Irma's Red Enchilada Sauce (Salsa De Chile Rojo)

"I got this one from my friend, Rick Ramirez's Mom, Irma when I lived in Yuma in the early 1960's. I usually make a double batch and freeze the excess, 2 cups at a time in Sandwich size ziplock freezer bags. Cooking time includes steeping time for the chiles."
photo by Chef Stevo photo by Chef Stevo
photo by Chef Stevo
Ready In:
1hr 35mins
4 1/2 cups




  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Place chiles on a wire cooling rack on a baking sheet.
  • Roast 4-5 minutes, NO MORE THEY"LL TURN BITTER!
  • Let them cool to touch.
  • Cut tops off, split in two with a sharp knife.
  • Remove seeds and veins, the soft part that holds the seeds.
  • Cover with boiling water, let steep an hour.
  • Remove each half to a platter and scrape the pulp with the edge of a spoon. After handling chiles wash your hands with warm water and baking soda to nutralize the chile juice. It's an acid. You can safely wash your eyes too.
  • Combine all ingredients including the water in a sauce pan.
  • Bring to a simmer, simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Stirring occasionly.

Questions & Replies

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  1. I did not rate this as I am sure the fault lies with me. I mail ordered my peppers and my Anchos were beautiful and rubbery. My pasillas however were crisp and hard and crumbley and here in lies the problem. I roasted them 4 min but when I took them out, I felt the pasillas were overdone. I covered them in boiling water for an hour but when I went to scrape them, they fell apart so I got the bright idea to put them, skins and all in the blender. The resulting sauce was very bitter. I added more tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, sugar, couldn't fix it. I had to dump the whole thing. Did I mention I had made a double batch!!
  2. I was searching your recipes and came upon this one. It looked so good, that I went and got the peppers and gave it a go. With a perfect blend of peppers for this sauce, it was great on our enchiladas! This will be used often, as we love Mexican, and I can think of lots of things to use this on!
  3. Wow Pierre, Irma really knew how to make a sauce. I had all these dried peppers leftover from when I made tomales and now I know what to do with them. This is an excellent sauce.


I'm a 73 year old male. I live in the desert in Southeast Wasington. Yes, Virginia, Southeast Washington is Desert, Cacti, Sage Brush, Wile E. Coyote, the whole nine yards.The Columbia River flows through the middle of it and is its saving grace. Some of the jobs. I've held are Well Driller, Aircraft Machanic, Handyman, Electrician,Merchant Seaman, And most recently Long haul Driver.My hobbies are cooking, Kite making, and Good movies (plus anything that strikes my fancy) My first cookbook was Fanny Farmer Original Boston Cooking School Cookbook and its still the first of all of my cookbooks that I go to. It has the best Biscuit recipe going and the only change I make to its Cornbread recipe is to add a half teaspoon of Cayenne to bring out the flavor of the cornmeal. I injured my knee and have had the last year off and what I've done is go quietly mad. I'm now semi retired and try to figure out plan 'E'. A, B, C, and D phased out so it's time to move on, where, the hell ever, that is.
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