Chile Caribe (The Concentrate): The Recipe

Chile Caribe Concentrate
Chile Caribe Concentrate

This post is dedicated to Karla and Pow, who asked me the question: how do you make red chile sauce? The post is part one of two.

This recipe is to make the concentrate which Red Chile Sauce is made from. This is one of MANY ways to make Red Chile Sauce.

Even thou I love every red chile sauce I made or ate elsewhere, I noticed that there were versions I liked more than others.

And up till now I had only been using ground red chile powder, and had used frozen red chile once. I could never quite get the desired texture, color, or flavor I was looking for. After talking to some locals, they said I needed to try using the dried chile pods. This drove me to finally make the Chile Caribe Concentrate; I felt this was the key I was looking for.

I now realize that the dried red chile powder makes a passable product, but the concentrate, made from scratch was definitely the way to go.

First I went on a search for the most vibrant red new Mexican chile pods I could find. I am also making a mental note that I now feel confident purchasing a large bag of dried chiles at the farmers market during the chile season now that I know what to do with them AND I would love to get my hands on red chile from Chimayó.

Red Chiles - A Comparison
New Mexican Red Chiles & Chiles de Nuevo Mexico

A note about dried chiles: I'm including the picture above because I want to show you the difference in the chiles. The chiles on the left are dried New Mexican chile pods. They are a vibrant red. The ones on the right are called Chiles de Nuevo Mexico (New Mexican Chiles) and they are from Mexico. They are a deep red, rich color. They are not the same thing! Look for vibrant colored chiles that are grown in New Mexico. Also there is a Caribe chile, do not confuse it, it is definitely a different variety.

Also, while in Chimayo and talking to a gentlemen there, he highly discouraged mixing different types of chiles and/or powders as done in Tex-Mex cooking. The goal is to have one pure chile flavor, and I agree that this is the way to get a true New Mexican flavor.


Chile Caribe Concentrate

8 ounces whole red chile pods
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon salt

Remove stems and seeds. Then rinse chiles very well. Place chiles in pot with garlic. Cover with water. Cover pot and bring to full boil. Turn off heat , keep covered, let chiles soak for 20 to 30 minutes.

Transfer chiles and garlic to blender. Add 1 teaspoon salt, add 2 cups soaking water and 2 cups fresh water.

Purée very well, then strain thru fine mesh strainer.

After puréeing it will yield approximately 6 to 7 cups of concentrate.

After straining it will yield 31/2 to 5 cups of concentrate.

I freeze this in 1 or 2 cup increments. It freezes well!

Note: In the Tasting New Mexico Cookbook, they recommend using half the about of water when blending, you could definately do this and it will produce a strong concentrate. Each cookbook has a slightly different way of doing it, I am only sharing my way of making it, and honestly, you can't mess it up. If your concentrated comes out a little different, that's okay. When you use it to make the sauce it will come out good either way!

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