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From the Kitchens of Pancho Villa has been awarded the honor of "WINNER" in the "Cookbooks: International" category of the 2014 International Book Awards!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Ancho-Guajillo Chile Sauce

This is a simple yet tasty, versatile sauce that can be made ahead and either refrigerated or frozen. I love the smell in my kitchen when I toast chiles and there is almost no mess, I love that part too! Use this sauce when you cook rice: just put a couple of tablespoons in when you add the water. It is fabulous on pork or chicken - baked, grilled or roasted. Heat up some leftovers and make some enchiladas with this sauce. The options are limitless. Eggs? You bet!

Ancho chiles are mild with an earthy, smoky flavor while guajillos have more of a 'fruity' flavor and almost no heat. Make a batch or two and keep some on hand for almost any meal you want to add a Mexican flair.

A tip from my kitchen: I do make this sauce, several batches at a time and freeze. I use small quart size freezer bags and put about 1 cup in each bag. Don't forget to label the bag because in the frozen state, most sauces look alike!

Makes About 5 Cups

9 dried ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed
6 dried guajillo chiles, stems and seeds removed
5 cups very hot water

4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
2 teaspoons salt

Heat a large 'dry' skillet (I use cast iron) over medium-high heat 2 minutes. With a slightly damp paper towel, wipe the outside of each chile – they probably have some dust on them. Open each chile, shake out the seeds (discard) and place the chiles flat in the skillet. Toast just until the chiles blister, pressing down on the chiles with a spatula or tongs , then turn them over and repeat, about 30 seconds total. Place the 'toasted' chiles in a bowl, then add 5 cups very hot water. Soak the chiles until they have hydrated, about 10 minutes.

Working in batches, puree the chiles with soaking liquid and all remaining ingredients in blender until smooth. (Can be made 1 day ahead, store covered and refrigerated; can also be frozen for future use)

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