Tuesday, September 13, 2011

La Milpa Enchiladas Sauce (Chile Colorado)

La Milpa Enchiladas Sauce (Chile Colorado)
Traditional enchiladas are seasoned with chili pepper made from a variety of dried red chile peppers soaked or ground into a sauce with other spices. A mix of different chilies gives a better flavor.  It is important to cook the sauce until no graininess from chilies remains. I often include a dried chipotle pepper for smokiness. A rendered pork fat is more flavorful than plain lard. Do not use commercial chili powder as it usually has too much cumin.

2 Dried Ancho or pasilla chilies
1 dried aji amarillo chilies
Optionally, add 2 level teaspoons of hot New Mexico ground chile pow­der if you want a hotter sauce or 2 dried hot guajillo chili. Add additional arbor peppers if you want even more heat.
2 ½ Cups homemade chicken stock
2 Large clove of garlic or more if you like
3 Tablespoons rendered pork fat (manteca)
2 Tablespoons white all-purpose flour
Pinch of ground cumin
Optionally, pinch of ground Mexican oregano
¼ Cup cream or half-half
Salt
Pinch or two of sugar as required - see text

Break open chili pods discarding stems, internal tissues and membranes and seeds. (Optionally wash chilies, shake off excess water, and then toast in hot dry pan 30-45 seconds until fragrant.) Soak chili pods in hot water for 60 minutes until soft. Discard water. Place in blender with 2 ½ cups hot chicken stock and garlic. Add optional hot New Mexico ground chili powder if required. Process until very finely blended, maybe 2 full minutes. Strain results through a sieve using a wooden spoon and reserve sieved chili stock. Make a roux by blending 2 tablespoons of the pork fat and flour and cook it on low until it is a medium brown color. Remove from heat. Whisk in sieved chili stock, cumin and cook on stove over very low heat for 1 hours adding water or more chicken stock as needed. Taste the sauce for heat, and if not spicy enough, add more ground HOT chili powder. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Correct salt and add sugar and cream as required. The amount of sugar should not be per­ceptible and is used to just take any bitter edge off. Salt will also help moderate the bitter undertones. The cream serves to mellow the sauce.

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