Magazine article Sunset

A Ristra for All Reasons

Magazine article Sunset

A Ristra for All Reasons

Article excerpt

The basic function of a dark red New Mexico chili ristra is to store chilies, not to be admired. I break off chilies to cut into strips and toast in oil to add to salads and to garnish mashed potatoes and vegetables.

When the ristra gets too rattylooking, I break off the remaining chilies and make a big batch of this sauce to freeze. Use it in any recipe that calls for canned chili sauce, or add it as part of the liquid when making chili with beans or meats.

Bueno Foods in Albuquerque sells ristras for $26; (800) 888-7336.

CHILI SAUCE. Wipe off dried New Mexico chilies. Lay in single layer in a rimmed pan. Toast in a 350 deg oven just until chilies begin to get fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Let chilies cool, then discard stems and seeds. Put chilies in a bowl and pour 1 quart boiling water over each 1/2 pound chilies (about 36). Let stand until chilies are soft, at least 10 minutes. Whirl chilies and soaking water in a blender until smoothly pureed. …

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