1 oz. dried ancho or New Mexico chiles (3 to 5 chiles)
1 – 2 oz. vegetable oil
Hot water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons agave syrup (or use sugar)
2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Chicken in red chile sauce

Adapted from a recipe by Rick Bayless.


Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles and tear or cut into wide strips.

Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. When hot, add chiles one or two pieces at a time and toast for a few seconds per side, until blistered and fragrant. Remove to a bowl and continue until all chiles are done. Cover the chiles with very hot tap water (at least 2 cups; you’ll probably need more), covering with a small plate to make sure chiles are submerged. Let them rehydrate for at least 20 minutes.

Remove the chiles from the water and place in a blender or food processor with 1 -1/2 cups of the hot water. Add remaining ingredients except for chicken and puree until very smooth. Adjust seasoning.

If using thighs, place them in a shallow Dutch oven or baking dish with a lid. Cover with sauce and place cover on pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours, or until chicken is falling off the bone. Take the chicken out of the sauce and let cool. Remove from bones and shred meat. Return to the sauce.

Or, if using previously cooked chicken, place in a sauce pan and add sauce. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until sauce thickens slightly and chicken is warmed through. Serve over rice, as a taco filling, or in corn cups.

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