Four Pepper Chile Sauce
- Prep Time: 30
- Cook Time: 15
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: About 3 1/2 cups
- Cuisine: Mexican
- 6 Gualjilo Chile, dried and seeded
- 4 Ancho Chile, dried and seeded
- 4 Arbol Chile, dried and seeded
- 4 Pasilla Chile, dried and seeded
- 1/8 cup raisins
- 2 tsp. cumin seeds, whole
- 2 tsp. coriander seeds, whole
- 1/2 tsp. whole thyme
- 3 cloves, whole
- 1 1/2 TBL Smoked Paprika
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 TBL Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar
- Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Carefully drop your stemmed and seeded chiles into the rapidly boiling water. Immediately, lower the heat to simmer and let the chiles steep for 15 minutes. Since the chiles sometimes have a tendency to float to the surface, I will occasionally use a long-handled spoon to make sure the chiles stay submerged in the hot water.
- Add the raisins to the pot of chiles during the last five minutes of the steeping time.
- Remove the chiles and raisins from the water and place in blender, along with 1/4 cup of the steeping liquid. Reserve the remaining chile soaking liquid. You will use about 1/4 cup more for making this sauce. Any reserved liquid can be frozen for use in soups and stocks. I usually freeze mine in ice cube trays for ease of use.
- Process the chiles and raisins until smooth, adding about 1/4 more of the steeping liquid as needed. Set blender aside, for the time being, and prepare your spices.
- Add cumin seed, coriander seed and whole thyme to small pan. Place over medium heat and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. They should smell fragrant, but not burned, when done. Watch carefully, because they can go from perfectly done to perfectly burnt in the blink of an eye.
- Once the coriander, cumin seeds and thyme are done, crush with mortar and pestle. Or, if you can do as I do and grind the in your coffee grinder turned spice grinder.
- Divide the toasted ground spices in half. Set one-half aside for later use (in this case, for use in the Chorizo recipe).
- Grind the cloves in your spice grinder or your mortar and pestle.
- Mix the remaining toasted ground spices with the cloves, oregano, smoked paprika, cinnamon, salt and pepper.
- Add the mixed spices, garlic, oil and vinegar to the chile mixture in the blender. Process until the mixture is completely smooth. If needed for processing, may need to drizzle in a bit more of the reserved steeping liquid.
- Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
Toasting the coriander, cumin and thyme give this spicy sauce a wonderful complexity that is missing with untoasted spices. It only takes a few minutes to toast spices so try not to skip this step. The world won’t stop if you skip it, but I think you’ll like what toasted spices brings to the table.