New Mexico Red Chile

Remember those fresh red chile ristras from my Red or Green? post?  It doesn’t take long under the New Mexico sun for them to become dried red chile. Once dry, they can be ground into red chile powder or turned into red chile sauce.

Ristras of New Mexico red chiles

 

I always go for the red chile sauce.  Every year we purchase a bag of dried red chiles or a fresh ristra. The ristra we hang it in the backyard to dry. Once dry, I break off the pods at the stems and make a couple of big batches of red chile sauce. I freeze most of it in small containers for future use, but always reserve about two cups for enchiladas. Below is my recipe for New Mexico Red Chile Sauce. For the heat level, I try to buy “medium” when I have a choice, but most of the time, the only choice is hot – but we like it hot.

If you don’t have or can’t find red chile pods, you can always make a red chile from powder.



A bowl of Red Chile Sauce made from dried New Mexico chiles.  mjskitchen.com

 

 

A bowl of Red Chile Sauce made from dried New Mexico chiles.  mjskitchen.com

 

Kitchen Notes

The Liquid – Chicken stock can be used in place of water or you could use both water and stock.

Cumin – If you’ve looked at a lot of NM red chile sauce recipes, you’ll find cumin, coriander, both cumin and coriander and neither cumin nor coriander.  What you use is personal preference.  Having made it several ways over the years, I prefer adding cumin to my red chile sauce.  It’s the way I was taught by a fifth generation New Mexican over 30 years ago, and some things are just too good to change. So if you don’t like cumin, then don’t use it.  It’s all about the chile anyway.

Freezing Red Chile Sauce – This sauce freezes great and last for up to a year or more in the freezer – although I really wouldn’t know for sure because mine never last past 6 months.  When I plan to freeze it, I usually make a thicker sauce and transfer to small (1 cup) freezer containers. This takes up less space in the freezer and freezer space is always an issue.  You could also freeze the sauce in ice cube trays, then transfer the frozen cubes to a plastic bag.

To use frozen chile sauce, remove frozen chile from the container to a small sauce pan. Heat on low, breaking apart the frozen pieces and stirring as it thaws.  You could also “defrost” in your microwave for 3 minutes before transferring it to a sauce pan. Once thawed, whisk to regain the smooth texture.  Add more water or stock if needed.

Canning Red Chile Sauce – I’ve never canned red chile sauce, but I did find the following process over at Pepperfool which looks like it might work. This process says  “To can: Fill sterilized 1-pint jars, cap, and process in a pressure canner at 15 lbs pressure for 15 minutes.”  I have not been able to find any process for using a water-bath to can red chile sauce.

How to Tone Down the Heat of a Red Chile Sauce – Here are a couple of ways:

  • Stir in 1 tsp. honey. Taste and add another if needed.  Don’t add more than 2 tsp., otherwise it could become too sweet.  If it’s still too hot…
  • Make a Red Chile Pumpkin Sauce.  If you’ve already made the red chile sauce, then just add some pumpkin puree.

 

A bowl of Red Chile Sauce made from dried New Mexico chiles.  mjskitchen.comDishes with Red Chile Sauce

Burritos – Smother your favorite burrito (bean, chicken, beef, pork or egg) with red chile sauce.  One of our favorites consists of pinto beans, cheese, fresh tomato, chopped onion, lettuce and sour cream or yogurt wrapped in a warm flour tortilla and smothered in red chile sauce.

 

These are just a few suggestions for using red chile sauce, most of which are pretty common in New Mexico. Many of these recipes and more will be posted on this site in weeks, months, and years to come.

This red chile sauce recipe has been linked up to the following blog hops: Made from Scratch TuesdayFat TuesdayKatherine Martinelli’s “Peppers” Hop, Gallery of Favorites, Frugal Foods Thursday, Gluten-Free Monday.

 

New Mexico Chile Series

During September of 2011 I did a series on New Mexico Chile. This post was part of that series; however, I have continued to update this post and the others by adding more links to recipes that use New Mexico chile.

 

More on New Mexico Chiles

Chile or Chili?

