Poor planning led to me to try a homemade enchilada sauce recipe the first time. I’d had one thing on our dinner menu, but at the last minute got a craving for Mexican food, but we were out of enchilada sauce. Now, I’d never tried the freshly made stuff before, so I was surprised at how easy it was to make. And the taste? What a difference!
I have to admit: this isn’t one of those homemade recipes that costs a fraction of the commercial stuff. Last I checked, a can of enchilada sauce was $0.89, and a can of tomato sauce went for about the same. This homemade enchilada sauce recipe makes the equivalent of two cans, and with the other ingredients involved it will basically cost as much as the commercial stuff.
Unlike the commercial stuff, you can adjust the seasonings to suit your family’s preferences. It’s a very forgiving recipe. If you have kids who don’t like spice, reduce the amount of chili powder. Want more spice? Add a pinch of cayenne. Two ingredients are absolutely essential, though: cumin and cocoa. Together they provide the authentic depth of flavor in quality Mexican food.
Once you measure out your ingredients, you’ll be making them into a paste using water. It’s very important that you mix this paste thoroughly so the flour doesn’t clump together when you transfer it into the pan.
At this point, it will smell like enchilada sauce, but it doesn’t quite taste like it yet. What you’re doing is heating the sauce so the flour starts thickening to transform it from watery to wonderful. Then you add the tomato sauce.
Now’s the time to start adjusting your seasonings, bumping up the spice or adding salt if you must. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself tempted, as I was, to grab a tortilla chip and give that stuff another taste. It’s okay. Really. No one will blame you. How else are you to know when it’s ready, right?
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 cups water
- 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
- Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl.
- Add water to dry mix 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly until a paste is formed
- Scoop the paste into a sauce pot and, using a whisk, add remaining water.
- Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened.
- Add tomato sauce, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Makes 4 cups
Of course, this is fantastic on homemade enchiladas, but don’t limit yourself to them. Bake a corn tortilla until crisp, smear some refried beans on it and drizzle on some of the sauce, then top with shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes for a tostada. Pour it over boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a crockpot and let it cook on low 6-8 hours then shred for excellent chicken to use in taco salads, burritos and quesadilla. Or pour it over a bowl of refried beans, top with shredded cheese and scoop it with chips. Yum!
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