Red Chile Sauce

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Red Chile Sauce

Two kinds of chilies were used in my version of the Red Chile Sauce; the Ancho chili and the California chili.  Both are dried chilies from their original fresh peppers.  The Ancho chili is a dried poblano and the California chili is a dried Anaheim chili.

The poblano is a mild chili pepper originating in the state of Puebla, Mexico. The ripened red poblano is significantly hotter and more flavorful than the less ripe, green poblano. While poblano chilies tend to have a mild flavor, occasionally and unpredictably, they can have significant heat.  An immature poblano is dark purplish green in color, but the mature fruits eventually turn a red so dark as to be nearly black.

When dried, the poblano becomes a broad, flat, heart-shaped pod called an Ancho chili; from this form, it is often ground into a powder used as flavoring in various dishes.  I like to use this chili as it has a touch of heat however does not overpower the other ingredients.  The smoky flavor imparted by the drying process adds yet another element of flavor.

An Anaheim pepper is a mild variety of chili pepper. Anaheim peppers originated from New Mexico therefore they are also known as New Mexico peppers.  They were named Anaheim chilies as they were grown in Anaheim California.  They originated in New Mexico where they are referred to as “chiles” because they are in the old stomping grounds. Varieties of the pepper grown in New Mexico tend to be hotter than those grown in California which can be caused by heat and soil variances.  So keep in mind if you select a New Mexico chili vs. a California chili even though they look the same, you can expect more heat on the New Mexico chili.  These chilies are used in many Mexican and New Mexican dishes.

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