Holy Grail or Guajillo Chili

I miss living in New Mexico. (or at times, more specifically, I miss the chilies) I therefore attempt as much braised meat in various chilies as I did when I lived there…as I did in San Francisco for that matter. One chili that struck me hopeless was Guajillo. I used to eat a salsa made from it at my favorite taqueria in Santa Fe, or embarrassingly enough, slurp it straight from the plastic container it came in while in the parking lot outside.  Hot, crispy tacos waiting in the bag, or Guajillo chili with beef tucked into one of the most perfect burritos I’ve ever eaten. I was on a mission to make this sauce…well mission really doesn’t do it. Obsession comes to mind but this isn’t exactly new for me and food. After years of making salsa, chili sauces, etc, etc, etc, following folks recipes, (or not) searching, always searching and roasting, boiling, blitzing, marinating, cooking, I think I may have gotten this particular sauce down. It’s so deceptively simple. Guajillo is bright. It’s medium hot-but not knock your head off hot.  It’s that gorgeous deep, bright red color…It’s got character, depth, personality.  This go around I steeped this whole chilis in chicken stock and then blitzed with other components. This may not be the end all version-I am sure it won’t be in fact-because nothing really gives me as much pleasure as making a salsa or sauce…whether it be chimichurri, pesto, pistou, salsa…. It’s an endless quest for me. Salsa. It’s a life long desire and I don’t want it to end.

Simmer 10-12 whole dried Guajillo chilies in app. 1 c chicken stock   /   to a blender add 1/2 tsp each ground chipoltle, cumin, and New Mexico red chile, 1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon, 3 cloves smashed garlic, and about a 1/2 tsp salt.    /   After chilies are soft add them to blender with stock and blitz until smooth. Makes about 2 cups. Remove 1 cup of sauce to the refrigerator. This makes a great salsa to have with chips, eggs, tacos, etc. The rest is used as below, to braise beef in.

Sear about a 1lb. of beef stew meat, seasoned, in hot olive oil. Remove to a plate and add one chopped onion to beef fat.  Deglaze the pan with 2 cups chicken stock, (or beef), and get up all the fond from the bottom of the skillet. Add Guajillo sauce and stir to incorporate. Beef goes back in next, bring to the boil, simmer covered for about 2 hours or when beef is tender and falling apart. Serve with hot corn tortillas, and all the fixings you like.


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