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Dark Chile Sauce

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Why I Love This Recipe

This is not, strictly speaking, a salsa but a chile sauce. A salsa is usually made fresh, with only minimal simmering or cooking, and consumed fresh. A chile sauce is made for simmering and smothering strong meats, particularly pork, or baking dishes. This chile sauce is the quintessential sauce for enchiladas

These recipes were passed on to me as part of a friend's collection

Ingredients You'll Need

6-8 dried Ancho/Pasilla chiles* or 8-10 dried guajillo chiles**
2-4 cloves of garlic
~3-4 cups (~1/4 l) water
2-3 pinches of mexican oregano*** or 4-6 pinches oregano
2-4 tablespoons (10-20 cl) olive oil
salt to taste and a little more.


Roast the chiles over an open flame until moderately to strongly blistered. Some parts, particularly the tips and the bases might briefly smoke or burn but that's all right. Crack them and let soak in water at least half an hour to an hour before using (up to 1 day, in the refrigerator). Crush coarsely with the pestle the garlic cloves, heat up the olive oil in a pan and fry the garlic with the oregano and the salt until the garlic is crisp and golden brown in color. Finely blend the soaked chiles with their water and add to the pan, when the garlic is ready. Let it simmer, stirring occasionally, until it boils down to a relatively thick sauce. If you are planning to bake enchiladas topped with shredded cheese in the oven, you might leave it a little more liquid since the oven will reduce it further. If not this will yield about 1/2 pint to a pint of thick, dark brown, smouldering fire.

*dried ancho or pasilla chiles are medium size ~3-6 inch long, dark brown to black variety of chile with a slow, strong and sustained heat and a flavor reminiscent of raisins with a hint of bitter chocolate that tapers rather slowly off.

**dried guajillo chiles are medium size ~3-6 inch long, dark red to red brown variety of chile with a quick, really strong and sustained heat and a sharp, typically chile -slightly acrid- flavor that maintains its heat plateau for several minutes before it suddenly tapers off. It's a rather wild and strong chile.

***Mexican oregano is a slightly broader leafed variety of oregano with a significantly stronger flavor than the european variety

These recipes were passed on to me as part of a friend's collection.

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