Dried Chile Cream Sauce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • yield: 1 cup , enough for


    main-course servings

Appears in


By James Peterson

Published 1991

  • About

This is the simplest of all chile sauces, and it allows the flavor of the chiles to come through unaltered by other ingredients such as onions or garlic (or in the case of mole, chocolate). Not only is this sauce delicious, but because each chile surrenders its own identity to the sauce, it provides excellent training for cooks wanting to familiarize themselves with the nuances of individual dried chiles. This sauce requires little reduction because the chiles act as thickeners.


large dried chiles, such as ancho, guajillo, mulato, pasilla, pasilla de Oaxaca, or chihuacle negro 2 2
heavy cream 1 cup 250 ml
salt to taste to taste
cayenne pepper (optional) to taste to taste


  1. Cut the stems off the chiles. Cut the chiles in half lengthwise, and shake out their seeds. Toss the chiles in a hot skillet for a minute or two, until they smell fragrant. Put them in a bowl and add enough boiling water to barely cover. Soak the chiles for about 30 minutes, until they feel soft and leathery. Drain; discard the soaking liquid. Chop the chiles very fine, until they have a paste-like consistency. Combine them with the cream in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring the cream to a slow simmer over medium heat while whisking; cook for about a minute, until the sauce thickens. Take the pan off the stove and let it sit for 5 minutes to give the flavor of the chiles time to infuse the cream. Season with salt and, if you want more heat, cayenne.