Salsa de Chile Colorado

Salsa de Chile Colorado

I love Mexican food and here in Groveland, CA we are blessed with a great restaurant, Cocina Michoacana.  Like most authentic Mexican restaurants they feature a green sauce (or “salsa verde”) and a red sauce (“salsa de chile colorado”), which are choices for many dishes such as enchiladas and chile rellenos.  Colorado, by the way, translates to “red” in Spanish.

Cocina Michoacana serves Chile Colorado (technically “carne en chile colorado”), which is pork that has been simmered in the sauce and it is my favorite item on their menu.  It took a little research, many efforts, and a little innovation; but here is the recipe that I came up with and I love this stuff.

It is a little work to make this, but it is so worth the effort.  You can serve it over eggs, burgers, steaks, pastas, vegetables, etc.   You can also use it as a salsa to accompany tortilla chips.

2 medium Vine Ripened Tomatoes
4 dried Guajillo Chiles (dried)
2 dried Ancho Chiles (dried)
1 quart Chicken Stock (I make mine with Better than Bouillon Chicken Paste)
1 medium Yellow Onion, coarsely chopped
5 Garlic Cloves, peeled
1 tsp Dried Oregano
1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
1 small Bay Leaf
2 Tbsp Canola Oil

Salt, to taste (you may not need salt if I you use a good chicken stock; if you use low sodium broth or stock, you may need to add salt)
Sugar to taste (I use 1.5 Tbsp)
Cinnamon, ground, to taste (I use 1 tsp. of “Cassia Cinnamon” (the good stuff); you may need more if you use the more commonly found cinnamon)
Cocoa (unsweetened), to taste (I use 2 tsp. of Hershey’s)
Cloves, ground, to taste (I use 1/4 tsp. of freshly ground cloves, you will likely need more if using pre-ground cloves)

Remove the stems from the chiles and wipe them clean with a dry cloth.  For less spicy sauce, you can halve the chiles and remove seeds.

Bring stock to a boil in a saucepan.  Fill a medium sized bowl with ice water.  Using a sharp pairing knife, make a shallow “X” on the bottom of each tomato.  Blanch the tomatoes in the boiling stock for 20 seconds, remove with a slotted spoon, and plunge them in the ice water bath to cool for a minute.  Turn heat on stock down to simmer.  Peel, core, seed, and coarsely chop the tomatoes.

Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Working in batches, place the chiles in the skillet and toast them, just until their aroma is released and they soften slightly, 30 to 60 seconds.  Be careful not to burn them.

Place the chiles in a heatproof bowl and cover them with 1.5 – 2 cups of the boiling stock (turn off the heat on the remaining stock).  Cover the bowl with chiles/stock and let them soak until softened, about 30 minutes.

Remove the chiles with a slotted spoon (reserving the soaking liquid), and place them in a blender with the tomatoes, onion, garlic, oregano, thyme, and bay leaf.  Process these ingredients until smooth.  Then add 1 cup of the chile soaking liquid and process further into a smooth paste.  Pass the puree through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on the solids to extract all chile paste possible.

Place the oil in a medium-size saucepan.  Heat the oil over medium heat until it is shimmering.  Add the chile paste and cook, stirring often, until sizzling and very thick, about 10 minutes.  Add the remaining 2 cups of chicken stock and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 20 minutes.

Season to taste with salt (if needed).  Then season to taste with sugar, cinnamon, cocoa, and cloves.

Store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator up to a week, or indefinitely in the freezer.

This recipe yields about 2 cups of sauce.