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Jul 12, 2007 05:32 PM

Help me rescue too spicy enchilada sauce!

My husband has invited his coworkers over for dinner tomorrow, and we're planning a Mexican inspired meal. I made the red enchilada sauce from Rick Bayless' Mexican Everyday w/ 3 Guajillo chilies. I "riffed" the recipe a bit on his suggestion and added a chipotle chili. The sauce tastes great, has lots of flavor, and is fine our spice index, but is too hot for company.

What to do? How would you rescue? Should I blend up some more tomatoes and add the the too spicy sauce for that? How would you avoid burning the tender pallet of spouse's colleagues?


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  1. I made a similar mistake recently. Adding sour cream, yogurt or cream will help mild it down.

    1. I use the Guajillo when making my red sauce for tamales, and it is not without blame in this matter. That chilie can add a considerable amount of heat as well, and yes depending on the size, three of them might be a bit much for "company". Then adding the chipotle, well yup you're headed for a nice heat. Please before you add tomato sauce try water, and or chicken broth (watch for salt) Gradually add a pureed roasted tomato one at a time. You don't want to lose the chili flavor and then overpower with tomato. I've done this very exact same thing, its hard to recover at this point if its too hot., but thankfully I was able to pull it off, they loved hot food. Or you could serve the sauce as is and add cool baby lettuces and thinly sliced cabbage to the plate, some avocado with a crema and lime dressing. this way they could take bites of the cool additions after tasting the smokey heat. But you know, I have a feeling they will love it and you will come out looking like a rock star!

      5 Replies
      1. re: chef chicklet

        Thanks, glad to know I'm not alone. I've used gajillo in the past, and felt there wasn't much heat which is why I added the chipotle. I guess they can really vary in intensity! Next time, I'll taste as I go along w/ the blender concoction.

        I like the idea of adding liquid and tomatoes. I also thought I might divide the sauce in half, to keep some spicy unadulterated sauce (it really is tasty) and then have a milder experimental sauce. I could do half the enchiladas in each, right?

        1. re: sljones

          Hey that's a great idea! Chilis can and certainly do vary in heat even the same type of chili. I have had jalapenos that are like eating a bell pepper and then others that give the lips a nice burn. So I guess we should taste as we go, huh!

          Your enchiladas sound amazing. So---I boiled a whole chicken, and will pick it tomorrow and make enchiladas. Thanks for the inspiration! (And I hope mine are hotter than heck!)

          1. re: sljones

            Always taste test with peppers, even with the dried and powdered versions. Start small and add a little at a time. It's always much easier to add more than to try and soften when there is too much.

            Dividing your sauce is probably the best way to go. Doctor the "mild half" as CC suggested, adding a little at a time.

            1. re: sljones

              I bought Rick Bayless's Mexico One Plate at a Time DVD series and watched it last night. He was cooking with canned Embasa chipotles in one recipe and was surprised to see that he removes the seeds from the adobo covered chilies. I'm going to try thiss next time as the flavor is great but the heat can be intense at times.

              1. re: SilverlakeGirl

                Interesting, he certainly didn't mention that in Everyday Mexican. Good tip for next time!

            1. I surveyed my guests to find out where they fell on the heat toleranace scale of one to five, and they all said "5" so I left the sauce as is! It turns out that once it all cooked together, they were still spicy but not as firey as the sauce was alone. Lots of lessons! Maybe that's why I felt the sauce was under spicy last time....b/c it combines to a more balanced level.

              thanks for all the ideas!

              1 Reply
              1. re: sljones

                I am smiling, your solution was the best yet!