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enchilada sauce

Does anyone have a good recipe for enchilada sauce? I have tried Emeril's sauce but found the consistency too thick and it just didn't taste that great either... Any suggestions would be appreciated!

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  1. I am a little shy about giving my receipt as I was criticized by someone as making enchilada
    sauce like a restaurant a while back. Anyway this is not her Grandmaw's but It works.
    Make a rue with oil and flour, brown garlic in the rue at the end. Add water or broth until it is the
    consistency you like. Add Chimayo Chili to taste. Add salt. If you wish to sex it up
    add grated cheese at the very end to taste.

    2 Replies
    1. re: paul balbin

      Paul, you should never feel shy about posting on this site - it's a public forum. I swear, people get so high and mighty sometimes... I'm pretty sure that recipe you gave is a standard chile colorado sauce that I saw a version of in Saveur.

      1. re: adrienne156

        totally agree. thanks for sharing.

    2. I made this chow recipe a couple of months ago and thought it was really good

      1 Reply
      1. re: ChrisKC

        I also had good luck with this recipe, but substituted beef broth for veg broth - it was a bit too strong so next time will stick with recipe.

      2. It's not really a recipe, but I saute onions in olive oil, add garlic, salt, a little cumin and some chili powder, and then add a can of tomato sauce. I also usually add a chipotle in addobo all chopped up with some of the juice. Simmer for about 20 mins. I think dip in corn tortilla, roll with chicken, cheese, olives, corn and cheese, and lay in a dish. Top with remaining sauce and cheese and bake at 350 until hot and bubbly. They are how my mom made them and they're delicious!

        1. Maybe not a true enchilada sauce, but works well. I do use it for enchiladas and other stuff...
          Here's mine:

          handful chopped green pepper
          handful chopped onion
          4 cloves garlic chopped
          3 TBL cumin
          2 cans (680ml) tomato sauce
          handful chopped cilantro
          3-5 C chicken broth

          Sweat veggies (don't brown) in some oil
          add cumin, cilantro, stir
          add sauce, stir, bring to simmer
          add broth to slightly watery-than-you-want consistency
          return to simmer
          cook until desired consistency

          You can add various spicy elements (spicier peppers, cayenne, or crushed pepper) to your liking.

          1. In my family we have the scratch method and the lazy method. (I fear I'm going to get grief for this) Neither of my recipes have measurements. One was my grandmother's and the other my mother's.

            From scratch is where you toast the dry chilies. Once they've cooled you seed and stem them. Mix in saucepan with chicken broth, onion, garlic, ground cumin, maybe chili powder, to taste. Simmer then add to blender; blend until smooth. Season as needed.

            The lazy method is made from a can of Las Palmas enchilda sauce...check the label it's the same basic ingredients as the above. You begin with a rue of oil/lard and flour; brown. Add enchilada sauce, chicken broth or bouillion (to flavor, you can always add more), cumin, maybe chili powder, tomato sauce if you need it, and simmer until the thickness of gravy.

            If you like a sweet enchilada sauce you can add piloncillo to either recipe.

            2 Replies
            1. re: tlegray

              Our from scratch recipe is basically the same as yours and I completely agree with you wrt recipes for this kind of thing. I make tamales every christmas and inevitably, someone always asks for the recipe. It's one of those, "I can tell you what's in it, but I could never give you the amounts" because I never measure and every time, the amounts are different. Too many variables.

              Instead, I just invite them to come over the following year and help. :)

              1. re: tlegray

                Hi tlegray, I just made your "from scratch" recipe and even though I didn't have measurements it turned out excellent. I ended up using 3 of each guajillos and pasillas , small onion, 2 garlic cloves, dash of cumin and chili powder, 2 cups chicken stock and 1 cup water. A question for you is do you strain yours? And what do you typically fill/top your enchilladas with? Thanks for any info!

              2. The sauce always depends on the rest of the recipe. What kind of enchiladas to you want to make?

                I usually 'wing it' and make something like tlegray's scratch method. My guidelines are:

                - Use fresh or dried whole chiles, deseed, toast and soak (if dried). The taste compared to a canned sauce will be astounding!
                - Avoid commercial blends like Gebhardts, you can't control the proportions and who knows how long it's been sitting on the shelf.
                - Dried varietal chile powders are good for adjusting the heat level.
                - Add fresh tomato or tomatillo or tomato sauce until balanced to your taste.
                - Other spices should be used with caution, depends on the final product you want to make.

                I stay away from most Tex-Mex recipes - don't like roux, gratuitous cumin, etc.
                Plan ahead and your recipe will turn out fine. Ban the (enchilada sauce) can!

                1 Reply
                1. re: DiveFan

                  "The sauce always depends on the rest of the recipe. What kind of enchiladas to you want to make?"

                  Thanks D_F... as you implied there are dozens of categories of Enchilada sauce out there... and you have good taste... the Tex-Mex recipes are usually the least interesting. You do get some Roux based Moles (which are used to make Enchiladas) in parts of Mexico (including my Dad's town)... but they are usually a sign desperation when better ingredients are unavailable.

