Referred to affectionately as simply "red chile" by locals, this sauce is super-versatile. Try it to flavor turkey and mashed potatoes for a Southwestern-style Thanksgiving (see Associated Recipes). Dried New Mexico red chiles vary in heat, so be sure to check labels at the supermarket for a level of spicy that's right for you.

EatingWell Magazine, November 2020


Recipe Summary

35 mins
1 hr 15 mins

Nutrition Profile:



Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.

  • Remove stems and seed from chiles. Rinse the chiles and pat dry. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake the chiles until darkened in color, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and add warm water to cover by 1 inch. Place a plate on top to keep the chiles submerged. Let soak for 20 minutes.

  • Using tongs, transfer half the chiles and 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid to a blender. Process until smooth. Transfer the puree to a large pot. Process the remaining chiles with another 1/2 cup soaking liquid; transfer to the pot. Combine onion, garlic, lemon juice, oregano, salt, cocoa and another 1/2 cup soaking liquid in the blender; process until smooth. Add to the chile puree, along with bay leaf.

  • Bring the puree to a boil over medium-high heat. Adjust heat to maintain a lively simmer; cook, stirring occasionally, until it forms a thick sauce, 25 to 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.


Associated Recipes:

To make ahead: Refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 6 months.

Nutrition Facts

1 tablespoon
23 calories; sodium 51mg; carbohydrates 4g; protein 1g; vitamin a iu 4979IU.