New Mexico Red Chile sauce
This is my version of New Mexico's famous red chile sauce. Mixed with shredded pork, it is used as a tamale filling, but it is also ladled over the tamales as well as enchiladas, huevos rancheros, breakfast burritos, stuffed sopaipillas, chiles rellenos and almost anything else you can think of. You may not need four cups of the sauce for your recipe, but you might as well make the whole batch; freeze extra portions in small resealable plastic containers.
• 24 dried red New Mexico chile pods
• 5 cups beef stock, chicken stock or water
• 2 tablespoons bacon grease, lard or vegetable oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
• Salt, to taste
• 1 teaspoon honey, or to taste (optional)
In a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat, toast the chiles on both sides (you'll have to do this in batches) until they soften slightly and become aromatic. When the chiles are cool enough to handle, remove the stems and seeds.
Transfer the chiles to a deep saucepan and pour over them about 4 cups water (or enough to just barely cover. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the chiles to rest, about 15 minutes.
Working in batches, puree the chiles with their soaking liquid.
In the cast-iron skillet, over medium heat, melt the bacon grease. Add the garlic and flour and cook, stirring, until the mixture becomes golden. Add the pureed chiles and stir quickly while the sauce bubbles and spatters. Reduce the heat, add the oregano and simmer 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt. If the sauce is a little bitter, mellow it with the honey.