Easy Authentic New Mexican No Cook Red Chile Sauce

Authentic New Mexican Chile Sauce is easy to make and has many uses.

New Mexican Tamale at Sunrise Springs Resort in Santa Fe, New Mexico

When dining in New Mexico, the same question is always asked. Would you like red chile sauce, green chile sauce, or Christmas, which means both. As a cook searching for chile sauce recipes you will be asked if you will be preparing the sauce from powder or the pods. This simple recipe only requires chile pods, water, salt, and a blender or food processor.

I turned to a native New Mexican chef for guidance. Chef Rocky Durham is the executive chef at Sunrise Springs Resort located on the outskirts of Santa Fe. His philosophy is not only authentic to New Mexico, it is authentic to the wellness vibe at Sunrise Springs Resort.
Red chile is made differently from family to family, and village to village. The two main differences begin with powder or pods. Do you use whole, dried chiles or dried chile powder (not to be confused with “chili powder” which is a spice blend that might contain some cayenne pepper.) The majority of chile makers would agree that starting with whole pods is the preferred method.

A new, easy technique that Chef Rocky embraces follows:

Chef Rocky Durham recommends pods. Using disposable kitchen gloves will help avoid irritation to the skin on hands or accidental irritation via touching the hands to the face and eyes.
A knife is handy to split the chile pods. Since the chiles are dry, they can also be broken up by hand. Another great reason to uses gloves. Break off the stems and remove the seeds.
This is not an exercise in reducing the heat of the chile sauce, but rather producing a beautiful, bright-red sauce. The seeds are pale yellow and dilute the red color within the flesh of the pepper. I saved the seeds in an air tight container for use on my pizzas.
I place the stemmed and seeded peppers in a container and cover with cold water then placed a plate or other weight on top to keep them submerged.
Refrigerate the chiles overnight. I used about twenty five pods or half the bag.
The following day puree the rehydrated chiles with enough of the soaking medium to produce a sauce consistency puree. Add salt and water slowly to taste and consistency. A blender would also work well if you do not have a food processor.
The purist will add only some good salt to the mixture. The more avant-garde cooks will add sautéed garlic, yellow onion, oregano and sometimes honey to the sauce. Everything is done “to taste” as every chile pepper is unique unto itself and resists being standardized.
By not cooking the mixture, the color is shockingly red and all those super-B-vitamins (cyanoids) are left intact.
Just warm the sauce “to order” when applicable but do not be afraid to use this for your enchiladas or other baked recipes. Refrigerate for up to one week. Follow Chef Rocky Durham on Instagram for more inspiration.
I decided to stick to the purist mindset for my first batch. It took much less salt than I expected. I could see adding other cooked veggies like onions and garlic to dial back the heat. Chicken stock could also add some depth. On my next batch, I think I will add some lime juice. Using vinegar instead of water would make it like Tabasco. Fresh is always best and you can definitely taste the difference with this sauce.
Approximately twenty five pods with about a teaspoon of salt and nearly a cup of the reserved soaking water produced one pint of red chile sauce. My meal plans this week for this batch include using it on grilled grouper one night and on beef enchiladas this weekend. I’m also planning on serving it on omelets for Sunday brunch. Red chile sauce is delicious on eggs.  It would also be great tossed on cooked chicken wings with a blend of sauce and melted butter for Buffalo wings. I’m pretty sure it would also make an amazing addition to a bloody Mary.
I picked up the local red chile pods en route to Ojo Caliente for a day of soaking in the mineral springs. It is less than an hour drive from their sister property at Sunrise Springs. Hotel staff can arrange day passes if you are staying at Sunrise Springs Resort. Chef Rocky Durham has worked at both properties. Lightweight and easy to pack, chile pods make an excellent souvenir for “foodie friends.”

Fearrington House Country Inn Chocolate Soufflé with Hot Chocolate Sauce

A decadent chocolate dessert by James Beard nominated chef, Colin Bedford of Fearrington House Country Inn, Pittsboro, NC

Fearrington Inn's signature dessert.
Fearrington Inn’s signature dessert.

