I’ve been getting ready for a much-needed vacation, cleaning out both the refrigerator and the garden. Our tomatoes have about run their course, but the jalapeno and New Mexico chile peppers are thriving. In fact, they’re doing so well that we can’t keep up; by the time we get around to eating them, they’re already turning red. Today in my garden clean-up, I picked all of the New Mexico peppers that had reached full-size–red, green, and a muddy brown color in between.
There were a total of 12 of them, and at first I was going to roast and freeze them, but when it came time to tuck them into freezer bags, I just couldn’t resist the temptation to go ahead and make up a batch of chile sauce to go with the Clean-Out-The-Fridge Fajitas I’m planning for dinner tonight. (Zucchini, yellow squash, cabbage, bell pepper, mushrooms, eggplant, and onions sauteed and wrapped in flour tortillas with leftover rice.) The multi-colored peppers made an interestingly colored sauce that’s not as spicy as a green chile sauce (the peppers sweeten as they ripen) and lighter and fresher-tasting than sauces made with dried chiles. I added half of a jalapeno to give it a little more heat, but you can leave it out or add more depending on your spice tolerance. Whether you spice it up or keep it cool, I think you’ll love this smoky, zesty sauce that contains no tomatoes, sweeteners, or thickeners.
Fresh Chile Sauce
12 New Mexico (Hatch) chili peppers (may substitute Anaheim or poblano), 3-6 inches in length
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded and finely diced (add more or less to taste)
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth or “no-chicken” broth
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon lime juice
Wash the chile peppers. Wearing plastic gloves, cut out the stem and cut a slit down the length. Use a spoon (a grapefruit spoon works best) to scrape out the seeds and membranes. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and set on top rack of oven. Broil, turning every minute or so, until peppers are blackened and blistered on all sides. Remove from baking sheet and place in a paper bag. Fold top down and allow peppers to steam until cool enough to handle. (Alternately, wrap in a damp kitchen towel to steam.) When peppers are cool, remove the skins and discard. Chop the peppers fine and measure. You should have about a cup but a little more is fine.
Cook the onion in a non-stick skillet until it begins to brown. Add the garlic and chopped peppers (including jalapeno) and cook for another minute. Add all remaining ingredients except salt and lime juice. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Place half of the pepper mixture into a blender, and pulse to blend slightly. Pour it back into the pan and simmer for 5 more minutes. Add the lime juice and salt to taste.
Serve over grilled tofu or tempeh or as a sauce for burritos, tacos, fajitas, or enchiladas.
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Nutrition (per serving): 49 calories, 2 calories from fat, <1g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 216.8mg sodium, 344.4mg potassium, 11.5g carbohydrates, 1.8g fiber, 5.5g sugar, 2.4g protein, 0.6 points.
Nutrition analysis is approximate and will vary depending on exact ingredients used. Though MyPoints are calculated using a formula similar to Weight Watchers Points TM, this site has no affiliation with Weight Watchers and does not guarantee the accuracy of this information.