1ounceancho, pasilla or guajillo chiles,stems and seeds removed
1white onion, peeled and sliced into quarters
1hamburger roll,turn up
2poundsground venison, beef or other ground meat
Salt and pepper
Flour for dusting
Oil for frying
Put the chiles in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Cover the bowl while you do other things.
Get a comal or griddle or flattop or large frying pan very hot, and set the quartered onion and the garlic cloves down on them. You want to char them well on the cut sides of the onion, and whatever sides of the garlic cloves that can touch the pan.
Tear the hamburger roll into pieces and soak it in the milk.
By the time the onion and garlic are nicely charred, your chiles will be soft. Put them in a blender. Remove the bread from the milk and squeeze the excess milk out of it. Put the bread in the blender. Roughly chop the onion, peel the garlic, and put those into the blender, too. Puree. You will need to use a wooden spoon or tamper to get this done, because the mix won't be super liquidy. But this needs to be a homogenous puree.
Scrape the contents of the blender into a large bowl, add the ground meat and the egg, the oregano, a hefty pinch of salt -- maybe a teaspoon or so -- and a few grindings of black pepper. Mix this really well with your (clean) hands until it is one cohesive mass. You should be able to pick it up as one big blob of meat.
Clean off your comal or griddle, get it hot, and slick it with vegetable oil; I prefer canola here because it has a high smoke point.
Line a tortilla press with plastic wrap. Pull off a piece of the meat mixture about the size of a lime. Shape it into an oval, then carefully press it until the meat is about 1/8 inch thick. You can also do this with a rolling pin or an empty bottle.
Remove the top piece of plastic. Pick up the pachola and carefully remove the other piece of plastic, letting the meat rest in your open hand -- this is exactly the move you make when making tortillas. Set the patty on a plate with about 1/2 cup of flour in it, to dust the outside. Flip to dust the other side.
Carefully set the meat on the hot griddle. If you have a bacon press, set it on top of the meat for 30 seconds, then slide it off. Cook the meat on high heat for about 1 minute per side. I like to put each pachola on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet in an oven set to 200°F while I make the rest.
Once they're all made serve with beans and rice and the salsa of your choice.
If you don't have hamburger rolls lying around, you can use 1 cup breadcrumbs or crushed Saltines. If you use the Saltines you won't need to salt the rest of the mixture.
Keys to Success
If you end up using the breadcrumbs or Saltines, you will want to add just a little water or milk to the blender to help things puree.
For a gluten-free option, use about 1 cup of prepared masa, either fresh or made from masa harina. If you're using masa harina, make the dough a little too wet.
If you want things a little spicier, you can add some hotter fresh or dried peppers. One or two chipotles in adobo (from the can) is a nice touch.
The flour helps the pacholas brown nicely. You can use gluten free flour.