Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Color Red

My mom came back from Portland a few weeks ago with a Ziploc bag full of dried chiles. A family friend had sent them home with her knowing I’d appreciate the treat, and she was right. I think that they were chilhuacle negros—a mild fruity Mexican chile—though I am not entirely certain. I am certain, however, that they contributed to a tasty Chile Colorado that I made for my dad, and that I will seek them out again to make the very same dish.

It’s barbeque season, whether the weather thinks so or not, and I am determined to do some fun things on the grill this summer. I made the Chile Colorado ahead of time and we served it with grilled steak, minted summer squash and fresh radishes. It was a nice variation on a classic summer barbeque.
After reading a bunch of recipes, I settled on this hybrid below. I am a huge fan of spicy, and this was not spicy at all. So if you’re looking for a Chile Colorado with a kick, I’d add a few spicier chiles to the mix.

Chile Colorado
12 dried chilhuacle negros 2 T canola oil
3 T finely diced white onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 T fresh oregano, minced
1 t ground cumin
½ t sugar
½ t salt
1 t white vinegar

  • Toast the chiles in a hot frying pan for about 2 minutes, turning regularly. Remove the stems and seeds.
  • Cover the chiles with boiling water and let sit for 20 minutes.
  • Drain the water and set aside.
  • Blend the chiles with 1 cup of the reserved water until completely pureed.
  • Strain the chile mixture through a fine sieve and discard the solids.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan to medium. Add the onion and sauté for 3 min. Add the garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 8 minutes.
  • Stir in the cumin, oregano and chile mixture.  
  • Simmer for about 20 minutes. Adding reserved liquid as needed.
  • Mix in the sugar, salt and vinegar.

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