Mexican Red Chili Gravy (aka sauce)

Picture of Mexican Red Chili Gravy (aka sauce)
I first discovered the "real" red chili sauce on a trip to New Mexico. A relative sent me home with a bag of roasted and dried red chili peppers - (ancho I believe). A year later I found myself without a can of enchilada sauce but all the rest of the fixings. Half an hour on Google and a phone call to a native Texan later, I was on the right track. This second batch comes from a bag of chilis sent east from Colorado. They're available from your average grocery that has a half decent Mexican food section.

The ingredients and steps are a combination of my Texas connection and this recipe from Simply Recipes.

Step 1: Gather ingredients and prepare peppers

Picture of Gather ingredients and prepare peppers
You will need:

8-10 red chili peppers
three cloves garlic
salt and black pepper
ground cumin
ground clove
concentrated bullion such as Better than Bullion vegetable base or chicken stock.

I've seen recommendations for using a roux to thicken the gravy - I tried this a while back and found it to be unnecessary. The sauce is plenty thick if you do it right and the leftovers don't seem to over thicken due to the flour.

cast iron pan or similar
sieve or screen
rubber spatula
2 qt sauce pan

Tear the ends off the peppers and remove the seeds and the inner parts. Use gloves if you are going to be rubbing your eyes, picking your nose, or touching any other tender bits. (Though it does not happen to me, some people's hands are irritated by the capsican in the chilis).
ShirleyB1 made it!4 months ago
Oh yes i forgot; thank you for sharing!
ShirleyB14 months ago
Oh yes i forgot; thank you for sharing!
ShirleyB1 made it!4 months ago
I wanted this recipe for the use in fried potatoes. Best potatoes ever. The sauce is easy to make, the directions are even easier. I strained it 2x and added more reserve water while boiling. My children thought it to be absolutely the best enchiladas ever (Fried potatoes tomorrow )

delish ... we are Street Smart Chef s on facebook and this is delish... we are using it!

nortega61 year ago

There is a mexican food contest going on right now. This would be a great submission. I thought of making my own, but I looked around to see if there was already a good red chile/ enchilada sauce instructable here and this is great. I grew up with mom making her enchiladas with a sauce just like this. This is extremely authentic:] great job!

gstopngo4 years ago
Nice ible. This is pretty much the way my mom made it. She was Tex-Mex from the pan handle, so she knew her chili AND chile : )
I love Chile =}
Yummy =]
silverHalo5 years ago
Here in New Mexico we differentiate between Chili and Chile. 
"Chili" is beans and meat....like Texas 3-Alarm Chili and
"Chile" is the actual pepper.... Hatch Green Chile sauce...

New comers always are in for a surprise when they order Chile Cheese fries and get a basket of fries with Green Chile smothered fries... it always makes me chuckle at their expressions....
chs95 years ago
I just moved to NM and am pumped to give this a try - now I just need a good green chile recipe. However, I'm curious - how long does it keep in the fridge? If not long, can you freeze it?
desertdog chs95 years ago
You should freeze it if you are not going to use it in a couple of days.  The best green chile recipe is the one you like best.  Go to a few restaurants and when you find one you really like, ask the cook or owner how they make it.  Most will tell you proudly.  If they spell chile with an I on the end, they don.t know what they are doing anyway.
Desertphile6 years ago
"A relative sent me home with a bag of roasted and dried red chili peppers - (ancho I believe)." I suspect you mean "dried," not "roasted and dried." We New Mexicans don't roast red peppers before drying them--- we just wipe them off and put them on the roof for a few weeks.
Tatisimo6 years ago
Here in Mexico, we don't waste the solid stuff left on the strainer. It can be used to add a bit of spicy flavor to other recipes - soups, tamales - or as a base for a milder sauce. We also strain it about 2 or 3 times, or until the solid stuff is really dry. "Gotta get every last drop of flavor, you'll go to hell for wasting food," my grandpa used to say.
ToolNut (author)  Tatisimo6 years ago
Good point. I am usually good about waste not, want not, but I think my focus on the end product took over. I'll add that comment!
looks delicious! very well written instructable, I think I'll try this next time I make fajita's!
awoodcarver6 years ago
Very clear and well written instructions ....Been using this or a variant of it for years for enchiladas thin it a bit add some fired cubed beef for Chili Colorado
osgeld6 years ago
very interesting, and tasty looking ill have to give it a whirl next time i make enchiladas