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Red Chile Sauce


Use for pork

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Rate this recipe 4.4/5 (10 Votes)
Red Chile Sauce 1 Picture


  • 2 medium onions, peeled and cut through equator into 1/2-inch rings
  • 1 head (15-20 cloves) garlic, papery outer skins removed, individual cloves left unpeeled
  • 10 ounces dried ancho chiles
  • 5 ounces guajillo chiles
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 About 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar, plus more to taste
  • 1-1/2 About 1-1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt, plus more to taste



Step 1

Adjust the oven rack so that it is 6 inches below the broiling element and preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil and arrange the onion slices (keep them intact in their round slices) and garlic on the foil in a single layer. Broil until the garlic is charred and tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes. Remove the garlic, flip the onions with tongs and broil the onions on the second side until they are tender and lightly charred, 10 minutes more; set aside. When garlic has cooled, peel it.

Put on rubber gloves and break the stems off the tops of the chiles and shake out the seeds (reserve some to add to the sauce later, if you like heat). Using kitchen scissors cut down the length of each chile and open them up flat. Trim and discard any veins on the inside of the chiles.

Turn an exhaust fan on or open a window and place a heavy cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the chiles in batches and toast them, pressing down on them with a spatula, until they are lightly blistered and tan spots appear, about 30 seconds per side for the guajillo chiles, 40 seconds per side for the ancho chiles. Do not over-toast the chiles or the sauce will be bitter. Place the toasted chiles in a large bowl and add hot tap water to cover. Place a plate on top of the chiles to keep them submerged and let them soak until softened, 30 minutes.

Drain the chiles and blend them in batches in a blender or food processor with the onions, garlic, broth, oregano and cumin; be patient, you may need to stop several times and move the contents around a bit to make sure the sauce becomes evenly smooth. When the last batch of chiles is done, swish out the blender with 1/4 cup of water to get out any of the chile mixture sticking to the bottom and sides of the blender and add it to the sauce. Strain the sauce through a medium-mesh sieve, pressing on the solids, or use a food mill. Discard the solids (skins and seeds).

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Quickly pour the chile sauce into the pot. (Keep a splatter screen or lid handy; the sauce will sputter and spit as it is added to the pot.) Reduce heat to maintain a very gentle simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has lost its raw chile flavor, 30 minutes. Add the brown sugar and salt to taste. Cool completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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