Making Red Chile Sauce with Dried Chile Pods

I found a copy of The Santa Fe School of Cooking Cookbook in good condition in a thrift shop.   Score.

Again, it is another northern New Mexican sign that we must return!  (I can rationalize almost anything as a sign we need a trip to “The Land of Enchantment.”)


Cinco de Mayo had me thinking of all things Southwest and Mexican so the next couple of posts will reflect my current state of mind.

I still have bags and bags of dried chiles (both hot and mild) from our last trip.   It is  a good thing that these dried chiles seem to keep forever.

2014-05-04 13.51.08


To start my Southwest recipe extravaganza, I needed to make Red Chile Sauce.

Red Chile Sauce with Dried Chile Pods
Ever so slightly adapted from The Santa Fe School of Cooking Cookbook (1995)

12 New Mexican red chile pods
2-3 c. boiling water
1/4 c. canola oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 t. dried Mexican oregano
1/2 t. ground cumin

Rinse pods well and remove stems and seeds.   Place in a large bowl and cover with boiling water.   Weight chiles down with a saucer or smaller bowl to keep them submerged. Let stand for 30 minutes

While chiles are soaking, heat oil in a medium skillet and saute onions for 3 minutes or until soft.   Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Onions and garlic.

Drain soaked chiles but reserve liquid.   Place half of the chiles in a blender or food processor.  Add about 1 1/2 cups of the soaking liquid and about half of the onions/garlic mixture.   Puree.   Repeat process (adding more soaking liquid if mixture seems too thick).

Pour puree into medium saucepan and bring to a boil.   Add spices.   Reduce heat to low and simmer the mixture for about 20 minutes.   Makes about three cups.  (You may strain this if needed.)

Stay tuned for my next post where I attempt Smoky Black Bean Enchiladas with Christmas Sauce.    If you want to play along, make a batch of this red sauce and a batch of green sauce to be ready.

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