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May 11, 2007 02:24 PM

Stretching Enchilada Sauce

I don't know how to make enchilada sauce and so I used canned. I need two cans - but only have one (old el paso - hot). Is there an easy way to strech this w/o compromising the flavor? On hand - I have tomato paste, canned tomatos, fresh tomatos, tomato soup, chicken and beef stock.


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  1. You've actually got the base ingredients for an enchilada sauce right there. The canned tomatoes, chicken stock and perhaps tomato paste would be an excellent start to a sauce. Add some garlic, cumin, chili poweder, cayenne, salt, and you're there. So, if you start with the can of enchilada sauce you've got and add the canned tomatoes and stock, then just correct the seasoning to your taste, you should be good to go.

    1. Actually do you have any dried chilies around? Or chili powder?

      1. Or, better yet, a combination of fresh and dried chilis.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

          Once again, you're exactly on the money Sam F!

        2. Do you want to a basic recipe for Enchilada made from scratch? Its not that hard and about 1,000 times better than some other approaches you can follow.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Eat_Nopal

            I'd be interested in your scratch-enchilada sauce recipe, if you'd share it. I use a recipe from Cook's Illustrated, and it has never failed me, but I like to try others as well.

            The Cook's recipe is to saute onions in a bit of oil, add minced garlic, lots of chili powder (2 T?), cumin, salt, pinch sugar, pinch cayenne, pinch oregano, toast, add sliced chix breast to coat, then add tomato sauce and stock. Then strain out the chix and onions as the filling base, and use the smooth liquid remaining for the sauce.

            Wouldn't mind a recipe that doesn't involve straining, for obvious reasons, especially a meatless version.

            1. re: happybellynh

              Please forgive me if I sound like an arse, but I think that Cook's Illustrated recipe sounds like crapola... its just another recipe to imitate the terrible versions taken by canned enchilada sauce makers.

              I have several versions I can share... none involve chili powder or cayenne... and rarely add cumin as the focus is typically on the flavor of the chiles themselves.

              Have you ever had really good enchilidas at a Mex-Mex place? Those that DID NOT come out of the oven kind of dry on the top, and mushy at the bottom with a bunch of melted orange cheese blanketing them? If you have and you can tell me the characteristics of the sauce, I can give a recipe that will replicate them.

              If not I can choose one, and see if you like it.

              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                Yep- I was wary about the chili powder version too- but (and I should have mentioned) the point of this particular recipe was to have excellent flavor, under an hour... this does the trick when I need a quick fix- and I usually have all of this on hand (big plus).

                Grew up on SoCal food, though we had to make do with NH ingredients (mum's a transplant) and I'm shopping for a very smooth sauce, light on the tomato, heavy on the chile. But I'd take whatever you send- I'll try anything good.

                1. re: happybellynh

                  happybellynh, I am hope that I'm not butting in, the op asked how to stretch the sauce with pantry items. And of course I would love to have your recipe if you would care to share... Here is mine that I make for pork tamales, you can leave the ground chili powder out, we happen to get really fresh dried chilie powder at the Mexican market here, and you can make it as thick or thin as you like using the broth from the pork.
                  You can use whatever combo of dried chiies , this is mine.
                  Dried Chilies – wash them well, remove all the seeds and membranes
                  3 Ancho
                  4 Pasillas
                  4 Guajillo
                  4 T ground California Chilie

                  3-4 cups of the broth from the pork to soak the dried chilies. Soak for about 45 minute or until really nice and soft/pliable.You don't want any pieces left in the sauce.
                  This stuff can be messy, be careful to let it cool first.Then using a ladle, put into a blender,(cover it with a towel) add the now pliable chilies and 2 cups of broth, whirl, add more broth adding 2 Tables of ground chilie powder to the chilies. 2 cups of tomato puree, blend. Keep adding chilie powder until you like the consistency. Should be on the thick side, a thick darkish sauce.( This is like the mother sauce to add to the pork broth. Run the chilie sauce through a sieve,then add the chipotle pepper,blend, then 2 small cans of Salsa Casera and blend again.
                  Set aside to cool it will naturally thicken as it cools.