Monday, July 5, 2010

Enchilada Sauce

A nice and spicy red sauce is a great thing. There are a variety of recipes out there, most of which involve dried chiles and a blender. I like those recipes, but I'm often too lazy to toast chiles and I always hate washing the blender. So in searching for an easy enchilada sauce that could replace canned sauces (which always have too much salt and often MSG- which can trigger migraines for those who suffer), I found Emeril's Easy Enchilada Sauce Recipe.

It's a nice recipe that's hard to mess up and very fun to adapt. If you make it, don't make the same mistake I did. I don't use 'chili powder' so I instead used 'red chile (in a powder form).' The former is a blend of spices while the latter, well, is pure chile. My wife and I love spice so we ate it (with a lot of sour cream), but I wouldn't advise it.

There are a lot of benefits to using dried chile. The major one for me is that you have a lot of control over each element and it's easy to blend flavors. We are lucky enough to be a short walk from a great local grocery store that specializes in mostly Asian foods. Their wall of spices is pretty great. So if you're lucky enough to have access to more than just cayenne or 'chili powder', I would encourage some experimenting.

One final note has to do with adding wine to the sauce. I frequently add dry white wine to my enchilada and tomato sauces. It adds a nice flavor and helps you cut down significantly on the amount of salt that's needed. This was a great discovery and I do it all the time now.

2 1/2 T. guajillo chile powder
1 1/2 T. ancho chile powder
1 t. cayenne chile powder
(You can substitute other chile powders but keep in mind that different chile powders have different heat levels so it's necessary to modify to your tastes).
1/2 T. cumin
1/2 T. black pepper
2 t. oregano (crushed finely)
1 t. coriander
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. onion powder
1/4 t. cinnamon

2 T. cornstarch
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 small can tomato paste

4 c. chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt to taste

Whisk dry spices together in a small bowl. Heat oil in a large sauce pan or tall skillet. Add cornstarch and stir for about a minute. Add dry chile mix and cook for 3o sec - 1 minute (watch your nose!). The longer you let the chile powder cook, the more aromatic the sauce becomes, just be careful not to burn.

Add tomato paste and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened.
With about five minutes left, add white wine and stir well. Add salt as desired. If you start with a chicken broth made from bouillon, which is often pretty salty, you may not need any extra salt. If you're using a home-made chicken stock, extra salt will be necessary.


  1. These recipes look great! Love the blog name. :)

  2. Yum. Enchiladas are definitely a favorite of mine.


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