New Mexico Gluten Free Red Chile Sauce

All the intense, earthy, smoky flavor of “regular” New Mexico red chile sauce awaits in my New Mexico Gluten Free Red Chile Sauce… In fact, I’d wager you cannot tell the difference side by side!

New Mexico Gluten-Free Red Chile Sauce in a red cast iron Dutch oven with a glass jar of NM red chile powder.
Next autumn, when the smoky tang of roasting chiles perfumes the air and freshly harvested New Mexico peppers pile in supermarkets and roadside stands like summer in a bag, pause a moment to say a silent thanks to Fabian Garcia. Without Garcia, a pioneering horticulturalist and the first director of the Agricultural Experiment Station at what’s now New Mexico State University, the official state question might not be “Red or green?” Nor would we have the appropriately seasonal response of “Christmas,” meaning both.

~~ David A. Fryxell, Desert Exposure.

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – About Gluten Free Red Chile Sauce

Why gluten-free now? A myriad of reasons, but most recently our son and son-in-love’s wedding. Among the many guests for a beautiful brunch wedding were some very important guests with dietary restrictions.

Always one to accommodate whenever possible, I set about making a New Mexico gluten-free red chile sauce. I was fairly confident going in to this challenge as I had recently received a package of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour, and the quality is top-notch.

My New Mexico Gluten-Free Red Chile Sauce is made the exact same way my “regular” red chile sauce is made. I simply substitute the gluten free flour for all-purpose flour in the roux. Proper red and green chile sauce always start with a good roux IMHO.  😆 This recipe is so simple, I won’t expand upon it here, rather scroll down to get the specifics.

Instead, I would like to make a point of saying this is delicious! Your taste buds will not know the difference. Pinky swear!

I made many batches of this gluten-free red chile sauce for the wedding brunch and for a family gathering the next day. I did the “special” items at the brunch with chalkboard instructions, but the red chile sauce and roasted potatoes were the first to disappear…

Lastly, we need “show and tell” time. I wanted this to be a stand-alone recipe, but unless you’ve spent time in “the Land of Enchantment,” you may not have a clue how to use it. We served the gluten-free red chile sauce in a pitcher beside roasting pans of potatoes.

Gluten free red chile sauce atop roasted potatoes with a poached egg in a bronze bowl.

We had lots of avocado, crumbled cotija, cilantro, crema, and green onions to garnish the roasted potatoes generously blanketed in red chile sauce. As you can see in the photos below, we also top them with a poached egg. YUM!

We make New Mexico style enchiladas in both stacked and casserole versions. Typically our stacked enchiladas are comprised of 3 tortillas layered with sauce, cheese, and green onion, popped in the oven until hot, and topped with a poached or basted egg.

Our casserole version (perfect for a crowd and leftovers) may or may not include meat or chicken. We made a pan of enchiladas for the day following the wedding, and found we love it with lean ground sirloin. You can use shredded chicken (pollo desmenuzado) or beef (carne deshebrada). We all love sharp cheddar, but feel free to use your favorite melting type cheese or even cotija (though it doesn’t really melt).

📋 Ingredients Notes

Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.

Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.

  • canola or vegetable oil
  • garlic
  • ground cumin
  • Mexican oregano
  • gluten-free flour 
  • broth/stock 
  • NM red chile powder (see Tips)

🔪 Instructions

  1. Sauté the aromatics – To a medium saucepan or dutch oven, add the oil, garlic, cumin, and Mexican oregano. Bring to medium-high heat. Be careful to stir so as to not burn the garlic.
  2. Make the roux – Add the gluten-free flour, and continue to stir frequently. Cook 3-4 minutes to brown the flour.
  3. Add the red chile powder and broth – Add red chile powder to 2 cups broth/stock. Whisk into the flour mixture. Continue to add broth/stock and stir until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat.
  4. Bring to desired consistency – Continue to add broth/stock and stir until you have a thick sauce/thin gravy consistency. You don’t want glop. It should pour from a ladle. Season with salt and pepper.
New Mexico Gluten-Free Red Chile Sauce on Roasted Potatoes

💭 Tips

Why add the salt at the end? I don’t know what kind of broth/stock you’re using, and how much salt it does or does not contain. “1 teaspoon” is more of a guide, rather than a specific amount. If you’re using unsalted broth/stock, you’ll want more salt than if you’re using salted. Additionally, vegetable broth may require a different amount than chicken. Always taste for seasoning at the end. I follow this advice in all of my recipes. I hope that clarifies things a bit!

I am not gluten sensitive. What changes should I make? None. Simply substitute regular flour in the roux. It may require more or less broth, but the amount has to be determined as it cooks.

Will generic “chili powder” work? NO!!! Generic chili powder is a spice blend that includes (among other things) ground cumin. It won’t provide the same flavor.

How do I store leftover red chile sauce? Leftover sauce stores well in the refrigerator for up to 5 day. We love it drizzled over eggs in a breakfast taco. Alternatively, you can store it in freezer bags several months in your freezer. If it lasts that long.

How do I use my red chile sauce? I have provided a “recipe” for New Mexico red chile enchiladas below. It’s really not a recipe. As I mention in the “Tamara Talks” section, red chile sauce is a great addition to a breakfast bowl with roasted potatoes, eggs, avocado, scallions, etc.

