Chile Colorado

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Chile Colorado has always been one of my favorites. My mom has been making it for as long as I can remember – she would bring me individual frozen portions for me to stick in my freezer so when I was craving her Chile Colorado, all I had to do was go buy some tortillas and cheese and I had a taste of home in no time. This is definitely comfort food at its finest. And while my love for Mexican food is nothing new, I think this recipe tops the list.

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I was born in California and moved to Tucson, Arizona shortly after, so it’s no surprise that Mexican would be my favorite type of cuisine. Since my parents are both born and bred Californians, with that came a lot of Mexican-inspired dishes. This recipe came from one of my relatives and I tweaked it only slightly, in order to coax a little more flavor from the seriously delicious enchilada sauce.

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This sauce isn’t nearly as daunting as it may sound. You simply buy a big bag of dried chiles, re-constitute them in hot water, make a roux, add chiles to the roux, and add water. An hour later and you’ve got a delicious base for some seriously mouth-watering chile Colorado.

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I made this sauce on Saturday night, put it in the fridge, and on Sunday morning got up, added some spices to the sauce, browned some chuck roast meat, put that in the sauce and cooked it on low for 3 hours. You could easily do this in a crockpot as well for a super-speedy weeknight meal. Make the sauce the night before, get up in the morning and put the sauce and meat in the crockpot and come home to a warm, home cooked meal that will make your house smell fantastic.

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All you have to do to serve is roll the meat and sauce into a burrito, smother it with more sauce and sprinkle with cheese and pop it under the broiler for a minute or two and you’ve got dinner. The meat falls apart from cooking for so long and the tortillas sop up all of that delicious sauce. Seriously yum.

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And I forgot to mention the best part – this is made for freezing because it makes a lot. After it had cooled completely, I portioned them out into individual servings (just like Mom would!) and stuck them in the freezer. This is one recipe that will definitely feed a crowd, or definitely stock up your freezer, neither is bad in my opinion.

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Chile Colorado

For the Enchilada Sauce:

1/2 lb dried New Mexico Chiles
3/4 cup Crisco
1 1/4 cup flour
2 1/2 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp freshly chopped garlic

Take the stems off of the dried chiles and discard along with the seeds inside. In a heat-proof bowl, soak the chiles in hot water for 20 minutes. Drain off the water and put the chiles in a food processor and blend until a nice, thick paste has formed. Set aside.

In a large stock pot, melt the Crisco over medium heat. Once melted, add the flour, salt, and garlic. Cook for a minute or two and then add the chile paste. Cook this mixture for about 15 minutes. It will form into a big ball so you have to keep stirring this.

Add 3 quarts of water. Cook until thickened, about an hour, then put through a strainer.

For the Chile Colorado:

3 quarts of Enchilada Sauce
4 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
2.5 lb cubed rib roast or chuck roast
Crisco
Flour
Flour tortillas, for serving
Grated cheddar cheese, for serving
Chopped green onions, for garnish

Add the spices to the Enchilada Sauce and warm under low heat. Meanwhile, coat the meat with the flour and brown in a skillet with melted Crisco. Add the browned meat to the sauce and cook over low heat for about 3 hours or until the meat is tender.

To serve, spoon a row of the meat and sauce onto a warmed flour tortilla. Roll into a burrito and spoon more sauce over it. Top with cheese and broil until cheese is bubbly. Garnish with green onions and serve immediately.

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