Red or Green? and Christmas – Red and Green

NM Red Chile and Red Chile Recipes

NM Green Chile and Green Chile Recipes

Green Chile Burn Video and recipe for a Quick and Easy Green Chile Stew

NM Green Chile Enchiladas

NM Red Chile Enchiladas

NM Green Chile Stew

Recipes that use Green Chile

Recipes that use Red Chile

Sources for New Mexico Chile Products

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92 Responses to “New Mexico Red Chile”

  1. jane October 9, 2014 at 10:24 pm #

    Hi! I made a red chili sauce (using another recipe, but one that was very similar to this one; it called for using the water that the chills were boiling in vs. chicken stock), and it came out very bitter (I used a 2oz bag of guajillo peppers, with one ancho added for kicks). Any idea what happened? I ended up adding a teaspoon of sugar, and half a can of tomato sauce just to make it edible.

    • mj October 10, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

      Hi Jane! Thanks for your question. I’m not sure how well I’ll be able to answer it, but here goes. I usually use water as well when I’m making a freezer batch and then stock when I’m making a batch for a specific “meat” purpose. So using the water that you boil the pods in, should not make it bitter. The guajillo chile is also a relatively mild, sweet chile so it probably wasn’t what caused the bitterness either, unless they were old, then that could have caused it. Also, seeds and veins can add a little bitterness, so once you remove and discard the stems, you need to remove as many of the seeds as possible. Removing the veins in dried chile is a tedious task so I never do it. However, I do remove most of the seeds. The same thing goes for the ancho chile. I personally have never used guajillo chile to make a sauce, but I found no reason why you couldn’t. I’m sorry your sauce ended up bitter. Adding the sugar (or honey) was a good idea. Tomato is acidic, so it doesn’t really counteract a bitter flavor. Maybe a little more salt and oregano or sweet onion. They won’t eliminate the bitter taste, but they would help to hide it. Hope this helps! Thanks again for your question.

  2. The Wimpy Vegetarian June 29, 2014 at 11:11 am #

    OK, I’m making this one this week! I’m really excited. I just need to go shopping for dried red chiles!!

    • mj June 29, 2014 at 11:59 am #

      Yay! So glad that you’re going to make this red chile! If you can’t find any red chiles in your area, you can always order online. Just check out my list of chile product suppliers on the chile vs. chili page.

  3. Jodee Weiland May 31, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

    Oh, wow…does that look good to me! I love it. Sounds like a really good red chile sauce…smoking hot is right! Thanks for sharing!

    • mj June 2, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

      Thanks so much Jodee! Definitely smoking hot! :)

  4. architecture-school-los March 3, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

    Thanks for finally writing about > New Mexico Red Chile | MJ’s
    Kitchen < Liked it!

  5. Elisabeth January 18, 2014 at 12:11 pm #

    I had always heard one must run the sauce through a Foley Food Mill to separate out the skin. But you don’t seem to do this. Or did I miss something?

    • mj January 18, 2014 at 10:35 pm #

      Elisabeth, thank you for leaving a comment. Some people do choose to strain the sauce but I don’t find a need to after double blending the sauce.

  6. Rawa Upma January 9, 2014 at 10:21 am #

    prepared this today…. my husband loved it veryyyyyy much… thanks for the authentic recipe

    • mj January 9, 2014 at 11:19 pm #

      Thanks so much for sharing this with me! I’m so glad your husband enjoyed it!

  7. Yar November 5, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

    I found a great way to freeze my red chile sauce. I use silicone muffin pans. I have two sizes, both with rectangular “wells.” One is 1/3 cup and one is 1/2 cup per block. I freeze the chile in these, then transfer the little blocks to a freezer bag which I mark with the date, the volume (cups) per block, and any special ingredient I included in the batch.

    • mj November 5, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

      Great idea Yar!

  8. New Mexico Red Chile | MJ’s Kitchen

  9. LaDonna October 5, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    MJ, you must be from NM! Maybe you can help me. I want to can my red chile. I do wet, not dry and am having no success in finding processing times etc for pressure canning it. Also checked the NMSU website. Any suggestions?

