How to Make Authentic Red Chile Sauce

red chile sauce

With Lent season upon us I wanted to share a recipe that is very near and dear to my heart…homemade red chile sauce. This recipe is from our published Muy Bueno cookbook.

Also referred to as chile colorado, New Mexico chile, or California chile, this chile has a thin flesh with an earthy chile flavor and undertones of wild cherries. This is the chile we use to make our red chile sauce.

california new mexico red chile

My mom remembers my grandma standing at her kitchen table squeezing the boiled red chile pods with her bare hands; this was before she owned a blender. She never quite figured out how she did this because the chiles were extremely spicy, but her hands never seemed to feel the burn.

homemade enchilada sauce

Afterwards she would strain the red chiles by turning a wooden pestle around and around in a conical strainer and pressing down on the chile pods. This would result in the velvety rich chile that she used for so many recipes.

conical sieve chinois red chile

Making the sauce from scratch takes a while, but once it’s made, it refrigerates and freezes well for other recipes in this blog. This is the same sauce used to make red enchiladas, red chile and pork tamales, menudo, chilaquiles, and pozole just to name a few.

conical sieve chinois red chile

Homemade Red Chile Sauce (Chile Colorado)

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces California or New Mexico red chile pods
  • 6 cups water
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Directions:

  1. Remove stems, seeds, and veins from the chile pods. Place in a colander and rinse well with cool water.
  2. Add the chiles to a large pot and add enough water so they are just covered. Bring water to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes. After 10 minutes turn the chiles over with tongs to make sure the chiles soften evenly. Drain cooked pods and allow time to cool down before blending. Discard water.
  3. Fill blender with 3 cups of water, half of the cooled chile pods, 3 tablespoons flour, 2 cloves garlic, and half of the salt. Blend until smooth. Strain sauce through a fine sieve to remove skins and seeds; discard skins and seeds. Repeat blending and straining process with remaining water, pods, flour, garlic, and salt. If necessary, season with more salt.
  4. This sauce can be made in advance and kept in airtight containers in the refrigerator or freezer. Red chile sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week or frozen for up to six months.
More recipes available at muybuenocookbook.com This recipe is also published in Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor

I’d love to see what you cook!

Tag #MUYBUENOCOOKING if you make this recipe.

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Photography by Jeanine Thurston