Kitchen Garden

Red Chile Sauce

Part of my barter agreement at two Community Supported Agriculture farms was participation in fall shares. I pick up the final share this afternoon and sweet mother of Mary that’s a lot of vegetables.

Now that I’ve learned to make corn tortillas at home we need something to put in them. Something different — black beans, kale and Guajillo chile sauce. It didn’t use up many of the vegetables in the ice box, but that’s where I am after the frustrating results of the statewide election contests became known.

I watched more than a dozen YouTube videos on red pepper sauce, notably two by Rick Bayless, before arriving at this recipe.

Guajillo Red Pepper Sauce


Four ounces dried Guajillo chile peppers
Tablespoon Mexican oregano
Two head of garlic, peeled and crushed
Black pepper


Stem and seed the chile pods, tearing them open. Toast them flesh side down in a frying pan with vegetable oil until the flesh turns a lighter color. It doesn’t take long. When the chilies are toasted, place them in a bowl and submerge them in hot tap water. Re-hydrate them for about 20 minutes.

Transfer the chilies to a blender and add about a cup of the soaking liquid. Add the Mexican oregano, crushed garlic and black pepper and blend together until the mixture is incorporated and as smooth as can be. Strain the contents of the blender into the frying pan used for toasting and simmer on low heat until the sauce is reduced to a thick consistency between tomato sauce and tomato paste.

Add salt to taste and a pinch of sugar. Add a half cup of water and stir until the mixture is incorporated. Simmer over medium heat to enable the flavors to meld and the sauce is complete. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Guajillo chile sauce can be used on almost anything. I made a taco filling with green kale and black beans cooked in this sauce. I also served the finished kale, black bean and chile sauce as a side dish at the end of season potluck at the orchard. It was well received and our tractor driver asked me for the recipe.

I put a batch of the sauce in a squeeze bottle. While there’s no way to pour the sauce on the election, it will make many dishes in our kitchen taste better.