Chocolate Soufflé with Hot Chocolate Sauce and Whipped Cream

Recipe courtesy of Fearrington House Inn Executive Chef, Colin Bedford, a Grand Chef in the Relais & Chateaux family of premier hotels.

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • pinch of salt (1/8 teaspoon)
  • 8 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 12 egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 recipe of Chocolate Soufflé sauce
  • 1/2 pint heavy cream, whipped and sweetened

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Melt butter, add flour, and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Heat milk and add it all at once, whisking rapidly. Add sugar, vanilla, and salt.

Melt chocolate over the lowest setting possible, cool slightly, and blend with the milk mixture.

Beat egg whites until they are foamy. Add cream of tartar and continue beating until they hold stiff peaks. Fold the whites into the chocolate mixture.

Butter six 8-ounce ramekins and fill each 2/3 full with the souffle mixture. Bake at 400 degrees  for 8-10 minutes. Dust the tops of the soufflé with confectioners’ sugar. Serve immediately with a small pinch of the chocolate soufflé sauce and whipped cream.

If the base of the soufflé should curdle after blending it with the milk, beat in warm half-and-half by the tablespoon until the mixture becomes smooth.

Makes 6 portions

Hot Chocolate Sauce

  • 2oz 100% Chocolate (@4 tablespoons)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2.5 oz sugar (5 tablespoons)

Bring the cream to a simmer, add the rest of the ingredients using a hand blender to help incorporate fully. Reserve in a container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Serve hot and in a small pitcher on the side of the soufflé.

The restaurant actually presents the soufflé on a plate, uses a spoon to cut a round opening into the center, and then pours the hot chocolate over the top. Whipped cream topping after the sauce, table side, impressive presentation.

Colin Bedford, The executive Chef for Fearrington House Country Inn. He is a James Beard nominated chef.
Colin Bedford,  Executive Chef for Fearrington House Country Inn. He is a James Beard nominated chef. He is also a genius for sending out a “pre dessert” before dessert.

I don’t want to give away all the surprises at this resort, but they did send out a special “pre dessert” when I ordered this. Sheer genius.

The sommelier, Maximilian Kast, expertly paired my dessert with a 20 year-old Ferreira tawny port.

It’s healthy to share! Cheers!!!

Primland Pan Seared Carolina Pink Snapper with Citrus and Sweet Pepper Relish

Primland Pan Seared Carolina Pink Snapper Citrus and Sweet Relish
Primland Pan Seared Carolina Pink Snapper
Citrus and Sweet Relish

A recipe from the kitchens of Primland Resort

Courtesy of Executive Chef Gunnar Thompson

Pan Seared Carolina Pink Snapper

Citrus and Sweet Relish

Serves 4



4filets of Snapper, skin on

Substitutions: Porgy, any type of Bass, Rockfish

1/4 cup canola oil or clarified butter

Citrus Pepper Relish:

2 Navel Oranges, peeled and chopped

Zest of 1 lemon and 1 lime

1/2 cup roasted red peppers, sliced

2 tbl olive oil

Pinch crushed red pepper

Prepare the relish first. Toss together all ingredients and salt to taste. Let marinate for one hour at room temperature.

Heat two large heavy skillets over medium high heat. Get a sturdy spatula ready. Add oil or clarified butter. Season Fish with salt and pepper. Place fish skin side up in a pan and cook very briefly. Flip and place skin side down. Press the fish firmly down with the spatula to keep the skin from curling. Cook until skin is golden and crisp and fish is cook through. Serve immediately. Top each portion with the citrus and pepper relish.

My notes from class, we chard the peppers over a flame on the gas stove to roast them and peeled the burnt skins off into a kitchen towel. He mentioned canned roasted peppers as a back up if grilling and charing the peppers at home is not an option. Also, be sure to section and remove any pith from the orange slices. That portion can be bitter and it is worth the effort it takes while sectioning the oranges.

