Red chile sauces

1 oz New Mexican or Guajillo chile pods
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 Tsp ground cumin
1/2 Tsp Mexican oregano
1 clove garlic
Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles. Warm the chiles in a heavy skillet over medium heat. DO NOT ALLOW CHILES TO CHAR! Burned chiles can become bitter tasting.

Heat a bowl, containing 1 1/2 cups water in the microwave to boiling. Fully submerge the chiles in the hot water until well saturated, about 1 hour. With a hand blender, puree the chile/water mixture to a smooth consistency. Strain the thin paste through a fine-mesh strainer. While using a wooden spoon, mash, scrape and coax the maximum quantity of the sauce from the skins into a receiving bowl. Adjust water level to about 1 1/2 cups.

Smash the garlic into a paste. Place the red chile sauce into a saucepan, along with cumin, Mexican Oregano, garlic and a fair amount of salt. Bring the pan to a boil, then simmer slowly for 10 minutes. Do not reduce this sauce too severely.

Chile Colorado
Add 1-2 oz of finely diced shallots to the simmering chile sauce to produce Chile Colorado.

For a sauce based on chile powder and enriched by cream, see the recipe below.

Red chile cream

1 Tbl ground red chile powder
1/4 Tsp ground cumin
1/4 Tsp garlic powder
1/8 Tsp ground coriander
salt to taste
1/2 cup water
3 Tbl tomato purée
4 Tbl créme fraîche or heavy cream
The choice of the red chile variety is up to the chef. Dry, de-seeded and ground New Mexican or Guajillo peppers will produce a mild sauce. Chile de arbol or Japones seco pods will yield a fiery sauce.

In a small sauce pan - over low heat, combine the chile powder, cumin, coriander, garlic powder and salt. Increase the heat to medium. Pour in the water. Stir until the sauce achieves the consistency of a thin tomato sauce. Spoon in the créme fraîche. Reduce until the sauce barely coats the back of a spoon.

The sauce is an elegant compliment for grilled pork chops, roasted tenderloin and broiled chicken, served with flat-breads on the side.