A cross between an enchilada sauce and mole, this pesto pairs well with grilled meat or vegetables.
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 large clove garlic, minced
4 dried New Mexico chiles (see Note), stemmed, seeded and broken into 2-inch pieces
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds), toasted (see Tip)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 2 minutes. Add garlic; cook, stirring constantly, for 20 seconds more. Add chiles; cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add water and immediately turn off the heat. When the water stops boiling, pour the chile mixture into a small bowl. Make sure all the pieces are submerged; cover and set aside to soften, 20 minutes.
Pour the chile mixture into a food processor or large blender. Add pepitas, thyme, cumin and salt. Pulse a few times, then process until smooth, or to the desired consistency, scraping down the sides occasionally.
Makes about 1 cup.
Per 2-tablespoon serving: 27 calories; 2 g fat (0 g sat, 1 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 2 g carbohydrate; 1 g protein; 0 g fiber; 149 mg sodium…reduce sodium content by using a salt substitute.
Ingredient note: Dried New Mexico chiles are sweet with a hint of spiciness. They can be found in the specialty-produce section of the supermarket, in gourmet-food markets or online at www.melissas.com.
Toasting nuts & seeds: Sliced almonds or pepitas: Cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.
Hazelnuts or walnuts: Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 350Â°F, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned, 7 to 9 minutes. After toasting, let hazelnuts cool for a few minutes, then rub together in a clean kitchen towel to release most of the papery skins.