I originally posted this recipe back in 2011 here. Today I reinvented it as our go to enchilada sauce. Buying the sauce at the store seems such a waste given all of the added ingredients, preservatives, fillers, etc. Even the organic sauce we had changed to over a year ago contains canola oil. This sauce freezes well so large batches can be made at one time.
5 dried ancho peppers (be sure to get air dried that do not have added oils or to dry them at home)
1 quart of homemade chicken stock (I have also used smoked chicken stock here)
24 oz crushed or diced tomatoes (be sure to purchase pure tomatoes, generally these will be Italian as most American tomatoes have citric acid — generally corn — added. Also you may sub fresh, roast and food mill into the mixture to add a deeper flavor)
1 tablespoon double concentrate tomato paste (be sure to purchase pure tomato paste with no additives, or use homemade)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon heaping Mexican oregano (whole, dried, then crushed)
6 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 heaping teaspoon Real Salt (I used fine)
dash (1/2 of 1/8 of a teaspoon) of baking soda (to remove a little of the bitter from the peppers)
The first thing you need to do is rehydrate the chiles. Start your chicken broth boiling in a medium pot. Cut the peppers in half and remove the stem, seeds and ribs. Anything you leave behind will impart heat into your sauce, so keep that in mind (use gloves if you are not used to handling hot peppers). Heat a dry sauté pan or skillet over medium heat and place chiles in for 5-10 seconds on each side. Use a flipper to push them down if they will not behave. Do not brown or burn the chiles, just heat them to get their oils active.
Place the warmed chiles in the boiling broth. Allow to boil for about 30 seconds and remove from heat. Be careful not breathe in the pepper too much, it will make you cough! Allow to sit for 20 minutes so the peppers can steep.
Add remaining ingredients to pot and stir to combine. Heat to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour with an off center lid on it. Remember, tomato makes a big mess if it boils without being covered.
Remove pot from heat and, using an immersion blender, blend the pepper mixture smooth. Taste mixture and adjust salt if needed. Place pot (with off center lid) back on heat and simmer for an additional hour.
Cool and freeze into containers, store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or enjoy immediately.