Chile Colorado (Basic Red Chile Sauce)
by Nancy Gerlach, Fiery-Foods Food Editor

The chiles that are traditionally used for this sauce are the ones 
pulled off the ristras or strings of dried chiles. Ristras are not 
just used for decoration-- this is one method of sun drying or 
preserving the fall chile crop for use throughout the year. Use this 
sauce in a number of dishes, as a topping for enchiladas and tacos, 
as a basis for stews like posole, or any recipe that calls for a red 
sauce.

10 to 12 dried red New Mexican chiles 
2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
1 medium onion, chopped 
2 cloves garlic, chopped 
2 to 3 cups beef broth (optional), or water 
1 teaspoon dried oregano, Mexican preferred 
Pinch of ground cumin 
Salt to taste 

Arrange the chile pods on a baking pan and place in a 250-degree oven 
for 10 to 15 minutes or until the chiles become very aromatic, being 
careful not to let them burn. Remove the stems and seeds and place 
the pods into a bowl.

Cover the chiles with very hot water and allow them to steep for 15 
to 20 minutes to soften. Drain the chiles and discard the water.

In a heavy saucepan, saute the onion and garlic in the oil until 
soft. Add the chiles and a couple cups of water or broth and simmer 
for 10 minutes.

Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree 
until smooth. Strain the mixture, if desired, for a smoother sauce. 
If the sauce is too thin, place it back on the stove and simmer until 
it is reduced to the desired consistency, or if too thick, add more 
water or broth.

Adjust the seasonings and serve.

Yield: 21/2 to 3 cups
Heat Scale: Medium to Hot 
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