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The Market has been virtually exploding with peppers in recent weeks. That always brings up the question of which are hot, and which are not — as well as just how hot are they, and what do you do with them? Not everyone craves the heat, but those who do find it seductive and addictive. Try this all-purpose chile sauce for the perfect addition to your summer grilling. It makes a great marinade, glaze, dip, or spread!

Chile Sauce

Everyday Food, June 2011


  • 5 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 4 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded, and quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 4 tablespoons dark-brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsulfured molasses
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper    


In a small saucepan over medium-high, cover ancho chiles with water and simmer until chiles are soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain and transfer to a blender with jalapenos, garlic, sugar, molasses, ketchup, vinegar, and orange juice. Blend until mixture is smooth and season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 3 cups.

Note: An ancho pepper is a dried poblano. You can buy anchos at specialty stores, or you can dry poblanos to make your own anchos. Here is a link with information on how to do it.

For a guide to all thing peppers at the Market, click here. Ask the vendors about their peppers. They know so much and are happy to tell you all about them. For more cuisine with a kick, try some of the spicy ideas below. Chiles go so well with all meats, pastas, and vegetables. There is sure to be something here to suit everyone’s taste!

Pili Pili Sauce (habanero) – leave the seeds in for blistering heat!

Serrano Vinaigrette (serrano) – a great way to spice up a salad or salsa!

Green Chile Mayo (poblano) – makes a burger spectacular!

Chile Verde (anaheim & jalapeno) – maybe the best thing I’ve ever eaten!

Thai Beef with Chiles and Basil (thai pepper) – any meat will work!

Turkey-Poblano Tostadas (poblano) – great for leftover turkey!

Pork Tenderloin with Jalapeno Paste (jalapeno) – try it on chicken breast!

Spaghetti with Garlic and Chiles (your choice) – vegetarian with attitude!