                2. The only thing I'd do different from the recipes posted here is use masa(corn)flour, instead of wheat flour, for the roux or thickening agent.

                  1. Here's one I use all the time. A variant of New Mexico Green Chile. Roasting the peppers takes some time, but it's worth it in the end. REALLY worth it.

                    Anaheim peppers roasted and peeled. (I'll say about 1.5lb of fresh peppers will be needed for this .) You can probably buy roasted green chilies in cans at your local mex market. I know for a fact that La Preferida produces this product which means that there are prolly four or five other companies that do as well. I prefer to roast my own, because, well, if you're making enchiladas, you're gonna be spending some time making enchiladas.

                    Once the peppers are done, get the big sautee pan out. sear up some bite pieces of pork stew meat, and set aside. Turn the heat down, maybe add a little more oil, and sweat up a few onions. I find that a heavy onion amount works quite well, so two large onions. After they are ncie and soft, but not brown, add in some flour, and start your roux. Cook it enough to take the floury taste out - we all know what that means, come on. I'd guess three tbs of flour would be a decent amount - might need to add some more oil. Once you're confident that the floury taste is gone, add some chopped garlic, I'd go with a tbs, but that's me. It's garlic, you know what it tastes like- add an amount that makes common sense to you. once the garlic gets a decent sizzle on it and releases some aroma - toss in a good tsp of ground cumin, a good shake of smoked paprika, toasted onion powder, fresh ground pepper, and I'll add in some dried chile powder at this point, mostly ancho, but also some dried ground chipotle as well. - Again - it's ground chile - you know what it is/does, add an amount that makes common sense for your taste. Once this stuff gets nicely heated through, add your chopped chiles, a few diced tomatoes, and let it all warm up together, stirring, and mixing as you go. Once it's all sizzley, and heated through together, add in 3 cubs of chicken broth. I use Low sodium, but that's me. Get this to a very low simmer, and then, put it all into a blender, with a good handful of cilantro. Puree it smooth, and toss it into a saucepan. Throw your seared pork chunks back in, and basically stew the pork. Add water to whatever consistency you'd like, and salt to taste.
                    (You can omit the pork, I make this frequently without the pork)

                    1. There are probably as many enchilada sauce recipes as there are people who make it. I'm not a "measuring" cook generally, but for red enchilada sauce, I toast from ten to twenty (or more, depending on how much sauce I want in the end) in the oven lightly, pull off the stems, shake out the seeds, then put them in a bowl and steep in warm water. When they are all nice and soft and mushy, I put them in the blender with the wanter, add a clove or two of peeled garlic, some ground cumin to taste, a sprig or two of epizote if I have any on hand and/or some cilantro, a light touch of Mexican oregano (optional), salt to taste and a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Blend until smooth. Pour into a saucepan and simmer for ten to twenty minutes. Taste. Correct seasonings as needed.

                      It's a personal thing, I'm sure, but for me "real" homemade red enchilada sauce doesn not have tomatoes or flour in it. The chilis themselves are the thickener.

                      You can probably find a gazillion recipes on Google, many of which would undoubtedly set my teeth on edge. But as they say, "To each his own." Go with what you think tastes good.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Caroline1

                        I'm so glad to find other people who agree that enchilada sauce does NOT have tomatoes or flour in it! It's so much tastier and EASIER to just use chile pods. Although, I've never toasted my dried pods before. I used to soak them in hot water too and then strain out the seeds later, but my tia told me she decided to just liquefy it in the blender instead and it works just as well. I tried it and it worked! I'm going to try the epizote and the cumin and cilantro next time I make some. After I freeze it, I often give it as holiday gifts to my native SC friends who've never had the real stuff. They're thrilled!

                      2. Assuming you're looking for a traditional red chile sauce (one of the many), you first have to choose the type of dried chile you want to use. Although my New Mexican forbears used (go figure) New Mexico chiles, I like a mix based on anchos (inexplicably called pasillas here in California) with guajillos, mulatos, and/or pasillas thrown in. Chipotles add a spicy kick and a smoky note - something a little different, but I like it occasionally.

                        Anyhow, once you have your chiles, toast them on a griddle or in the oven until they become fragrant and begin to change color, allow to cool, and remove the stems and seeds. Tear into large pieces, put the pieces in a bowl with plenty of room for expansion, and cover with water just off the boil. Allow to soak for half an hour or so.

                        Meanwhile, sweat onions and garlic in lard (substitute vegetable oil if you feel compelled to) until the onions are translucent. Drain the chiles, discarding the soaking liquid, and add them to the pot. Continue cooking for ten minutes or so.

                        Cover with chicken stock (or water, but chicken stock is better) and bring to a boil. Puree and strain, adding more liquid as necessary to reach the consistency you like, and return to the pot. Salt to taste, and add ground cumin, oregano, and/or tomato paste if desired.

