On Sunday, we decided to try our hand at making New Mexican red chile sauce (chile colorado). I grew up in New Mexico, and pretty much everything is doused in either red or green chiles. My mom always made her own red chile sauce, which she froze in freezer bags, then thawed out through the month to make red enchiladas, menudo, asado, and what we called Indian tacos. This red chile sauce is much different from what you find in Texas – it’s deeper and so much tastier. In fact, New Mexican food itself is very different from Tex-Mex or Mexican food. It emphasizes the red and green chile, plus foods inspired by Native American cuisines. (And killer sopaipillas that are nothing like their Tex-Mex counterparts. Okay, I’m a little biased, but still.)
Justin and I LOVE red chile sauce, but we’ve never made it on our own. I called my mom and got instructions, then filmed the process so that we’d always remember how to make it!
A few notes:
- We started with dried New Mexican red chiles. We found them at Central Market, but you can probably find them at Latin markets. These red chiles are just New Mexican green chiles (sometimes referred to as Hatch chiles, Anaheims, or Big Jims) that have been allowed to ripen to a dark red on the vine, then dried.
- The basic ingredients for the sauce are just dried red chiles, fresh garlic cloves, and water.
- Once you have the sauce made, you can freeze it in portions, then thaw it out when you need it. This sauce is the base for tamales, menudo, posole, enchiladas, asado… it’s not salted at this point, so be sure to add plenty of salt when you’re making the final dish.
- I’m sure there are tons of ways to make this sauce, and lots of herbs and spices you can add, but this is how my mama made it, and so it’s the RIGHT way. ;)
- You’ll see that you need to add plenty of water to the chiles before blending them, to make a smooth puree. Add more water if you like it thinner, less if you like it thick.
- I’ll be posting a video soon of us making a dish using this sauce.
- Apparently, I start every sentence with “Okay! Sooooo……” (Just try counting how many times I say, “Soooo….”) :)
Here we go!