Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sweet Chile Dipping Sauce

I needed a dipping sauce for the empanadas I'm making for a dinner party this weekend, and had a very hard time finding a good one online. I adapted the following recipe from some obscure website. The original recipe didn't really work out so well, but after a bit of anxiety, and some imagination, I think this will work.

Sweet Chile Dipping Sauce

12 dried chiles, or 3 oz. (use Ancho or California chiles for a mild sauce, Chipotle chiles for hot)
3 tsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, thinly diced
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 tbsp. brown sugar
4 tbsp. honey
1/4 tsp. liquid smoke flavoring
2 tsp salt
3 tbsp tamarind paste
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 can tomato paste
sriracha sauce, to taste
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Place the chiles in a deep saucepan, then pour in enough water to cover. The chiles may rise to the top, but that is normal until they are reconstituted in the water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the saucepan and continue to let the chiles simmer for 20-30 minutes or until they are softened.

Note: reserve the poaching water with the chiles after they are drained. Drain the chiles and let them cool on a board. Then cut out the stem and scrape out the seeds from the chiles. Separate the skins from the meat of the chiles and reserve the chile "meat" in a bowl.

While the chiles are cooling, heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté, turning a few times, until the garlic just starts to turn golden, about 10 minutes. Remove the garlic & onions from the skillet.

Add the chiles, garlic, oregano and 1 cup of the chile poaching water to a blender. Puree the chiles until the sauce is smooth, adding additional poaching water as needed to make the sauce the desired consistency. Add the sugar, honey, liquid smoke, tamarind paste, balsamic vinegar, and tomato paste and blend again. Gradually add the sriracha, salt and black pepper until the sauce is hot and salty enough for youl

Keep the red chile sauce covered and refrigerated for up to two weeks. I plan to serve it on the side with pulled pork and beef empanadas.

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