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~ Mexican-Style Tomato & Chipotle-Chile Chili Sauce ~

IMG_1554I like salsa fresca (uncooked salsa) as much as the next person, but, when I'm making huevos rancheros (ranch-style eggs) for breakfast or brunch, or, a Mexican-style drowned torta (a sandwich drenched in sauce) for lunch or dinner, I make an all-purpose Mexican-style sauce with a thick, semi-chunky consistency and a smokey, spicy, complex flavor, meaning: a cooked sauce that can be served hot or warm.  My 15-20 minute quick-to-make sauce uses on-hand pantry and refrigerator staples.  Why?  Tick, tock.  The people I know wake up hungry -- they don't want to wait or watch me stand around simmering sauce, and, the same can be said for anyone looking forward to a super-special hot sandwich with plenty of "gravy" on it for lunch or dinner.

I'll point out that using dried chile powders and dried chili powders in the home kitchen, in place of fresh and/or dried chile peppers is very convenient, and, if used corrrectly, compromises much less than the chile-pepper-police want you to believe.  That said, it helps to know what you are buying, and to know that, you need to check the spelling.  Once you know what the spelling means, you'll know what it is and what is in it, and that means knowing your e's from you i's:

6a0120a8551282970b017d4140a67a970cCHILE:  Spelled with an"e" at the end, refers to the fresh or dried plant or pod or fruit of any member of the pepper family.

CHILI:  Spelled with an "i" at the end, refers to soups, stews and/or sauces made with fresh or dried chile peppers (like chili con carne).

CHILE POWDER:  When spelled with and "e" at the end, means it is a powder made from one or more dried chiles exclusively.  This is sometimes referred to or marketed as POWDERED CHILES, or CHILE BLEND (if it contains more than one kind of chile powder).

CHILI POWDER:  When spelled with an "i" at the end means it is a mixture of ground, dried spices (for example:  cumin, garlic, onion) and chile powder, meaning:  the manufacturer has added spices to the chile powder or a blend of chile powders.

Not typos:  My quick & easy tomato & chipotle-chile chili sauce:

IMG_14522  tablespoons corn oil

1  cup diced yellow or sweet onion

4  large garlic cloves, run through a press

1/2  teaspoon ancho chile pepper

3/4  teaspoon Mexican-style oregano

1  teaspoon ground cumin

1/2  teaspoon sugar

1/2  teaspoon sea salt

1  14 1/2-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained

2  whole chipotle chile peppers packed in adobo, plus 1-2 tablespoons sauce from can, to taste

1/4  cup minced, fresh cilantro leaves, some stems are ok

IMG_1454 IMG_1454 IMG_1454~ Step 1.  In a 1 1/2-2-quart saucepan, heat the corn oil over medium- medium-high heat.  Add the diced onion, pressed garlic, ancho chile pepper, Mexican-style oregano, ground cumin, sugar and salt.  Give the ingredients a thorough stir.  Adjust the heat to sauté gently, until onion is softened, 5-6 minutes.

IMG_1475 IMG_1475 IMG_1475 IMG_1475~Step 2.  Add the fire-roasted tomatoes, two whole chipotle chiles and 1 tablespoon sauce from can of peppers.  Stir to combine and adjust heat to simmer gently and steadily, 5-6 minutes. Reduce heat to low, then taste.  For more heat, add another tablespoon sauce from chipotles.

IMG_1475 IMG_1475 IMG_1475 IMG_1475 IMG_1475 IMG_1475 IMG_1475~Step 3.  Stir in the minced cilantro, adjust heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 1-2 more minutes.  Turn the heat off or remove from heat completely.  With the aid of a stick blender (also called an immersion blender), process the sauce to semi-chunky texture.  If you do not have a stick blender and are using a conventional blender, cool the sauce 1 hour prior to processing.  Transfer sauce to food storage container(s) and keep stored in refrigerator.  Reheat gently in the microwave.  Sauce freezes well.

"Break an egg, but before you do (huevos rancheros)...

IMG_1517... please pass the tomato & chipotle-chile chili sauce." 

IMG_1563Mexican-Style Tomato & Chipotle-Chile Chili Sauce:  Recipe yields 3 cups sauce.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; garlic press; 1 1/2-2 quart saucepan; hand-held stick blender or conventional blender; appropriately-sized food storage container(s).

6a0120a8551282970b0223c84786a7200cCook's Note:  In Spanish, "ahogada" means "drowned", "drenched" or "drunk".  Culinarily it refers to a super-spicy, tawny-red sauce that gets poured over Mexican-style chopped, sliced or shredded, beef, pork, chicken or shrimp "tortas" ("sandwiches").  This working-mans-lunch is served on a semi-firm bolillo roll, in a bowl, "bien ahogada", "well drowned" (immersed end-to-end). For a smooth-textured, bold-flavored Mexican-style cooked sauce specific to one torta: ~ Ahogada Sauce for Mexican Drowned Sandwiches ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2018)


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