Red Chili Sauce

This sauce is a classic must-have recipe from Mark Miller, founder of the Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Goes great with just about anything and freezes well.


1/2 lb. (about 25) whole dried New Mexico chilis.
2 quarts water
1 lb. roma tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
5 large garlic cloves – roasted, peeled and fine chopped
1 tsp. roasted cumin seed
1-1/2 tsp. ground Mexican oregano
1 tsp. salt
2 tbs. peanut oil


Removed the stems and seeds from the dried chilis. Dry roast in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, but do not allow to blacken or they will taste bitter. Turn once while roasting.

Add the chilis to water in a covered pan and simmer very low for 20 minutes. This will rehydrate the chilis.
Allow to cool.

Blacken the tomatoes in a skillet. Saute the onions in olive oil until carmelized.

Put the chilis in a blender. Add the tomatoes, onion, garlic, cumin, oregano and salt. Add one cup of the water if not bitter. If the water is bitter, add one cup of fresh water or chicken stock.

Puree to a fine paste – adding more water if necessary.

Add the peanut oil to the skillet and heat until almost smoking. Refry the sauce at a sizzle for 3-5 minutes. Stir continuously so it does not scorch. Do not allow the sauce to get too thick.

Remove from heat and serve. This recipe is excellent with blue corn chips.

Yield: 4 cups.


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