Big thanks goes to The Hatch Chile Store for sponsoring this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own :0)
Living in New Mexico for 30+ years and gaining my culinary education here, let me share with you what I’ve learned about how to make the most delicious, authentic, Red Chile Sauce from dried chili (chile) pods.
Red chili pods are hand-picked when ripe, then dried by the sun to preserve them. Authentic Red Chile sauce is made when dried chili pods are re-hydrated in hot water or broth, blended in a blender until smooth, then cooked on a stovetop to further blend and deepen the flavor. The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, and used in all sorts of recipes, such as: Huevos Rancheros, Carne Adovada, Posole, Enchiladas, etc. Below I’ll share with you important tips and methods that I have learned over the years to streamline this recipe, and make it THE BEST recipe for Red Chile Sauce on the web!
Just for reference, Chile with an “e”, is how we spell and reference chile peppers in NM, but I totally get that most of the world spells this word with an “i”. Not to be confused with “chili” the stew. (Texas invention.) Yes, it is actually QUITE confusing, but that’s just how it is. I will be using the New Mexican spelling “chile’’ in most of this article.
In order to create the most delicious and authentic Red Chile Sauce, sourcing high-quality chile pods is essential. Not all chili pods are created equal. That’s why I’ll never use anything but verified Hatch Chiles in my New Mexican cooking. The quality is fantastic, and there really is something special about the flavor of this natively grown chile!
How to make Red Chile Sauce from Dried Chile Pods
Once you have your bag of Hatch dried chili, begin to make your sauce by creating what I’ll call your “re-hydrating” broth. I enjoy complementing the natural flavor of the chile with onion, garlic, dried herbs and chicken bullion. I usually add these into the pot raw, but sometimes, if I feel like it, I’ll sauté the onion and garlic in a little bit of butter until golden brown before continuing with the recipe.
Adding depth of flavor is an important part of being a great cook, and I think it really makes my Red Chile Sauce stand out. Some in New Mexico are chile ‘purists’, and scoff at the thought of using anything but water and chili pods to make their sauce. That’s not me.
Measure out 4 ounces of dried chile pods. If you don’t have a food scale, this is roughly as many as will fit into a 4-cup measuring cup. Dried chili pods can still have quite a bit of capsaicin, the chemical that gives chiles their spicy-hot flavor. I strongly recommend wearing gloves whenever handling chiles. Rip the pods into smaller pieces over a large bowl, discarding the stems. I am a mild chile sauce person (I know I’m a wimp), and I dump a lot of the seeds out and discard them as well. If you like it hot, by all means leave the seeds in with your ripped chile pieces.
When your broth is at a simmer or low boil, stir in the ripped chiles. Cover and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes. This simmering speeds up the process of the individual flavors of chile pepper, onion, herbs, etc. to meld together.
Separate by pouring the mixture through a strainer. SAVE THE BROTH. Why don’t I just pour the entire contents of the pot right into a blender? Because if you do that you’ll get chunks of chile in there that will never get blended properly, and you won’t get a completely smooth consistency. The trick here is to add just a small amount of liquid into the blender to keep the solids close to the blades, so that everything gets blended nice and smooth. Then just add broth as needed to thin out the sauce to your liking.
If you plan to serve your Red Chile Sauce right away, it should be cooked a little further on the stove. Why? Because it will taste better; the heat speeds up the process of deepening the flavor notes of this sauce. Feel free to use the same pot as for the broth (why dirty yet another pot or pan???) I used a pan in the pic below JUST so you could see it better :0)
You can totally skip this step if you’re in a hurry, especially if you’re going to cook the sauce again, as in enchiladas. You can also skip it if you’re making your sauce a day ahead, as the flavors will naturally deepen as it sits in the fridge overnight.
There are so many uses for this sauce– smothering your morning eggs, or a burrito, spicing up a soft taco, the flavor base for Pork Posole, and my personal favorite, Red Chile Pork Ribs. You can find more recipe ideas for Authentic Red Chile Sauce made with Dried Chili Pods in my cookbook, New Mexican Food Made Easy. Available in bookstores, libraries and Amazon.
I am just in love with this deep-red color! You’ve just gotta spice up your life with a little Red Chile Sauce now and then.
And don’t forget to order your Genuine Hatch Chile from The Hatch Chile store– the premier online resource for all Hatch chile products, fresh, frozen, dried, jarred; however you like it, they’ve got it!
I would be happy to chat with you about Authentic Red Chile Sauce made from dried chile pods, and how your Abuela made it, and your memories surrounding it. Experiencing delicious food is about making life memories with the people you love. Please rate the recipe and share a comment below, it always helps The Goldilocks Kitchen to continue to bring you the best recipes on the web!Print