|8 larges||Garlic Cloves; Unpeeled|
|8 mediums||Ancho Chilies; Dried|
|1½ teaspoon||Mexican Oregano; Dried|
|½ teaspoon||Black Pepper; Freshly Ground|
|¼ teaspoon||Cloves; Scant - Ground|
|⅛ teaspoon||Cumin Seed|
1. THE GARLIC AND CHILES. Set a heavy ungreased skillet or griddle over medium heat. Lay the unpeeled garlic on the hot surface and let it roast to a sweet mellowness, turning occasionally, until soft when pressed between your fingers (you'll notice it has blackened in a few small spots), about 15 minutes. Cool, then slip off the papery skins and roughly chop.
While the garlic is roasting, break the stems off the chiles, tear the chiles open and remove the seeds. Next, toast the chiles a few at a time on our medium-hot skillet or griddle; Open them flat, lay them on the hot surface skin-side up, press flat for a few seconds with a metal spatula (if the temperature is right you'll hear a faint crackle), then flip them. (If pressed long enough, thy'll have changed to a mottled tan underneath. If you see a slight wisp of smoke, that's okay, but any more will mean burnt chiles.) Now, press down again to toast the other side. Transfer to a bowl, cover with hot water and let rehydrate for 30 minutes, stirring regularly to ensure even soaking. Pour off all the water and discard.
2. THE SEASONING. If using whole spices, pulverize the oregano, pepper, cumin and cloves in a spice grinder or mortar then transfer to a food processor or blender, along with the drained chiles and garlic. Measure in the broth and process to a smooth puree, scraping and stirring every few seconds. (If you're using a blender and the mixture won't move through the blades, add more broth, a little at a time, unitl everything is moving, but still as thick as possible.) With a rubber spatula, work the puree through a medium-mesh strainer into a bowl; discard the skins and seeds that remain behind in the strainer. Tast (it'll ahve a rough, raw edge to it), then season with salt.
ADVANCE PREPARATION - Covered and refrigerated, the marinade will keep for about 2 weeks; it also freezes well OTHER CHILES YOU CAN USE - Though I want you to learn the unique flavor of ancho by making this seasoning solo, it's very commonly made with half ancho (for rich sweetness) and half guajillo (for tangy brightness); a few chipoltes in the mix adds heat and complexity. Always substitue an equivalent weight of chiles.
TRADITIONAL DISHES THAT USE THIS ESSENTIAL AS A STARTING POINT - Spice Chile-Baked Oysters, Street-Style Red Chile Enchiladas, Simple Red Mole Enchiladas, Chile-Glazed Sweet Potatoes, Red Chile Rice, Red Chile-Braised Chicken, Ancho-Marinated Whole Roast Fish.
Suggested Wine: T
NOTES : If you take a few minutes to make this medium-spicy seasoning paste from toasted, rehydrated ancho chiles, ssweet roasted garlic and spices, you'll have a gold mine in the refrigerator. More versatile than salsas (which are spooned on as condiments), this deep burgundy, almost fluffy puree can be turned into the most complex dishes in the Mexican collection, from slow-simmered, rich, red mole and quick-seard red-chile enchiladas to garnet-colored rice. I even use it to flavor American style baked beans .
Start withthis seasoning to learn how to clean, toast, soak, puree and strain dried chiles - it'll seem awkward if you haven't done it before, but when you taste what the seasoning does to different dishes, you'll keep making it until the process seems second nature Posted to MC-Recipe Digest V1 #914 by "Karrie Brothers" <K_Brothers@...> on Nov 18, 97
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