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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A sauce I use to make enchiladas

I hesitate to label this recipe "enchilada sauce" because there may be a very specific expectation of what "enchilada sauce" will be like.  This recipe certainly claims no regional authencitiy.  So instead, this is a recipe for "sauce I use to make enchiladas", as well as a number of other southwestern/Mexican type of recipes. 
Cocoa and chiles are an ancient flavor combination, so I'm not just being weird with that addition.  It's hard to know exactly what kind of heat you'll get from your chiles, so you may want to taste the sauce every few minutes and pull the chiles out before it's finished simmering.  If you wind up making a sauce that blows your tastebuds off your tongue, just cut the finished product with some canned plain tomato sauce.  It will have a brighter, "raw"-er tomato flavor but you won't have chile-burn from your finished dish.

I'd freeze this in 2-3 cup portions for enchiladas or to make tacos, or use the whole batch for a pan of Tex-Mex lasagne.

Sauce I use to make enchiladas
Makes 5-6 cups

2 dried mild chiles, such as Sandia or ancho (more if you like it hotter)
2 tsp each whole cuminseed and coriander seed
1/4 cup canola oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp oregano
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp cocoa powder
pinch of cinnamon
4 15-oz cans diced tomatoes,  undrained
1 can water

Cut the stems off the chiles and shake out as many seeds as you can.  Leave the chiles whole.  Toast the chiles and whole spices over medium heat in a heavy saucepan (about 5 minutes), shaking the pan and turning the chiles occasionally. 

Add the oil, and saute the onions, garlic and tomato paste over medium heat until the tomato paste browns (about 5 minutes).  It will look like you've screwed up and burned it, but you haven't!  If it looks slightly burned, you've done it right.  Add the remaining spices, including cocoa powder, and saute for another minute or two. 

Add the tomatoes and water.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to medium-low.  Simmer 30 minutes, uncovered.  Remove the chiles and bay leaves.  Blend with an immersion blender or in batches in a stand blender or food processor.
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