    • mj October 5, 2013 at 10:56 am #

      Hello LaDonna! Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I am from New Mexico. Have lived here for almost 40 years now and wouldn’t live anywhere else. :) I’ve canned a lot of things, but never chiles. From your comments, it sounds like you want to can fresh, roasted red chiles. I would assume that the process is exactly like canning fresh, roasted green chiles. I have found a couple of pretty detailed articles that show how to can green chiles, which should be the same process for fresh, roasted red. I read through the processes and they appear like they would work and produce a safe product. One of the articles even makes adjustments for altitude. Here are the links:
      Canning Green chile by Pepper Fool and How to Can Green Chile at eHow. I hope this helps! Thanks again for your comment and hope to see you again. Cheers, MJ

  10. Maybelle July 18, 2013 at 1:44 am #

    It’s amazing to pay a quick visit this web site and reading the views of all mates about this paragraph, while I am also eager of getting experience.

  11. Alison June 23, 2013 at 9:20 am #

    Hi! Found this recipe when searching for what to do with a bag full of dried red chiles I got from my sister in New Mexico. This will be my sauce for eggplant-stuffed chicken enchiladas tomorrow — I usually use corn tortillas for enchiladas, but sometimes I just want more veggies, so I scoop out some of the inside of an eggplant, use a mixture of chicken and the scooped-out eggplant, and then use the eggplant hollow as the “tortilla”. I also painted some pictures of my dried chiles, see here http://labontegami.com/2013/06/21/a-peck-of-painted-peppers/. More fanciful than realistic of course!

    • mj June 23, 2013 at 11:02 am #

      Thanks so much for dropping by Alison and for the trackback from your post! Your eggplant-stuffed chicken enchiladas sounds awesome! Once we start getting some decent looking eggplant, I will given this a try. I love your red chile etegami postcards!

  12. richard December 4, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    bought some red chili in a red onion sack have moths are the chili pods bad

    • mj December 5, 2012 at 6:50 am #

      Richard No – they are not bad. Just wash them before using. Snap the stems off and open up the pods. If you see black spots on the insides, just remove the spots and keep the rest. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

  13. The Wimpy Vegetarian October 16, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

    I love making my own sauces. I love hot sauces and this looks so good. Pinning this to make it!! And I’m adding it to ideas for holiday gifts from the kitchen this year :-)

  14. Javelin Warrior September 24, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    I’ve never had red chile sauce before, but I was just reading about a very similar sauce in the Muy Bueno Cookbook and I’m fascinated. The color is incredible and the texture is just so smooth and silky. Thanks so much for sharing, MJ, and I hope you’re having a great Monday!

  15. Amber @ The Cook's Sister August 14, 2012 at 11:57 am #

    Yum! I love red chile sauce! Looks fantastic!

  16. Angela Neal June 11, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

    I was raised in AZ and grew up eating red and green chilis from New Mexico, I currently live in Maine and there are none of my beloved chilis anywhere around here, any suggestions??

  17. Alea Milham May 4, 2012 at 12:25 am #

    I have never purchased a ristra – how fun! I love the idea of making my own chile sauce so I could tailor it to my tastes. I’m glad you included a list of recipes. I have been wanting to try a new enchilada recipe.

  18. April @ The 21st Century Housewife May 2, 2012 at 7:23 am #

    What a gorgeous colour your Red Chile sauce is! It sounds delicious too. It’s wonderful that it freezes, and it would be so much better for you than commercial sauces (not to mention it must taste so much better!).

  19. Katherine Martinelli February 25, 2012 at 10:07 am #

    This is so great! And so perfect for my pepper blog hop :-) Thanks so much for linking up! Pinned!

  20. France @ Beyond The Peel January 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

    We’ve always bought our chili sauce in the past. As I make my way through ridding ourselves of prepackaged products, this would be next on the list. I just love chili sauce. Do you think if you fermented it it would last longer in the fridge?

    I’m hosting Whole Food Wednesdays at beyondthepeel.net. I hope you’ll swing by and even share if you like. Have a great rest of your week.

    • mj January 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

      France – thanks for stopping by! I hope you do try this chile sauce. I don’t know about fermenting it, but it freezes quite well. Whenever I make a batch, I divide it up into little containers and freeze it. That way I can enjoy it for weeks to come!

