red sauce for chicken enchiladas

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After you have made the crockpot chicken base for enchiladas you should have about 2 c. of rich broth left over. That broth (after all of the fat has been removed) will be used in this sauce recipe. (You can substitute w/ any other chicken stock, chicken or vegetable broth, or even water, but the resulting enchilada sauce will not be quite as rich.)
Servings:
8+
Preparation Time:
0.5 hours
Tools
  • 1 c. liquid measuring cup
  • 2 qt. heavy saucier pan or 8" cast iron skillet
  • large mortar & pestle
  • blender
  • cutting board & knife
  • rubber spatula
  • wooden spoon
  • 5 c. container w/ lid

Ingredients

A

  • 3 whole, dry, red New Mexican chiles (washed, seeded, and cut into strips)
  • 1/2 c. boiling water

B

  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1/4" cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 t. kosher salt

C

  • 3 T. blanched almonds

D

  • 1 t. olive oil
  • 8 lightly crushed garlic cloves

E

  • 6 roma tomatoes (peeled & seeded)

F

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 ripe plantain (should be at least 40% black)

G

  • 1 t. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 t. freshly ground palm sugar
  • 1/2 t. ground oregano

H

  • 2 c. chicken broth
Cooking Instructions
  • Place the saucier/skillet over medium-low heat.
  • Place the dry chile strips into the liquid measuring cup and pour 1/2 c. of boiling water over the chiles and set aside.
  • Place cloves and cinnamon into the hot pan and toast, stirring occasionally, until you can start to smell the spices.
  • Place the cloves, cinnamon, and salt into the mortar & pestle and grind into a fine powder.
  • Place almonds in the hot pan and toast, stirring occasionally, until the almonds start to take on a bit of colour.
  • Add the almonds to the mortar & pestle and grind into a paste with the spices.
  • Place olive oil and garlic into the pan and fry, stirring occasionally, until the garlic starts to take on a bit of colour.
  • Add the garlic to the mortar & pestle and grind into a paste with the almonds and spices.
  • Place the tomatoes, softened chiles, and chile water into the blender.
  • Cut off the ends of the plantain, cut the plantain in half across the middle, cut the two pieces in half lengthwise, and remove the skin. (Skinning a plantain takes a bit of time. Just work your fingers between the flesh and the peel and slowly work the peel off.)
  • Heat the olive oil in the pan, add the plantain pieces cut side down, and wait a couple of minutes for it to start to brown.
  • Flip the plantain pieces over and wait a couple more minutes.
  • Place the plantains, garlic-almondt-spice paste, black pepper, palm sugar, and oregano to the blender.
  • Cover the blender and start on low until all of the big chunks of tomatoes, chile skins, and plantains are chopped up.
  • Turn the blender to high, wait two minutes, then turn off the blender.
  • Place the broth into the pan and heat through.
  • Stir the tomato-chile-spice paste into the pan and heat, stirring occasionally, until it starts to simmer.
  • Simmer for 5 minutes, turn off the heat, and salt to taste. (It should be a little bit too salty on its own, sort of like a pesto.)
  • Place in a covered container and cool for at least 30 minutes. (Cooling overnight in the refridgerator will result in a spicier and thicker sauce.)
Source:
"The Cuisines of Mexico", Diana Kennedy
Notes
This recipe originated from the sauce for "Enchiladas de Mole". But instead of a small amount of a rich green sauce, I wanted a larger quantity of a rich red sauce, enough for a 16 enchilada casserole.

I replaced the fresh anchos with dry New Mexico chiles, increased most of the ingredients, replaced the lard with much less olive oil (to make my wife happy), and added the palm sugar to take the edge off of the chile heat (wife again) and tomato acid. I also changed the order of preparation to make more sense (to me) when using the mortar & pestle.

The resulting mole-like (or would it be mole-esque?) sauce works great for chicken or pork enchiladas, but does not taste quite right with beef.

For a vegetarian option, you could replace the chicken stock with vegetable broth and use the sauce on bean & cheese or rice & bean enchiladas - though I would also replace the oregano with cumin and add a bit of lime juice and lime zest to the finished sauce in this case.

And as for the mortar & pestle. You could also use just the blender or a food processor to chop everything up, but you should then pour the resulting sauce through a wire strainer to get out the bits of cloves and cinnamon that did not get chopped up.