Red Chile Salsa

October 9, 2014

When I made this Mexican Feast over the weekend, the menu included two Red Chile sauces that were nearly identical. One was for these Folded Enchiladas, and the other was to accompany the Carne Asada. I made both recipes to see which one I preferred, but there is absolutely no other reason to make two such similar recipes. In my opinion, the two recipes are completely interchangeable; they are so close that I would not think twice about using either recipe for either purpose. The Enchilada Sauce includes chicken broth instead of water (I would opt for the chicken broth) and adds a tablespoon of vegetable oil (which I thought slightly improved the consistency). Overall its a simple, basic sauce that can be used with many different types of Mexican food. 3-stars.

Red chili sauce

Red chili sauce

The recipe makes a generous 2 cups. I found that there is no way for me to use so much sauce, even when I made Mexican food all week long. But the size of the $1 can of tomatoes means that there is not really a chance to scale back the batch size.

Rating: 3-stars.
Cost: $2.50.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Low/Medium.
Start time 4:45 PM. Dinner time 5:00 PM.

The Cook’s Illustrated original recipe is here. The recipe as I cooked it today is as follows:

1-1/4-oz dried guajillo chiles
14.5-oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
3/4 cup water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Pinch ground cloves

  1. Put a 10″ non-stick skillet over a medium-high burner. Wipe guajillos clean and toast them for 1 to 2 minutes per side until soft and fragrant. Move to a plate and allow to cool until you are able to handle. Remove the stems and seeds, and rip into pieces. Put in blender and process for 60 to 90 seconds until finely ground, scraping down the sides as required.
  2. Add diced tomatoes and their juices, 3/4 cup water (or chicken stock), 3/4 teaspoon salt, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and a pinch of ground cloves to blender. Process for 60 to 90 seconds until very smooth. Scrape down the sides of blender a few times. Taste and adjust salt.
  3. you can store the salsa in the refrigerator for 5 days, or freeze for as much as 1 month.

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