🍲 How to Make Casserole Style Red Chile Enchiladas

New Mexico Gluten-Free Red Chile Sauce Enchiladas in Pan

Enchiladas: No recipe required. I do NOT fry or soften my tortillas in oil before layering them in the casserole pan. I just go generous with the red chile sauce. I don’t always use “meat.” When I do, I like lean ground sirloin. I fry it up. It never has any fat, but if it does, it gets drained off.

I prefer scallions (green onions), but you can use red onion, white onion, sweet onion, etc. You need onion.  😆

Melty cheese is a requirement. Sorry. We don’t make them often, and when we do, they must be “right.” I once tried non-melty cotija, and it was just wrong. You can use a Mexican blend, asadero, jack, co-jack, cheddar, etc. Our usual choice is reduced fat sharp cheddar. It is still melty, has tons of flavor (so I can use a bit less), and tastes great with the red chile sauce.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread red chile sauce over the bottom of your casserole pan. Layer corn tortillas, more sauce, sprinkle ground meat, onion, and cheese. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Haha. Bake covered about 20-30 minutes. Time varies with the thickness of the casserole.

This small casserole has 1 dozen tortillas, about 3-4 cups of red chile sauce, 1 pound of lean ground sirloin, 3 scallions, and about 6 ounces of reduced fat cheddar. At Andersen casa, it serves 6-8. As I’ve mentioned (ad nauseam), we’re all about portion control!

🌶 How to Store Leftover Gluten Free Red Chile Sauce

Leftover New Mexico Gluten-Free Red Chile Sauce is a must! I store the sauce in the refrigerator in mason jars for 2 or 3 days because it never makes it longer. Re-heat it and pour on eggs or wrap up with beans, nopalitos, or meat in a tortilla.

It keeps well in the freezer in zip bags. You can keep it 2-3 months in the freezer, but it won’t last that long!

If you’re already a fan of NM red chile sauce, how do you use it? Let me know in the “comments” section below!

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes. Healthyish Latin cuisine.
New Mexico Gluten-Free Red Chile Sauce Enchiladas Serving
Yield: 5 cups

New Mexico Gluten-Free Red Chile Sauce Recipe

New Mexico Gluten-Free Red Chile Sauce Feature Image

All the intense, earthy, smoky flavor of "regular" New Mexico red chile sauce awaits in my New Mexico Gluten-Free Red Chile Sauce... In fact, I'd wager you cannot tell the difference side by side!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free flour, Bob's Red Mill
  • 4-5 cups broth/stock, (see notes)
  • 1/2 cup NM red chile powder, (see notes)
  • 1 teaspoon +/- fine sea salt (see Tips in post)
  • fresh ground pepper

Instructions

  1. To a medium saucepan or dutch oven, add the oil, garlic, cumin, and Mexican oregano. Bring to medium-high heat.
  2. Add the gluten-free flour, and continue to stir frequently. Cook 3-4 minutes to brown the flour.
  3. Add red chile powder to 2 cups broth/stock. Whisk into the flour mixture. Continue to add broth/stock and stir until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat.
  4. Add broth/stock and stir until you have a thick sauce/thin gravy consistency. You don't want glop. It should pour from a ladle. Season with salt and pepper.

Notes

Northern New Mexico is renowned for its red chile. Locals can often tell you whose plot of land a batch of red chile was grown on. Southern New Mexico red chile is good, but doesn't have the same intensity, smokiness, and earthiness as the child from the north. Whatever you do, DO NOT USE GENERIC "CHILI POWDER." That is a spice mix that has some red chile, cumin, garlic, cayenne, and salt. You will have flat, bland sauce!

Of course you can puree the dried chile pods, but it's a lot more work. You add the chile puree after browning the flour.

I really can't give calories with this because I don't know how the heck you'll use it! 245 calories is one-sixth of the recipe, so about 3/4 cup of the sauce.

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Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:

1 Servings

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 245

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12 Comments

  1. I’d love to know if the GF flour you’re using is the 1:1 variety which contains xanthan gum? Bob’s Red mill has so many varieties. Thank you.

  2. I would like to know why do you wait until the very end to add the sea salt and pepper. Wouldn’t it be better to add it in when you add the chile powder.

    1. You can certainly add it sooner. I don’t want to suggest adding salt without tasting because the broth/stock may have salt added. The “1 teaspoon” is in actuality a guide rather than a specific amount for this reason. If you taste as you season, you’re more likely to be happy with the results. I hope this helps… I’ll try to clarify in the recipe.

  3. The flavors were sharp and bright and delicious. I loved it over home fries, and can’t wait to try it on a smothered burrito. Thank you for posting!

  4. This is a family favorite we will make again. I really think the chile powder is key, as Tamara says. You can’t beat good New Mexico chile! Delicious!

    1. Thanks for taking time to write in Carol! I can not overstate the importance of fresh, quality ingredients – certainly good red chile sauce relies on good red chile powder!

    1. Thanks for your feedback Greg. I’ve made this same recipe for over twenty years (with the exception of the gluten-free flour), and if it was bland it was due to the chile powder. I don’t know what else to suggest, but I do appreciate your comment. Take care…

  5. Red chile sauce is one of the most unique and rich flavors. I just love it! When I make my red chile with pods, I don’t use any thickener, but I do when I make it with chile powder. You’ve created a great red chile here that people with gluten issues and everyone else for that matter would really love! It’s so lovely and such a deep red color.