Real Flavors Take Real Work

Preparing a traditional red sauce for Tamales is a labor intensive process that starts with removing the stems and seeds (that you don’t need) from dried Guajillo Chiles. Eventually all this prep work ends with a thick red chile paste that is the foundation for the red Tamale sauce. There are other ways to make this sauce that are less laborious. Canned commercial sauces. Powdered sauce bases. However, these shortcuts just don’t deliver the big, rich, chile flavors that make a good Tamal such a satisfying meal. Chef Chuy’s hands are blur of motion when he is prepping a basket of Guajillo Chiles. He has been doing this for years and is a model of speed and efficiency. As fast as he is … opening a can would be much faster. But for the labor saved, there is a price to pay in flavor lost. A compromise that the Casteñeda family will not make.

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