Recipes: 11.02.17

Seasons by the Sea: Celebrating the Lives of the Dead

Red Chile Sauce

This is a basic red chile sauce for making layered enchiladas. It is hard to predict the final amount because it depends on how much tomato juice you will use to thin it and make it less spicy. 

You will probably get about one to one and a half cups. 

To make enchiladas, lightly fry each corn tortilla in oil, then drain on a paper towel. Layer the tortillas with red sauce, shredded jack cheese, and chopped sweet onions, such as Vidalias, in a gratin dish. Bake for about 20 minutes at 350 or until bubbly.

15 dried Chimayo chili pods, washed, cored, seeds removed, and crumbled  (you may want to use rubber gloves for this process)

4 cloves garlic

1 red onion, coarsely chopped

Water to cover

Salt and pepper

Cumin to taste (I use about 1 tsp.)

Dried Mexican oregano, about 1 tsp.

Tomato juice to thin sauce


In a large pot simmer first three ingredients for about 20 minutes, or until soft. Drain mixture; the water will be too spicy. Puree in blender with a little fresh water to make a thick puree. Push mixture through strainer.

Add salt and pepper, cumin, and oregano, and dilute with tomato juice until desired spiciness is achieved.

This will keep in refrigerator for one week.


Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead)

Makes one 12-inch round loaf.

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup water

2 Tbsp. butter, room temperature

31/2 cups flour, divided

1/4 cup sugar

21/4 tsp. active dry yeast (one packet)

1/2 tsp. ground anise

1 tsp. salt

2 eggs, at room temperature


For glaze and topping:

1 Tbsp. milk

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided

1 orange, zested and juiced


In a small saucepan heat the milk, water, and butter until butter is melted. Remove from heat and cool to around 80 to 90 degrees.

In a large bowl combine one cup flour, sugar, yeast, anise, and salt. Add cooled milk mixture and whisk until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, and whisk until combined. Add the remaining two cups flour, half a cup at a time, mixing well until a soft dough is formed.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead for about five to seven minutes, adding more flour if necessary, until the dough is smooth, soft, and slightly tacky.

Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover with a tea towel, and set aside in a warm spot for about an hour, until dough has doubled in size.

Once dough has risen, punch it down and knead again briefly. Cut off six one-ounce pieces of dough. Set aside. Form the rest of the dough into a round loaf and place on a lightly floured baking sheet. Form the six smaller pieces into “bones” by rolling lightly from the middle. Arrange the bones on top of the round loaf. 

Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside to rise again for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees during last 10 minutes of second rising. Brush the dough lightly with milk, then bake for approximately 25 to 30 minutes, until it sounds hollow when thumped with finger.

While bread is baking, make glaze. Heat a quarter cup of sugar with zest and juice of orange. Simmer two to three minutes, then brush on bread. Sprinkle with two tablespoons sugar. Let cool before serving.


Candied Pumpkin

2 1/2 lbs. pumpkin chunks, cut into 2-3 inch pieces

1 cup brown sugar

2 Tbsp. molasses

1 stick cinnamon 

Juice and zest of one orange

2 cups water


Simmer pumpkin with other ingredients, covered, for half an hour.

Uncover and continue simmering for about 90 minutes, until sauce is reduced to a glaze.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.