This all purpose sauce can be pooled beneath grilled chicken breast, mixed with pulled or diced chicken for a tamale filling, or as an enchilada sauce. It can also be the base of an outstanding chili. You're going to elevate this sauce by leaving that generic chili powder in the cabinet and using dried Guajillo chilis. It's OK! They won't hurt you! They are very easy to use and readily available in many grocery stores and at every Latino market. Muy autentico!
Plus let's be honest, when your friends and family see you using dried chilis, you're earning serious kitchen cred. Also now readily available is ground annato or achiote molido, which gives this sauce a vibrant red hue that definitely puts the sexy in Mexi! If you want more spice, add 2 chile de arbol. These are the tiny red beasts that bring the heat! They MIGHT hurt you.
6-8 Guajillo dried chilis, stems removed
2 chili de arbol (optional)
2 cups chicken stock
2 tbl vegetable oil
1 small or 1/2 large red onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 large (28 oz) can whole peeled plum tomatoes
2 tbl annato or achiote powder
1 tbl black pepper
Place chilis, with their seeds, in a bowl large enough to hold chicken stock.
In a medium stock pot, bring chicken stock to a boil and CAREFULLY pour or ladle over chilis . Cover bowl with a plate and steep for 20 minutes.
Heat the oil in the pot over medium heat and add onion. Cook, stirring often, until slightly brown. Rough chop the garlic and add to the pot with the tomatoes and annato.
You can rough chop the peppers or just add, with the chicken stock to the pot and bring mix to a slow simmer.
Simmer for 30 -45 minutes stirring frequently.
Remove from heat and cool slightly. Purée the sauce in a blender, or more preferable, in the pot with an immersion or stick blender.
Then strain the sauce through a mesh strainer, using a spoon or spatula to push the sauce through while leaving the seeds behind.
Taste the sauce and adjust with salt and pepper. You should have 5-6 cups of sauce good for a week in the refrigerator. This sauce also freezes quite well.