                        Since it's pretty time-consuming and messy, I make a gallon or three of this stuff at a time. It keeps indefinitely in the freezer.

                        1. This is my recipe for a reddish-brown chile gravy. It comes out a little thick, but I just thin it with water or chicken broth. I typically make my own chile powder from dried chilies, but Gebhardt's will do in a pinch. Homemade is definately better, however. Also, I use fresh lard if we are in Mexico, but corn oil in the states. I really can't taste much difference. If the sauce isn't spicy enough, I add a little Chipotle chile powder.

                          1/4 cup lard or corn oil
                          1/4 cup flour
                          1/2 tsp black pepper
                          1 tsp salt
                          1-1/2 tsp powdered garlic
                          2 tsp ground cumin
                          1/2 tsp dried Mexican oregano
                          2 T chile powder (either homemade or Gebhardt’s)
                          2 cups chicken broth (or water)

                          Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
                          Stir in the flour and continue stirring for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it makes a light brown roux.
                          Add all the dry ingredients and continue to cook for 1 minute, constantly stirring and blending ingredients.
                          Add chicken broth or water, mixing and stirring until the sauce thickens.
                          Turn heat to low and let sauce simmer for 15 minutes. Add water to adjust the thickness. Makes 2 cups.
                          Edit: Don't know why this came out double spaced, but, oh well. Pam

                          1. I live in NM and people here are very serious about chile sauce for enchilladas. So the first question is green or red? I prefer green and last weekend just got finished with an all day green chile making day. The result yielded a ton of green chile sauce which is now in my freezer. I use the recipe from the Cafe Pasqual's cookbook which always turns out great. I do sub a couple ingredients: chicken stock for water, corn starch for flour, and I don't use quite as much garlic as they call for though I'm sure it's great if you did. You should probably be able to google the recipe. As the recipe calls for, mixing half hot and half mild chiles gives a nice result.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: upstate girl

                              Upstate girl,
                              I'm from Las Cruces, New Mexico! My mom always used fresh roasted green chile, fresh diced onion and garlic then "fried" that in a bit of oil in pan. Then, she mixed in cans of cream of chicken before adding shredded chicken to the sauce. Her green enchiladas were always made with chicken, although beef tastes good, too. This was then layered over fried or warmed (diabetic style) corn tortillas with cheese and more onions. Toss that in the oven and it's ready in a jiffy.
                              I haven't found NM green chiles in South Carolina so I've have 100 pounds of frozen green chile brought over on the plan the last time the kiddo visited Grandma. I've found I've had to make my red chile and freeze it as it molds in the humidity here in SC.

                            2. What about green enchiladas - verdes or Suizas? You can make a very simple sauce with just roasted, skinned poblanos, tomates verdes/tomatillos, cilantro, onion and chicken broth. I, too, never measure, but this one can be as simple as putting all of the above ingredients together in a blender and then sauteeing them briefly to get the raw taste out.
                              I think a roux-based sauce is unnecessary - when you bake the enchiladas the tortillas themselves should thicken the sauce enough to make a casserole-like consistency.

                              1. Like Abryan, I make a simple Roasted Poblano/Tomatillo sauce for my enchiladas. For one batch of sauce, about 4 poblanos and a dozen tomatillos. Remove the stems from the poblanos and the paper from the tomatillos. Cut in half and roast them under the broiler for 15 minutes until serious blackening happens. Do not remove the black bits, that's all the roasted flavor. Chop things and put in a food processor with the roasting liquid, a tablespoon of toasted cumin and one or more chopped jalapenos or chipotles en adobo to bring up the heat level if you want. Add a quarter cup of broth (chicken usually) and pulse to the consistancy you like.

                                1. Red enchilada sauce?
                                  Red Sauce: purchase dried red chile pods from store. Rinse them off in your sink. Break the dried stems off and either shake the seeds out (mild sauce) or leave them in (medium to hot sauce). Place about 5-7 pods in your blender with some fresh whole garlic cloves and fill the blender 3/4ths full of water. Liquefy it. BE AWARE THIS WILL STAIN YOUR BLENDER (I HAVE ONE JUST FOR THIS). If the result is not a little thick then add more chile and liquefy it again. Heat a pot to medium-high with enough oil to cover the bottom of pan and then a splash more. Using a splatter guard, toss the liquefied chile pods from your blender in and let it come to a quick boil-- essentially "frying" it. Put some cornstarch mixed with water in to thicken it, turn the heat down to low and season with salt to taste. It should need a fair share of salt, but season to your taste. You can freeze this or use within a couple of days. I can't say how long because it never lasts long at our house. You can use this sauce for enchiladas, chile colorado, menudo, tamales, over omelets...

                                  1. Adam’s Red Enchilada Sauce looks about right

                                    1. Joy of Cooking's most recent version has a recipe for enchilada sauce that I think is the perfect enchilada sauce.