Just Good Food

by John Ryan


Chili Sauce
and Finishing the Meat Filling


The only annoying thing about making the sauce is passing the purée through the strainer. Use a soup spoon and just keep stirring and pushing the purée, occasionally tapping the strainer on the bowl. (Make sure to scrape the purée off the underside of the strainer.) It'll take five or ten minutes; it takes everybody five or ten minutes. However, don't use a fancy super-fine strainer from gourmet-cookware stores or you'll be at the chore all day. I use a cheap strainer that I picked up at a hardware store.

Anyway, remember to set aside half a cup of purée (you'll use it for the masa). You'll notice that the solids are still pretty gooey.


To Make the Chile Sauce:
2 ounces lard
1/4 cup flour
4 ounces ancho chilies
4 ounces guajillo or pasilla chilies
6 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups pork broth
2 cups pork broth
1 can diced tomatoes
1 green bell pepper


1. In a 3-qt. pot, melt the lard and stir in the flour to make a roux. Cook on medium low. Watch for hot spots and stir frequently until it's peanut butter brown, about 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, rip open the chilies and throw out the stem and seeds. Tear the chilies up. Use a large, dry skillet or pot to toast the chilies- throw them in the pan on medium-high heat and stir for a couple minutes, until they darken slightly and release their aromas. Don't burn them or they will be bitter.

3. When the roux is done, take the pan off the heat and toss in the garlic and spices. Before the garlic burns, start stirring in the pork broth. (At first it'll be a thick paste, but even at this stage you want the paste to be smooth before adding more broth.) Return the pan to medium heat. When all the broth is added, stir in the chilies, cover and gently simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir from time to time so the mixture doesn't scorch.

4. purée in a food processor and work the purée through a wire strainer. Set aside 1/2 cup for the masa.

5. Mix the solids with 2 cups of pork broth. Strain again, then throw out the solids.

6. Return the chile purée to the pot along with the tomatoes and chopped green pepper. Simmer until the green pepper is soft, about 20 minutes. Add salt to taste. Done.


To Finish the Filling:
1 bunch green onions
1/2 bunch cilantro
Shredded pork
Chile sauce (remember to set aside 1/2 cup of sauce for later)

1. Slice the green onions thinly (slice up most of the green part) and chop the cilantro.

2. In a large bowl, toss the pork with the cilantro and green onions. Then stir in enough sauce to make the mixture wet but not soupy. (You may not need to use all the sauce. Save it to serve over the tamales.)


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John Ryan

Both chef and musician, John Ryan wrote the Just Good Food blog from 1996 through 2001.


This page created December 1998