Pan Seared Carolina Pink Snapper Citrus and Sweet Relish
Pan Seared Carolina Pink Snapper
Citrus and Sweet Relish
Learning to filet Red Snapper
Learning to filet Red Snapper
Chef Thompson shows us how to roast red peppers on the grill or the gas stove to add flavor
Chef Thompson shows us how to roast red peppers on the grill or the gas stove to add flavor

Primland Lobster with Lemon-Herb Butter

Lobster with Lemon-herbed butter
Lobster with Lemon-herbed butter

A recipe from the kitchens of Primland Resort

Meadows of Dan, Virginia

Courtesy of Executive Chef Gunnar Thompson

Boiled Lobster with Lemon-Herb Butter

Serves 4



2 each 1.5 lb lobsters

Compound Lemon-Herb Butter:

1/2 lb butter, softened

Zest of 1 lemon

3 tbl chopped, mixed herbs (parsley, chives, dill, tarragon, basil, or a selection of your favorites)

Stir together butter, lemon zest and herbs. Bring 2 gallons of water to boil, add 4 tbl salt.

Add lobsters and cook for 11-13 minutes. Remove lobsters to a platter and serve accompanied with personal dishes of soft lemon-herb butter. Crck the claws and tail before serving, but leave in the shell.

Class notes: Try to pick female lobsters as they are sweeter. They have much smaller, daintier legs than male lobsters. Do not over cook.

Lemon-Herbed Butter
Lemon-Herbed Butter
Chef Thompson teaches us how to pick female lobsters

Primland Roasted Atlantic Salmon with Spinach and Horseradish Crust

Chef Thompson tops salmon with sautéed spinach
Chef Thompson tops salmon with sautéed spinach

A recipe from the kitchens of Primland Resort

Meadows of Dan, Virginia

Courtesy of Executive Chef Gunnar Thompson

Roasted Atlantic Salmon with Spinach and Horseradish Crust

Serves 4

4 filets of Salmon, skinned and bones removed

Spinach and Horseradish Crust:

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tbl butter

1 shallot, minced

5oz. spinach

1 tbl prepared horseradish

1/4 cup cream

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking dish with oil. Season salmon filets with salt and pepper. Place in baking dish.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add butter and once it foams, add shallots and garlic. Cook until fragrant. Add Spinach and stir to wilt. Add cream and horseradish. Cook to glaze spinach. Remove from heat. Season with salt, pepper and Worcestershire to taste.

Top each salmon filet with the spinach. Place in oven and bake until fish is cooked and flakes easily with a fork or temperature of 135 degrees. Plate each portion and serve with a lemon wedge.

Salmon with horseradish crusted spinach and fingerling potatos
Salmon with horseradish crusted spinach and fingerling potatos

Wellness cooking class at Primland

Wellness cooking class with my hubby at Primland
Wellness cooking class with my hubby at Primland

I can’t think of a better place to usher in spring than Primland. I booked my stay in a Fairway Cottage adjacent to another friend, John King, who is also a dedicated fan of this resort. John suggested we should celebrate the spring solstice, his new year, in style. Our shared passion for organic gourmet cuisine and love of nature is enough to bring together the most unlikely of friends. Originally, from California, We met John at Primland on New Year’s Eve. He is eccentric hippie with long gray hair, beard, and a very casual sense of style. While John, who could be mistaken for an Indian, was out exploring some of the 12,000 acres Primland has to offer and barefoot running on the golf course (not kidding), Mike and I took in a different aspect of the lodge, the kitchen. Mike and I have spent many evenings in the upper kitchen, just off Elements dining room, where the Chef’s Table is located. It is always an amazing spectacle and treat to enjoy the nine courses of food and wine that the chefs and sommelier thoughtfully prepare.  I thought it would be great to try to reenergize our healthy eating and cooking habits on this “new year,” since according to my wise friend, it was such a powerful day to do so. Primland offers its cooking school on the third Saturday of every month.

