This Red Chile Pumpkin Sauce sauce combines the spicy and unique flavor of dried New Mexico red chiles with the flavor and a little bit of the texture of pumpkin purée. Not only is this sauce just downright delicious, but it is a great solution to toning down the heat in a red chile sauce. You get all of the flavor of a traditional New Mexico red chile sauce, but not the mouth-burning heat that can come with it, especially if you are using HOT or Extra HOT chiles.
I’ve had several inquiries as to how to make a red chile sauce “less hot” and my typical answer is to add honey, 1 tsp. at a time. But the problem with adding honey is, if you add too much, then you end up with a sweet sauce that can ruin a good batch of enchiladas. This chile-pumpkin sauce is definitely the solution.
The pumpkin adds a even more earthy flavor (in a good way) to a red chile sauce, but the flavor of red chile is still dominant which is the reverse of my Spicy Pumpkin and Red Chile soup from last year. I think the biggest change is in the texture. You can sort of see it in the pictures below. It’s not much, but a red chile aficionado would definitely notice it. This sauce can be used in the same way that you use a traditional red chile sauce – as an enchilada sauce, over eggs, to smother burritos and for huevos rancheros. With the pumpkin, it’s even more nutritious, has a milder heat level, and the flavor – red chile sauce delicious!
Red Chile Pumpkin Sauce Recipe
Makes 6 cups of sauce
Prep and cook time: 1 hour
Recipe Author: MJ of MJ’s Kitchen
8 to 15 pods of dried red chile, washed, stems and seeds removed (amount depends on how you want the heat level of the chile) I use 8 to 10 pods of HOT.
4 heaping cups of pumpkin pieces, seeded, peeled, cut into large chunks (about a 2 pound pumpkin)
3 cloves garlic, smashed
½ small onion (about 3 ounces), coarsely chopped
4 cups water (you might need more once you start blending)
½ tsp. cumin seed
¼ heaping tsp. coriander seeds
½ tsp. dried oregano (Mexican oregano if you have it)
1 tsp. salt (or to taste)
Juice from 1 lime
- Rinse the chile pods. Break into pieces discarding stems and seeds. (Use gloves!)
- In a large pot, add all of the ingredients, except the lime. Bring the water to a boil and reduce heat for a simmer. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is fully cooked. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Add some of the ingredients with some of the water from the pot to a blender. Blend.*
- Continue to add the ingredients, a little at a time to the blender, with just enough water to be able to create a purée.
- Continue to blend the sauce until you have a smooth texture. To achieve a good sauce consistency, some additional water may be needed.
- Once fully blended, add the lime juice and stir to incorporate well.
- Reheat for about 10 minutes before using.
* Blending to a purée may take about three batches. A double blend makes an even smoother consistency. After the first blend, let sit for 10 minutes then blend again.
The Number of Chile Pods – This is one’s personal preference. As I mentioned in the recipe, I use 8 – 10 hot chile pods for about 2 pounds of pumpkin. The sauce is spicy hot, but not too hot. We can now “smother” our burritos without suffering from the heat. If you want a mild sauce made with hot chile, then decrease the number of chile pods to 5 to 6. If you aren’t sure as to how much chile you need, then remove all but two of the chile pods after cooking. Purée the pumpkin, the 2 chile pods, and other ingredients. Taste. If you want it hotter, blend in more chile, one pod at a time until you get the heat level you want.
Amount of Pumpkin – I used half of a 4.5 pound pumpkin to make this sauce. Once peeled, seeded, and chopped, I had a heaping 4 cups of pumpkin. More pumpkin can always be added to make a milder and large batch of sauce. Just adjust the seasoning accordingly.
Storing The Sauce – These 6 cups yielded enough sauce for four single servings of red chile enchiladas and enough sauce to freeze for two more meals. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. After that, divide into containers and freeze.
Uses - Use this Pumpkin Red Chile Sauce on Red Chile Enchiladas, Shiitake and Black Beans Enchiladas, Huevos Rancheros or a Southwestern Pileup. Use as a topping on a bowl of pinto beans, black beans, or bolita beans along with chopped onion, green olives and feta cheese, or any toppings of your choice.