Thursday, September 8, 2011

first you make a purée

It might be a cliche to joke that every cajun, creole, or southern recipe begins with "first you make a roux," but that's what my mom said. She's from down south, so who am I to doubt her?  ...and she's my mom.

I always think of this when I'm making foods with dried chilis, because for the most part, you have to purée them to use them.

I recently received a box of dried chile samples from Marx Foods...

...and one of the first things I did was make a purée.

This is more of an ingredient recipe than a food, itself. Chile purée is good to have handy for making chili, mole, enchilada sauce, or for adding to pozole or menudo. If you like that stuff, double, triple, quadruple, quintuple, etc. –up to infinity – the recipe and save some for the future.

chile purée

Makes about 2 cups

2-3oz of selected dried chiles (in this case, 2 aji amarillos, 4 mulatos, and 6-8 puyas)
2 cups water

Using dishwasher safe scissors and rubber gloves, cut open the chiles and remove the stems and seeds. Place the chiles in a saucepan and cover with the water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Allow the  chiles and water to cool for a few minutes, then blend well in a covered blender. Strain through a colander, coarse strainer, or foodmill, discarding the residue. If using a strainer with a fine mesh, you may have to stir and rub with the back of a spoon until all the purée is pushed through. If it's particularly thick, you can even drizzle some more water over the mash, but keep in mind that you may have to cook the purée again to reduce it to the desired thickness.

If making ahead, like I just did, place it in a covered dish or jar and refrigerate until ready to use.

Note: If you just made a really large batch, you can freeze it into ice cubes and store in zipper bags, or freeze it in small jars or containers.

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