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Whole Chile Pod Enchilada Sauce

1 onion, chopped real fine
2-6 cloves garlic, minced and chopped
1 tsp cooking oil
6 to 10 whole chili pods (break out stem and shake out loose seeds if wanted)
4 cups good broth, water or a mixture of both
2 tsp cumin ore more
2 tsp oregano
3 Tbsp cornstarch, mixed with a little water
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the oil in a hot saucepan that has a lid. Add the onion and
saute for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic and saute until
the onion is translucent. Place the chili pods in the saucepan.
Add the stock, the oregano and cumin to the pot. Bring the pan to
the boil, put on the lid and reduce the heat to simmer and simmer
for 20 to 30 minutes.

Turn the fire off and let the pot sit until it is cool and you can
work with it. Place a strainer in another pan and pour all of the
chili pods and liquid into the strainer. Put the chili pods in a
food processor, or use a mortar and pestle and pulverize the chili
pods. When done, dump everything into the strainer and using a
spatula, work the chili back and forth in the strainer until you
have nothing but chili skins and seeds in the strainer. Scrape
all of the chili off the bottom of the strainer and throw away the

Add the vinegar to the pot and bring back to the boil. When the
pot boils set it off the stove and add the cornstarch, stirring
all of the time. Set the pan back on the stove and stirring all of
the time, bring it back to the boil and let the sauce thicken. It
should be a little looser than gravy, about like heavy cream. The
salt and pepper should be added now and any adjustments in seasoning
should be done. If the sauce is too thin, add a little more
cornstarch. If the sauce is too thick or too hot, add some more
broth and stir.

Variation: Same ingredients as above except you substitute 1 1/2
to 2 1/2 cups of chili powder for the 6 to 10 pods above.

Saute the onion and garlic as above. Place the chili powder, liquid,
oregano and the cumin in the pan. Heat the pan to the boil and add
the vinegar and the cornstarch while stirring. Add the salt and
pepper and adjust the seasoning to suit your taste.

Making the sauce with canned enchilada sauce

Two large cans of sauce will give you enough sauce for one really
large pan or two medium size pans of enchiladas. I do the onion
and garlic thing in the pot and then I add the sauce to the pot
and bring it to a boil. I don't add any more liquid to the pot
other than the chili sauce, but I do add the vinegar. The seasoning
will vary by each brand and you have to feel your way through.

You can also mix one can of mild and one can of hot to get the
right heat. Usually I have to add the cumin, oregano and pepper
but not the salt. After the sauce is hot, add the cornstarch to
thicken it and adjust the seasoning.


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