Chef Gunnar Thompson has prepared many impressive multi-course meals for us in the three years he has lead the culinary team at Primland. I would describe his cooking style as classic French as France is where he trained, but with a nod to local recipes and ingredients. Interesting note about him personally, Gunnar is a vegetarian.  As a former vegan (for a short time), I can really appreciate his cooking style. His dishes tend to have a vibrancy and texture that only comes from someone who can make vegetables stand on their own. With that said, he is also working at a world-class hunting lodge, and he has the ability to beautifully prep and prepare wild game from the resort such as venison, pheasant, turkey, and chukkar. Wild game cooking classes have also been offered in the past, but today’s class is on seafood preparation. Seafood can be a fairly tricky thing for many cooks to prepare. Gunnar told us in class that cooking fish perfectly is actually harder than cooking a steak properly. I believe it! I grew up in Florida and I love seafood, but I still have much to learn. I was also excited to learn how he sources some of the very best seafood in the world for such a remote inland property.

The class started promptly at 10am. First up, our game plan. We review our menu and recipes. Gunnar took us thru the menu that we would prepare with him, and then have the pleasure of eating at the end of class around 1pm. We will be making: Shrimp and Grits with low country sauce, Pan Seared Carolina Pink Snapper with Citrus and Sweet Pepper Relish, Boiled Lobster with Lemon-Herb Butter and  Roasted Atlantic Salmon with Spinach and Horseradish Crust. Gunnar then shows us the proper technique and tricks to source, clean, and cook shrimp. Next on the list, we discuss and handle two types of fish, red snapper and wild caught salmon. Gunnar shows us how to clean the two fish, but also tells us how to clean different types of fish in general, side swimmers and flat fish. We each take turns handling the fish and making cuts.  His tip for buying fish is to always buy whole fish with the head still on. Ask to press the fish and look to see if the scales stay on and the flesh is firm to the touch and that the flesh springs back. That would be a keeper. He said not to worry about the smell. It should smell like, well, a fish!

Chef Thompson shows us how to filet a salmon
Chef Thompson shows us how to filet a salmon

While some of us are filleting and boning the fish, and others are cleaning shrimp, we move on the some of the toppings, sauces and side dishes. We used the shells from the shrimp to make a stock that we will also use for our shrimp and grits. We rough cut some vegetables and added a few tomatoes. According to Gunnar, “Seafood stock should always look like shrimp colored stock and the tomatoes help give it that color.” He says he almost never makes fish stock and prefers a shrimp stock for seafood dishes.  By using fresh, or at least whole frozen, shrimp at our homes with the shells still on, we will get a better tasting shrimp and be able to get a great stock from the shells. He cautioned us not to overcook the stock! Twenty to 25 minutes should extract the flavor, and any more than that would make it taste bitter. We will strain off the shells and veggies, that is why peeling the veggies in not important. His pro tip is to give the stock a whirl in a blender or food processor before straining to get even more flavor.  This stock could also be frozen and used later as needed. Nice coarse-ground grits like he uses take about forty minutes to cook, and this stock can be added at the end for flavor so it will not add any more time in the kitchen.

No gourmet seafood class would be complete without a tutorial on lobsters. While we continue to chop veggies and section the oranges for our salmon, Gunnar takes us through the ins and outs of sourcing, cooking, cleaning and even sexing a lobster. Yeah, that’s right. If you get to pick one from the tank, one wants to pick the female lobster as they are sweeter (of course!). He showed us how to tell by way of the more delicate legs. We learned how to steam, boil or grill lobsters.

We begin to prep the herbed butter for our lobsters. Gunnar shows us how to pick the herbs, zest the limes, and blend with the butter, giving us tips along the way. We will use this butter in a couple of the dishes. It was easy and made a huge difference in the taste of the dish. Ok, you might be thinking BUTTER? I thought you said this was wellness cooking? Well, his take on wellness is pretty simple. Take the very best locally sourced organic ingredients available, and combine them with proteins that are high in omega fatty acids like salmon and other sustainable fish. He also only uses grass-fed beef.  Use portion control, and a variety of cooking techniques to add flavor without adding tons of fat like making your own shrimp stock. What we ended up with was a very colorful, delicious lunch that was beautiful to look at, smelled incredible, and was delicious to taste. It left me thinking it was not diet food at all.  I really enjoyed spending time in the kitchen with my husband. We had a lot of laughs. We got inspired, learned some cool tips and short cuts, but most of all it didn’t feel like a damn diet. This is living!

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