You may have an abuelita in Santa Fe who makes green chile sauce better than this, but to make your own requires a delicate balance of savory onion and garlic with the sweetness and pleasant burn of roasted green chiles. A tomato adds just the right touch of acidity. Many recipes add tart tomatillos, but that’s not New Mexican.
As a cameraman for an Albuquerque TV station, I traveled all around New Mexico, dined at a lot of cafés, and interviewed several cooks (and a few grandmothers) to develop this recipe.
If you’re ever in Santa Fe, I recommend the huevos rancheros with red and green chile at Cafe Pasqual’s (The Breakfast Center of the Universe). The roast beef burrito smothered with green chile at Tomasita’s looks like a hot mess, but it’s terrific.
By the way, I visited both locations in July 2022, and the food is as good as New Mexican food gets, but this green chile sauce is the best of the three.
Best Hatch Green Chile Sauce Recipe
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
- 1 heaping cup of roasted, chopped green chile (9 or 10 chiles)
- 1 tomato or 2 Campari tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 tablespoon instant tapioca (best) or regular flour
- ½ cup Swanson chicken stock
- ½ cup water
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano, dried or fresh chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Black pepper
1. Add olive oil to a sauce pan, turn heat to medium, and heat oil for 2 minutes.
2. Add onion, and saute until it turns golden (about 8 minutes). Don’t worry if it turns a little brown–it’s caramelized.
3. Stir in the garlic and turn the heat down to low. Add the tapioca or flour, and stir frequently for 4 minutes. Add the tomato, green chile, chicken stock and water, stir, and turn heat back to medium.
4. Finally, add salt, cumin, oregano and black pepper, then stir. Let it cook for about 5 minutes on medium. You’re done, that’s it. Green chile sauce stays fresh for 4 days in the fridge, or you can freeze it and reheat it with no loss of flavor.
Flour is the traditional thickener for green chile sauce, but tapioca makes it look shiny and bright, and doesn’t change the taste. The chile sauce will be gluten-free.
The Desert Hurricane
Just about every weekend we make a breakfast with bacon, fried eggs, and cheddar cheese on top of a pile of Ore-Ida hashbrowns. Then we pour hot green chile sauce over the top. It’s called a Desert Hurricane, and it’s stunning.
If you want to make a Green Chile Cheeseburger, use chopped green chiles (not this sauce), onion, mustard, tomato, and pickles. Ketchup is not recommended, as the tomato already provides that taste. The preferred cheeses are Cheddar, American, or Provolone.
Eater.com has a superb guide to green chiles, and if you’re ever in Santa Fe, a great list of restaurants to visit. Green chile also won a USA Today/10Best.com poll as the best regional cuisine, and the site also included great restaurants to try in New Mexico.