Photo by Sonia Mendez Garcia

Mexican-Style Adobo Sauce

Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
A delicious Mexican-Style adobo sauce perfect for marinating, braising and flavoring!

Making Mexican-style adobo sauce starts with a variety of dried chiles. For as far back as I can remember, dried chiles were a staple ingredient in my family's cooking and they continue to be in my own. The three dried chiles I am featuring in this recipe are ancho, guajillo and chile de árbol (chipotle can also be used). The ancho is typically the mildest, guajillo has a medium heat level and the chile de árbol is on the spicy end of the scale. You might find yourself at the Mexican market and find very large bags of dried chiles, and you might wonder why anyone would need so many and how could you possibly get the best use out of them. If I had to suggest one recipe, it would be to prepare a Mexican-style adobo sauce. Along with the dried chiles, there will be spices, vinegar and broth added which will yield a delicious sauce ready to be used in a variety of recipes.



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  1. Remove the stems and seeds from the larger chiles and only the stems from the chile de árbol if they have them.
  2. Transfer them to a comal (griddle) and heat to medium. As soon as the chiles become aromatic, take a metal spatula and press them flat onto hot surface. This will help toast them a little quicker. Turn and repeat on other side. You want the skins to blister and blacken slightly, but still have some red color on the inside. If the get too burned (dark), they could become bitter.
  3. Transfer the chiles to a pot of simmering water and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let them steep and cool. 
  4. Combine the dry spices and set aside. If you have the time, I would suggest grinding the spices fresh for even more aromatic flavor.
  5. Heat your comal or griddle to medium heat. Add the garlic with skins on and cook, dry roast, for 15 minutes. Turn as needed. Remove from heat and let cool.
  6. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, add the chiles to the blender. Also add the spices. Remove skins from garlic and add them. Finally add the vinegar, broth and salt to taste. Blend on high until smooth. Strain through a wire-mesh strainer.
  7. Store in an airtight container or freeze for later. The flavors will just get better and better in a few days.

Chef Notes

Once prepared, this adobo sauce is perfect for marinating pork, beef or chicken. Delicious to add flavor to a Mexican-style chorizo, beef chili and pozole.

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