MJ, the specialist of New Mexican cuisine and a living encyclopaedia of local chilli (called chile in New Mexico) lives far far away from me, but when I first visited her blog (MJ’s Kitchen) I felt instantly close to her since we both share a passion for chilli peppers in all their forms. Thanks to MJ’s generosity I was able to discover green chile powder. Today I wanted to share with you the famous chile sauce which I was able to make from genuine New Mexico products, once again thanks to the wonderful gift parcel sent by my dear friend. It was deliciously hot, beautiful, smelled fantastic and was completely different from all the hot sauces I know. As the first chilli sauce without any oil it’s also the lightest chilli sauce I have ever made. In short, I couldn’t have asked for more.
As a chilli sauce addict I have at least one kind of homemade chilli sauce in my kitchen every day, not to mention several store-bought jars, so obviously I am thrilled every time I learn a new recipe. As I have mentioned, this one is completely different from everything I know, but from my short experience I can say its versatility goes well beyond the New Mexico cuisine, I am not experienced in yet. Apart from Huevos Rancheros (see MJ’s recipe here), I have used it successfully simply with fried eggs, on an open sandwich, with grilled sausages instead of ketchup and even in Japanese rice dishes! I can very well imagine it as a dipping sauce for anything and as a sauce served with grilled or roast meats. It will certainly be another staple in my collection of hot sauces. Thank you once more, dear MJ, for your generosity and for this fantastic discovery!
Even though I was lucky to use genuine New Mexican chilli and oregano, I am certain that they can be replaced with dried chilli of any origin and “standard” oregano too (see the TIPS below). As a serial recipe modifier, I couldn’t stop myself from making some changes here too. First of all I made only a tiny batch because I was afraid of spoiling the precious products I have received (I obtained about 200 ml of sauce). Since MJ has posted two different versions of chile sauce (one made with whole dried pods and another made with powder), after tasting the extremely hot 100% pequin chile sauce I obtained, I have decided to add mild chile powder and thus combined both recipes. I have also added some agave syrup and vinegar used by MJ in powdered chile sauce… and am not sure how far I went away from the original New Mexico flavours, so make sure to check here MJ’s original chile sauce recipes.
Other homemade ideas chilli addicts might like:
TIPS: You can use only whole chilli pods here of any variety (see below). If you must do it with chilli powder only, follow MJ’s recipe here because the procedure will be different.
Mexican oregano is much more aromatic than European oregano, so I suggest doubling the amounts if you have the latter and adding the second half after boiling the sauce, when it is cooling down (otherwise the sauce might become too bitter).
You can use water or stock her, but bear in mind that if you only refrigerate the sauce, it will keep longer if prepared with water (if you freeze, it doesn’t make any difference).
Special equipment: food processor (with this amount a baby food processor works best); spice or coffee grinder
Preparation: about one hour (including the time to make the liquid cool down and a second mixing process)
Ingredients (yields about 200 ml):
13 dried short red chilli pods of your choice, especially in terms of heat level (if you have only very hot chilli pods, add some mild chilli pods or chilli powder; I have used 7 very hot pequin chile pods and added 3 tablespoons mild New Mexican chile powder)
300 ml water (or stock, see the TIPS)
3 tablespoons mild New Mexican chile powder
1/3 small onion (I have used shallot), roughly chopped
1/2 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1/5 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1/5 teaspoon Mexican oregano or 2x more “normal” oregano (if you use “standard” oregano, don’t add all of it at once; see the tips above)
salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon vinegar (or more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon agave syrup
Remove the green stalks from the chilli pods, shake them to remove the seeds (you might need to squeeze them a bit to do it).
Place the chilli pods, the onion, the cumin, the oregano and the water in a small pan.
Let it simmer for about 20 minutes until the pods are well softened.
Put aside and let it cool.
Mix the solid parts (chilli pods, onion, spices, garlic) in a food processor with half of the water from the boiling process. If using chilli powder, add (to start) 2 tablespoons of it.
Add the remaining water slowly to obtain the desired consistency.
Taste the chile sauce. Add salt, vinegar and agave syrup.
If it’s too hot, add more mild powder and mix. Taste once more, add more syrup, vinegar or salt if needed.
Let it stand about 10 minutes. Mix once more.
The sauce keeps for one week (at least) in the fridge.
If you used stock instead of water it might have a shorter life though.