large dried guajillo, New Mexico or California chiles, (about 3/4 ounce; see Note)
large dried ancho chiles, (about 3/4 ounce; see Note)
extra-virgin olive oil
medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 small cloves
large tomatillos, (see Note), husks removed, washed and chopped
plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
water, or vegetable broth
freshly ground pepper
chopped fresh oregano, or 1 tablespoon dried, preferably Mexican
chopped fresh cilantro
- Wearing gloves, remove the stems, seeds and inner ribs from the chiles and tear the chiles into large pieces.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chile pieces, onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the chiles are fragrant and the onions are soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add tomatillos and tomatoes, reduce heat slightly, and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes more. Add water (or broth), salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes.
- Stir in oregano and let cool for a few minutes. Puree the sauce in a blender until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Stir in cilantro.
Notes: Mildly spicy dried chiles, such as ancho, guajillo, New Mexico, mulato and California chiles, are used to add moderate heat and a rich flavor to sauces, soups and stews. Find them in the produce section of large supermarkets or online at melissas.com.
Tomatillos are tart, plum-size fruits that look like small, husk-covered green tomatoes. Find them in the produce section near the tomatoes. Remove outer husks and rinse well before using.
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