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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 tsps cumin ore more
  • 2 tsps 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 skins. 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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