The smokiness of dried chiles de árbol is balanced by the use of heavy cream, chicken stock, and honey in this easy-to-make and versatile sauce that goes well with seafood dishes like my Seafood Chile Relleno, a staple of the menu at my restaurant, Maya, located in New York City.
- 2 dried chiles de árbol, stemmed and seeded, membranes removed
- 1 Tablespoon canola oil
- 1/4 Cup chopped white Spanish onion
- 1 small clove garlic, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
- 1 Cup heavy cream
- 1 Cup chicken stock
- 1 Teaspoon honey
- 1/2 Teaspoon salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Break the chiles into small pieces and set aside.
In a medium-sized skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is softened, for 6 minutes (do not let brown). Add the chile pieces and sauté until lightly colored, about 45 seconds.
Stir in the tomato paste and cilantro, then the cream, stock, and honey. Gently boil until the sauce is reduced and thickened, occasionally scraping the bottom of the pan with a rubber spatula to prevent scorching, 15-20 minutes.
Pour the mixture into a blender, purée, and season with the salt and pepper. The sauce can be stored tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.