Classic Red Chile Sauce

This is a famous sauce that can be used in any recipe needing a red sauce. It is also used with beans, enchiladas, tacos and tamales.


  • 10 dried red New Mexican chiles
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons bacon drippings or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
  • 3 cups water, divided


  1. Arrange chiles on a cookie sheet and place in a 200 degree F oven for 5 minutes or until the chiles smell like they are toasted. Be careful not to burn them. Remove the stems and seeds. Sauté onions and garlic in oil until soft.
  2. Place all ingredients in a blender with 1 cup of the water and puree to a smooth sauce. Stir in the remaining 2 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for an hour. The sauce should be smooth and thick.
  3. Melt 2 tablespoons of the shortening, stir in the flour, and cook the roux over medium heat until browned, stirring constantly. Add onions, garlic, 1 tablespoon oil, and sauté until the onion is soft. Stir in the chile powder and heat for 1 minute.
  4. Add the water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour.

Chile Sauce from Powder: Use 1/2 to 3/4 cup powdered red chile, 4 tablespoons shortening, 3 tablespoons flour, 1 medium onion (chopped), 2 cloves garlic, and 2 to 3 cups water.