Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Circle B Kitchen

Recipe adapted from Mexican Family Cooking

Makes 6 cups

10-12 dried New Mexico or Guajillo chiles (3 oz)
5 cups cold water
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 garlic cloves
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons salt
3-4 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Stem and seed the chiles. Boil in a medium-sized saucepan in 1 quart of hot water, stirring often.  Be sure to push the chiles deep into the water, as then tend to rise.  Cook, covered, over medium heat for 20 minutes. 

Drain the chiles and puree in a blender, 1/2 at a time, each batch with 1 1/2 cups of cold water and 2 cloves of garlic.

Strain the chiles over a large bowl, using a stiff spatula to work all of the sauce through the strainer.  You should be left with just some seeds and skins in the strainer. You can also use a food mill for this.

When the chiles have been pureed and strained, heat 4 tablespoons oil in a large skillet or dutch oven and brown the flour in the oil to a light golden color.  Stir in the tomato paste and then the strained chiles, and the remaining 2 cups of water, whisking to create a smooth sauce.  When it's slightly thickened, add the salt, cumin, sugar, and chili powder.  Stir well and let it simmer for about 10 more minutes.  Taste for seasoning and add cayenne powder if you would like it spicier.  Stir to blend and simmer a few more minutes. At this point, the sauce will keep for several days in the fridge or frozen for longer storage.  I have canned the sauce with good results using a pressure canner, but I can't recommend canning  this as I'm not certain the PH is correct for preserving.

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