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Makes about 1½ cups
- 2 tablespoons achiote seeds
- ¾ cup bitter orange juice (or a mixture of sweet orange juice and fresh lime juice)
- 2 lbs. dried ancho chiles, seeded and deveined
- 2 large whole cloves
- 4 large whole allspice
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 head garlic, peeled (about 10 large cloves)
- salt to taste
- Place the achiote seeds in a small bowl, pour the juice over them, and allow to soak 2 – 3 hours.
- Toast the chiles just until they give off their fragrance, soak them in hot water until they soften, and drain them well.
- Place all ingredients in a spice mill or food processor and process until they are well blended.
- They should form a thick paste, the consistency of a chilled cookie dough.