Red chile sauce is a versatile and delicious easy to make addition to any holiday meal. Pour it over roasted or smoked turkey, mashed potatoes or add it to the gravy. It always goes well on top of homemade (or store-bought) tamales and some people even add it to their Bloody Mary mix. No matter how it’s used, it always adds a little fuego to a home cooked holiday meal, and in New Mexico is a staple item never to be forgotten.
This simple recipe can be changed to create a thicker, chunkier paste by using less water and blending for a shorter time. There are many variations out there, including using chopped onion and garlic, but keeping it simple tends to make the flavors pop just a little more and allows it to appeal to people with more sensitive pallets. More spice and seasonings can always be added later.
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Follow these steps for a simple red chile sauce
✔ Step One
Find the best red chile possible. Always use New Mexico grown red chile pods. If the chile is from Colorado it will ruin the flavor and must be thrown out. Start with a bag of very hot Hatch red chile pods from a local vendor, or if necessary, purchase a bag from a nearby grocery store. In this recipe a 10-ounce bag of Bueno red chile pods was used.
✔ Step Two
Remove the stems and seeds from the pods and place the pods in a large pot. Be careful not to touch any part of the body or skin after handling the red chiles. If by accident the chile comes in contact with the eyes, be sure to rinse with cold water immediately. Wearing disposable food prep gloves is recommended. It is okay to leave some seeds in as the seeds will make the sauce spicier, but too many seeds can cause it to be too hot and will require additional blending.
✔ Step Three
Add enough water to submerge the chile pods and place the pot on the stove. Put the burner on high and bring the pot to a boil, stirring the chile occasionally with a large wooden or metal spoon.
✔ Step Four
Turn off the burner and carefully remove the pot from the stove and place on a towel atop the counter. Using tongs, remove the chiles from the pot and place into a blender. Do not use a strainer as the water in the pot will need to be added to the blender. Add about two cups of the chile water to the blender, or just enough to cover the bottom layer of chiles.
✔ Step Five
Blend the chiles, or use the chop setting on the blender, until the chiles become a thick paste. Some people like the thicker paste for other recipes such as red chile salsa, soup, stew or beans. To thin the paste out, add enough water to create the desired consistency. A thicker, chunkier sauce may include seeds and bits of unblended chile pods that is not recommended over turkey or mashed potatoes.
✔ Step Six
After getting the red chile sauce to the right consistency, add spices. In a small bowl, combine about one tablespoon each of salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Pour the spices into the blender and continue blending. Use a spoon to scoop out some of the sauce and blow on it before tasting. Add more spices if necessary. If the chile is not hot enough or the spices do not bring out additional flavors, more spices, chile pods and/or chile seeds can be added before blending again. If the sauce is too thick or too hot, more water can be added and blended in. Too much water will make the sauce runny though.
✔ Step Seven
Pour the sauce into a container for storage and/or serving. Red chile sauce can be frozen but it is recommended to eat right away. When kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator, red chile sauce will still be good to eat for at least one week and up to six months. With 10 ounces of red chile pods, about half the sauce will be used for a table of twelve. The remainder is typically used on leftover turkey and tamales. In addition to going well with turkey and mashed potatoes, the red chile sauce can be used on eggs, burritos, stuffed sopapillas, tortilla chips, soups, chicken, pork, beef – well, just about everything. Enjoy!