  21. Jill@RealFoodForager.com January 24, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next week!

    Be sure to visit RealFoodForager.com on Sunday for Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!
    http://realfoodforager.com/fat-tuesday-january-24-2012

    Share your great fermented food recipes at my Probiotic Food Linky – open through Februray 6, 2012.
    http://realfoodforager.com/probiotic-food-challenge-linky/

  22. Paul Garcia September 28, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    We have chili for almost every meal, depends on the menu, but I prefer red most of the time!!!!

  23. Cindi September 28, 2011 at 9:34 am #

    Where to begin.I love it so much I cheat before dinner and heat up a tortilla just to sop it up..slurp up the sauce like its soup. .. Last night for dinner I made Carne Adovada. This morning I had it again with eggs. Tonight with the leftover sauce. I am making red chile enchiladas. Yesterday and today, my fav color is red.

  24. sandy September 23, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    I love green chile I miss it since I moved away.Would love to have some.

  25. Liz September 23, 2011 at 6:14 am #

    I am a facebook fan :)

  26. Liz September 23, 2011 at 6:13 am #

    What a neat giveaway! I’d make your red sauce, of course!!!

  27. EUGENIA September 22, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

    My husband and I just returned last week from our first trip to New Mexico. We made a figure eight starting in Albuquerque, Alamogordo (White Sands), Ruidoso (Billy the Kid By-way), Sandia Tram, Turquoise Trail, Santa Fe, Taos, Enchanted Circle, Los Alamos, Jemez Springs, Bernalillo & back to Albuquerque. We saw a lot of wonderful sights in your beautiful state and ate lots & lots of wonderful foods (many new to us) with green, red & Christmas. Once we were back in Georgia, we started a quest to find the best source of your wonderful peppers so that I could start to experiment with duplicating those dishes at home. We thought we loved the food at our local Mexican restaurant, until we ate our way thru New Mexico. Our list of things to try at home (with peppers) include breakfast burritos, enchilidas, and those wonderful tacos.

    • mj September 23, 2011 at 9:53 am #

      What a great loop! You definitely got to see the diversity of our landscape and why we’re called the Land of Enchantment. Sounds like you also got addicted to our wonderful chile and cuisine! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  28. kelly September 20, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    I’m a hot pepper junkie! I would make these chilies into this salsa and can them up (I’m new to canning so can’t wait to try this out! ) http://www.theyummylife.com/recipes/180/Roasted+Salsa+for+Canning

  29. Biren @ Roti n Rice September 20, 2011 at 9:05 am #

    Your red chili sauce looks so good! It must be spicy! I did not realized people do use chilis from the ristras for cooking. I thought they were decorative. I bought a string when I visited NM and kept it for several years until they fell off.

  30. Ani G W September 20, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    I follow you on twitter @aniheartsjapan.

  31. Ani G W September 20, 2011 at 8:50 am #

    I liked you on FB.

  32. Ani G W September 20, 2011 at 8:49 am #

    I would use it in enchiladas and so much more!! YUM!

  33. Peggy September 20, 2011 at 8:44 am #

    Oh look at those peppers! This sauce sounds amazing and the possibilities are endless of it’s use!

  34. Alta September 20, 2011 at 7:49 am #

    I bought my first ristra while we were in NM last week. I hung it in my kitchen – so pretty! I thought I’d only use it for decoration, but I suppose I could use it to make this too. I tend to buy bags of various dried chiles – from pasillo to guajillo, ancho, chipotle, and anything else I can get my hands on. Love to make chile sauces like this as a base for a good pot of Texas Red in the winter. Yum.

  35. mj September 19, 2011 at 9:58 am #

    Looks like we have some chile lovers out there! :) Thanks for your comments and entries!

  36. Anne@frommysweetheart September 18, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

    I love learning about these chiles. And you’ve got some GREAT recipes on how to use them. The colors are so vibrant! Just beautiful!

  37. Kirk September 18, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    I love Huevos Rancheros with rice and refried beans with red sauce in large quantity. Makes my mouth water just to think about it.

    I just made red sauce last week. Yummy!

  38. Ann September 17, 2011 at 8:38 am #

    I follow you on twitter! I don’t know why I haven’t been! Thanks!

