Red Chili Sauce–A New Mexico Specialty


Red Chili Sauce

After twenty years of living in northern New Mexico, I learned the difference between red chili powders. The very best, in my opinion, comes from the heirloom chilis grown in and around Chimayo, New Mexico. Chimayo boasts tradition and history throughout its

Photo by Andrea Stawitcke, who has emailed her agreement to license it under cc sharalike/attribution license.

scenic location in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, about 24 miles north of Santa Fe. Besides the chili, often found sold at roadside stands in Espanola, NM, Chimayo is noted for families with a history of master weaving and wood carving, and the  historic El Santuario de Chimayo, also known as “Lourdes of America.”

To my palate, Chimayo red chili powder has a smokier aroma and a richer taste than other types of red chili powders. It can be ordered online. Food & Wine magazine featured this culinary specialty “Why This New Mexico Chile Has an International Cult Following.”

In Chapter Six of  my book, ”The Gathering Basket,”  Geof tells Annamarie that she makes the best red chili sauce.  I loaned her my recipe…

chili powderHangover?  Stuffy nose?  This will tame the devil.  For breakfast, serve on top of hash browns and smother in cheese.  Make up some bacon, mix in with fresh fried tortilla chips and chopped tomatoes and green onions, pour on some sauce for a breakfast to remember.

Red Chile Sauce (This is hot, especially if you use the real stuff — Chimayo Red Chili Powder)

2 cups of water
(Sometimes I substitute with chicken broth)
4 TBS. red chili powder
1 TSP of powdered cumin
1 TSP of salt
2 TSP dried oregano
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
Optional: 5 TBS of flour for thickening. It’s not essential, but you can also make a roux with the chili powder and flour for a deeper flavor. Just add some olive oil to lend in the roux making. When I take this extra step, I prefer to make a medium dark roux. 

Mix in blender until all ingredients are smooth.  Simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes.Hint: Make ahead, it just gets better.Serve on top of your favorite relleno, enchilada, nacho, or potato recipe.  We love it on fish, beef and chicken too.  Use it as a base of kick-a chili con carne.  Dip fresh fried tortillas in the sauce.

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