Updated: Nov 3, 2021
Well, within reason, that is. But seriously, this sauce is so good. I use it as a base. In other words, it's my starting point for tamale sauce, enchilada sauce, and for when I want to make a big pot of beefy chili on a cold day! It is packed full of dried chiles, onions and garlic. It only needs to be "tweaked" to fit the intended purpose. Lets say I'm going to make a pot of beefy chili. I'd fry up my meat and onions, add a can or two of tomatoes, and then a jar or two of the chile sauce. From there, I'd jazz it up with some fresh cilantro, some additional cumin powder, some masa as a thickening agent and I'm on way way to a great pot of chili! The sauce is just so versatile because so many wonderful southwestern foods call for a base sauce such as this. Then you continue to build your flavors as required. And I like that I control the amount of heat I add to the sauce by choosing the types of dried chiles I prefer. Personally, I like flavor, not heat. I'm not opposed to a little spice but if the heat overwhelms the flavor, then what's the point of going to all the trouble of making a flavorful sauce?? So my base calls for a majority of dried ancho and dried guajillo chiles. These two are very flavorful but only moderately spicy. They have a very deep, earthy flavor that is just perfect for me. For heat, I add a few arbol chiles---they are very small and pack quite a punch. I make sure to get all the seeds out of these guys because they are super spicy and "a little dab will do ya." I also like to throw in some California or Colorado variety chiles because each chile has its own distinct merits. I never use chipotle chiles when I make my sauce because I find it's just way tooooo spicy for me. But if spice is your jam, then by all means, use the chiles that make you happy. I love going to the Mexican market because they always have such an awesome selection of dried chiles, not to mention tons of other wonderful things you just won't find at a typical US store. I've photographed the process in a step-by-step tutorial so you can see my method. If you want to experience true chile flavor, I highly suggest you give this a whirl.
Just look what you can end up with:
This tamale, smothered in red chile sauce and sour cream, is absolutely divine. It's one of my
most favorite things EVER!!
Recipe available for printing or downloading:
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