  39. Ann September 17, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    I’ve “liked” your facebook page!

  40. Ann September 17, 2011 at 8:35 am #

    MJ, this is GREAT! The pictures of the chilies are incredible and – to be honest – I’ve never worked with the chillies! …but I know exactly what I’d do!

    I’d take some of them and grind up for chili flakes
    the rest I’d make your chili sauce.

  41. Monica @ TheYummyLife September 16, 2011 at 6:00 am #

    Your red chile is the kind of authentic New Mexican recipe that I love. Too often I see red chile sauces diluted with tomato sauce and other unnecessary ingredients. The chiles take center stage in this recipe and nothing gets in the way of their great flavor. Love it!

  42. susitravl September 15, 2011 at 11:42 pm #

    Oh – my husband LOVES green chile stew with pork. I would make him a huge pot with these chiles.
    susitravl(at)gmail(dot)com

  43. Leann Lindeman September 15, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

    Love the red or green article… We had some green chiles roasted right before leaving!! Wish we had one of those big roasters!!

  44. Leann Lindeman September 15, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

    Following on Twitter… hootowl29

  45. Leann Lindeman September 15, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

    Arrrg!!!!! Love this giveaway!!! My husband and I love NM. We went this summer to Santa Fe for the Indian Market. We had a great time… That was our 4th trip to the area. A few things we would make…. chicken enchiladas with green chile or maybe carne adovado. Thanks for the chance to win..

  46. Jo@jocooks September 15, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

    Hi MJ, Beautiful job on the chili sauce, bet they’d go great with some nachos. :)

  47. Suzi September 15, 2011 at 7:29 am #

    I have a whole bag of dried red chili’s and now I know what I can do with them. This sauce looks great and I love spicey, great with a bean burrito. Thanks!
    Suzi

  48. sally September 15, 2011 at 7:18 am #

    I love enchiladas, so it would be great to make some homemade red chile enchilada sauce.

  49. Manu September 15, 2011 at 6:16 am #

    I LOVE spicy!!! hehehe Thank you so much for sharing the recipe of such a great sauce MJ!!! The next time I am in the US, I will have to visit NM… I am sure I will love all that food!!!

  50. RChristopher September 14, 2011 at 8:37 pm #

    Oooo spicy. Just the way I like it! I do believe your red chili sauce will wake up my saturday morning chilaquiles. Yum!

  51. sally September 14, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

    I would make this chile sauce with the red chile and then make enchiladas with the green chile.

  52. Anna Garden September 14, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    Hey, MJ. Great series on chile. Two suggestions.

    Tell folks to WASH THEIR HANDS!! after handling red chile pods.

    Do you want to jump into the fray about why we spell it “chile” in NM instead of “chili”?

    • mj September 14, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

      Good point to make Anna! Although I have found that even washing the hands doesn’t help the burn if I’ve been handling hot chile! It’s already soaked in, but I still wash. It I have gloves, I’ll wear them. I mentioned the “e” thing, but didn’t explain why. I’ll add that to my next post on New Mexico Green Chile. Thanks for the idea!

  53. Tina (PinayInTexas) September 14, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    I love chili sauce but the redness of your sauce tells me it’s too much for me…but my husband is gonna love this!

    • mj September 15, 2011 at 1:42 am #

      Don’t let the rich color scare you off. This particular batch was actually “mild” because that’s the only chile that was left at the market. Even with heat – the flavor is worth it! :)

  54. Giulietta | Alterkitchen September 14, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    OMG! This soup is soooo red, and it must be sooooo hot! Great!

    • mj September 14, 2011 at 9:51 am #

      Giulia – Actually it is a sauce and yes – it can be quite HOT!!!! I do know some people that would eat this as a soup – my BIL for one – but I add it to dishes or pour over burritos, tacos, and such. Just eating a bowl of red chile sauce is a little over the top for me. :)

      • Giulietta | Alterkitchen September 14, 2011 at 10:08 am #

        I wrote soup for sauce… today I’m out of my mind (and I have to work tonight O___O)!
        A chile soup would be too much for -almost- everyone :P

        • mj September 14, 2011 at 10:46 am #

          Sounds like you need a strong cup of espresso!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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