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Best Canned Red Enchilada Sauce?

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Any recs for a good, canned red enchilada sauce? There are so many brands, I am not sure which one to buy.

If you have a good, not too labor-intensive recipe to share, that would be appreciated, too. TIA.

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  1. I like either Hatch or Las Palmas...and because I'm a wuss...I go for mild.

    1. I will offer you this very easy recipe from the TV Food Network (Emeril Lagasse)...I've made chicken enchiladas a bunch of times and this sauce is excellent.

      3 Tablespoons olive oil
      1 Tablespoon flour
      1/4 cup New Mexico chili powder (I use whatever I have and usually not 1/4 cup, more like half of that)
      16 ounces chicken stock (you can use a good quality canned broth if necessary)
      10 ounces tomato puree
      1 teaspoon oregano
      1 teaspoon ground cumin

      In a saucepan, heat the oil. Add flour and cook, whisking for 1 minute. Add the chili powder and cook 30 seconds. Stir in stock, tomato puree, oregano and cumin and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes, lid partially off, until flavors are well-blended, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Val

        This is very similar to how I make it, and it is indeed easy. You are just making a roux, then a gravy. I like Gebhardt's chili powder -- it is not very hot, so I use probably close to the 1/4 cup given in this recipe. If your chili powder does not contain salt, you might like to add a bit (1/2 teaspoon). Also, I'd say start with half the 10 oz tomato sauce and increase it to taste - the final sauce should not taste of tomato, but its presence adds a balancing sweetness to the bite of the chili.

        1. re: Val

          This recipe has become our favorite too. Great on shredded beef, chicken or cheese enchiladas. I usually double the recipe, it freezes beautifully.

          1. re: Val

            I made this over the weekend, with ground beef enchiladas. it was delicious! I added sugar and salt to it. Thanks for posting Val.

            1. re: Val

              This is a good approach for a "Tex Mex" style enchilada sauce. I make my sauce this way sometimes. If you'd like a hotter, more New Mexican style sauce, you could make some red chile sauce.

              To make the red chile sauce, toast and grind ~1 tbsp. of cumin and 1/2 tbsp. of coriander. Add in 1 tbsp. salt, 2 tbsp. oregano, and 1 tbsp. red chile powder. Meanwhile, toast ~24 New Mexico red chile pods, or the equivalent (I most recently used 16 NM chiles, and filled out the rest with Arbol chiles - a bit hotter). Roast them at 250F for about 10 minutes or so. Remove the stems and seeds (hot enough without the seeds). That's pretty much it for preparation.

              Add 2 cups of chicken broth into a food processor, and add 1/2 can of chipotles in adobo sauce, ~8 oz. of diced green chile, the seasoning mix, ~1/4-1/3 cup lemon juice, and pulse a few times. Oh yes, don't forget to add at least a head of smashed garlic cloves. Now, start adding in the fruit from the seeded, toasted chiles. Process the hell out of it.

              Transfer to a good sauce pan, add ~2 cups water and 3 bay leaves, and simmer 30-45 minutes. Depending on which chiles you use, this sauce can be hot or mild. Also, if you want to cut down on the heat, use fewer chipotles (I like them in there because they give the sauce some smokiness). Mine are always hot as hell, and most folks can't take the heat.

              This works great with lots of stuff - not just enchiladas. The main difference between this and what was posted above is that it doesn't use a roux or tomatoes, and it relies more heavily on which chiles you use. Also, you need chile pods, which may not be easy to come across, depending on your geographical location. The sauce posted above is good too, so it just depends on what you want.

            2. I use Buena Comida or Las Palmas. I do add some extra cayenne to it to step it up a little.

              1. La Victoria brand is good.

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