Charred Onion-Chile Marinade

Imbue your leg of lamb, goat stew, wild game, tri-tip, flank steak, skirt steak, pork loin, chops, tenderloin or shoulder; whole chicken, turkey or other poultry cuts with this sublime and mildly pungent, toasted red chile and charred onion marinade. The result is juicy, tender portions of protein with intense, deep flavor. Most importantly, whatever you’re cooking will be lip-smackin’ good. Once you have finished your masterpiece, it is imperative to break out The Cleaver Red Blend and the wine glasses!

  • Cut off the stems of the chiles. Remove and discard seeds. Heat an ungreased griddle or skillet on medium high heat. Briefly toast the chiles 10 seconds on each side. The color darkens and aromas release. Remove from heat.

  • Place chiles in a large saucepan, cover with water and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and soak for 10 minutes. Strain chiles, discard water, and cut into 6 or 8 pieces. Place cut chiles back into the large saucepan.

  • Using the same griddle on medium high heat, char the onion and garlic until dark brown (not until black spots appear), about 3-5 minutes, turning with tongs as you brown. Add the spices and oregano. Cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. Remove from heat.

  • Add the charred onions, garlic and spices to the saucepan. Cover the chiles just barely with water. Bring to a boil and cover. Simmer, being sure the chiles stay submerged until chiles and onion are soft, about 7-10 minutes. Cool.

  • Place softened chiles and onion into a blender with some cooking water, about halfway full. Reserve the rest of the chiles and water for blending in batches.

  • Add the orange juice or vinegar, oil, brown sugar, salt and hot sauce to the blender. Put the lid on and hold down tightly. Blend on high speed. Turn off blender and check marinade for texture. If it is too thick, loosen with the chile water. Pour blended sauce back into the large saucepan. Continue blending in batches. Stir all blended sauce together. Taste and adjust seasoning.

  • Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week. Freeze for up to one month. This marinade works best if allowed to sit six hours to overnight on proteins of choice. Remember to season your proteins with salt and pepper before grilling.

    It freezes well and keeps for up to one week in the refrigerator. Any leftover marinade is an excellent complement to breakfast burritos, egg dishes, soups, stews, grilled vegetable dishes, quesadillas or tamales.