt.
-- Let simmer over low heat for a good 20 minutes.

What do you do with your sauce now that you've made it? The easiest is enchiladas. Get some corn tortillas, precooked & shredded chicken, and a bit of cheese. Oven to 350. Spray a casserole pan with non-stick spray. Pour a good spoonful of your sauce on the bottom of the pan (I used an 8 x 8 pan, and 4 tortillas for 2 generous servings.) Place some chicken down the middle of the tortilla, about a tablespoon of the sauce, and a bit of shredded cheddar. Roll up, put seam sides down, and repeat. Pour the remaining sauce all over the top of the tortillas -- try to cover their entire surface area. Sprinkle with more cheese -- here I used feta in lieu of Mexican-style queso blanco. Bake about 15 - 20 minutes or until heated through. Here's what you get:

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