Fast Red Chile Sauce


I’m tempted to call this “red Chile paste,” but it’s a little too liquid for that. I recently slathered it all over a pork shoulder that I slow-cooked on the grill, but you can also use it to marinate/baste other grilled or roasted meats, make it the base of a braising liquid, or simply stir it into some rice and beans.

Makes: 2 cups
Time: 15 minutes


  • 1 head garlic, separated into cloves

  • 3 dried ancho or other mild chiles

  • 1 dried chipotle

  • 1 chile de arbol or other hot red chile, optional

  • A large pinch of salt

  • 1 tablespoon cumin

  • 1 tablespoon oregano

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


1. Put the (unpeeled) garlic in a heavy skillet over low heat and cook, turning occasionally, until it browns on a couple of sides, about 10 minutes. Remove and squeeze the garlic from its skins directly into a blender.

2. Meanwhile, soak the chiles in boiling water until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove (carefully; they’re hot) and peel the flesh away from the seeds and stems. Put the flesh in the blender with all the remaining ingredients.

3. Add (fresh) boiling water to about the 2 cup mark and blend until smooth. Taste and add more salt (or anything else you like) to taste. This keeps well in the refrigerator.