This is my Mom’s recipe. The smell of this sauce perfumed my childhood weekly. Native to Chihuahua in Northern Mexico, this salsa roja is the base for many staple dishes in Mexican cuisine. Guajillo chiles are the foundation and they get seasoned with garden herbs like Mexican oregano, thyme, bay leaf and garlic. If you’ve never played with whole chiles, this sauce is a great staple to learn.
Destem the chilies, then cut them lengthwise using kitchen scissors and the remove seeds.
Add the guajillos and water to a medium sized pot. Bring to a boil and let them simmer on medium-high heat for 5-8 minutes.
In a blender add the thyme, Mexican oregano, Turkish bay leaves, garlic and salt. Pour in the stewed guajillos and blend for a minute or until the sauce looks smooth.
Rinse out the medium pot that the guajillos were in and add the olive oil. Set the pot on medium-high heat.
If you have a high-powered blender, straining the sauce may not be necessary but for an extra velvety smooth sauce, put it through a strainer.
Add the sauce to the pot and stir, let it simmer for 5 minutes. Reduce if necessary to desired consistency.
Cool and refrigerate up to a week.
This is a great sauce for enchiladas, chilaquiles, chile colorado and pozole.
Guajillos are pretty mild, if you would like some extra heat add a couple pequin chiles.
It freezes well. This recipe makes approximately 1 quart of sauce.
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