Saturday, August 29, 2009

Trying Something New

In my opinion, there is nothing tastier than Mexican food. And I really love the authentic kind. A while back Kayla's boyfriend's mom sent us over a few homemade tamales. They were so delicious I decided I would learn how to make them. So I bought this cookbook, Tamales 101. I have not actually made the tamales yet, but one day I will! (When I can buy a steamer, and I get a tad more brave.)There are the most wonderful recipes for sauces in this book. I tried one called Red Pork Chili Sauce.I think it turned out fabulous! And my family really liked it. My granddaughter Kayleeann said it was good, she ate quite a bit of it on chips. And my grandson Gabriel said "I like this kind of food". Here is a picture of a small amount of the finished sauce:

Here is the recipe, in case you want to try it. It makes a whole bunch. When I made it, I only made half of a batch. It was enough to feed about 15 people for dinner, with some left over to freeze for another big dinner! Next time I will make the whole batch and I will freeze a lot of it and have enough for 6 months or more!

Red Pork Chili Sauce
10 ancho (dried poblano) chilies
4 dried California chiles
4 onions, quartered
8 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
3 teaspoons ground cumin
2 to 4 cups pork, chicken, or vegetable stock
1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons sugar, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon salt, plus more to taste

Seed the chilies, rinse, and set aside. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Remove the water from the heat and add the chilies, pushing them down with a spoon so they are fully submerged. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, boil the onions for 25 minutes, until soft.

Remove the soaked chilies from the water, reserving 2 cups of the liquid. In a food processor, blend the chilies, onions, and garlic. In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil. Stir in the cumin into the hot oil, being careful not to burn the cumin. Add the chile mixture and simmer for 3 minutes. Add 1 cup of stock, 1 cup of the reserved liquid, and the tomatoes. Add just enough additional stock and reserved liquid to make saucy. Add the sugar and salt and cook for 10 miutes longer, stiring occasionally, until the sauce is the consistency of a thin gravy. Taste and add additional salt and sugar if needed. Set aside to cool. Store I an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days or in the freezer for 2 to 3 months.
Makes 10 cups.

Don't let the unfamiliar chili's in the recipe scare you off. They are available at grocery stores. I bought them at Harmons. Here is a picture of the chilis.They are on a dinner plate, so you can tell the size of them. The red dried ones are the California chilies. I bought them in the Mexican isle of the grocery store. There was a fairly large bag of them for about 4 bucks. I have enough of them to last a very long time now. The green ones are the Pablano chilies. If they were dried they would be called Ancho chilies. I had a heck of a time finding them in the store at first. Then I asked the produce guy where they were. He told me that they are called Pasilla chilies. Since then, I have learned that here in the western US, the chies are incorrectly called Pasilla chilies.

Sorry I didn't take a picture of the food we ate the sauce on. We were too busy eating to think of that. But it is great on homemade tacos. And it would be good on enchiladas or on any kind of meat. It's good on chips too.

I roasted the Pablano chilies before I used them. Roasting is really easy. If you have never roasted a pepper, you should try it. It makes them taste so much better,and you wouldn''t believe how easy it is! Just stick them on a cooking sheet and stick them in the oven. Roast them under the broiler. Turn every few minutes till the pepper is blackened over much of it. Take the pepper out and put it in a bowl with plastic wrap over it. Let it steam and sweat. After a few minutes, the skin peels off pretty easily.

When I made this sauce, I didn't use most the seeds from the peppers. I was afraid it would be too hot and I wanted my grandkids to enjoy it too. So the sauce was not very hot. I'd say it was only a little hotter than mild. Next time I will use more seeds and make it hotter.

When you cut up chilies, you should use plastic gloves, or just keep plastic wrap between the pepper and your skin. The oils of the pepper do burn skin. You may not know it is being burned till the next day. And for sure, don't rub your eyes!


  1. looks yummy! i love mexican food too!
    next time i am around, i will be coming to your place for a bite to eat!

  2. I too love Mexican food.
    But I haven't had it for awhile since I been on my diet.

    I also bought book called "Hello Cupcakes". I thought it would be fun for the kids.

  3. WOW. All I can say is that you are motivated! I usually don't tackle something I don't already know how to make really well. Good for you!