If you're looking for authentic enchilada sauce, this recipe is a good cross between Mexican and American tastes. Cumin, oregano, and ancho chilies bring the Mexican flavor, while tomatoes add a tart layer that Americans have grown to love. You can make this red sauce as hot as you'd like. As it stands now, it's not too spicy but will give you a little bit of a sweat if you're not used to spicy food. If you want to take it up a notch (or five) use a total of four or six dried chilies while keeping the rest of the recipe the same. I love this recipe because it's the best of both worlds: It's familiar while encouraging folks to try new flavors. Consider this a "gateway sauce" for those that want to start exploring more authentic Mexican flavors without jumping cannonball-style into the pool.
Prep Time 15minutes
Cook Time 20minutes
Total Time 35minutes
Author Stephanie Stiavetti
2largedried ancho chiles(use 4 if you like a little extra heat)
1cupchicken or vegetable stock
1teaspoonfresh chopped oregano leaves
1/4teaspoonfreshly-ground black pepper
One 14.5-ouncecanchopped tomatoesor 1 pound tomatoes seeded and chopped
Rinse the ancho chiles with warm water and pat them dry. Carefully rip out the stems and remove the cores. Slice the chiles in half, then scrape out seeds and veins. Chop the chiles into 1-inch chunks.
Add chiles into a heavy bottom pan with no oil. Turn the heat to medium-high and toast the chiles until they turn brown in some spots, about 4 minutes, but do not let the burn. Add onions and toast until they begin to turn brown also. Add cumin and toast for 30 seconds, just until fragrant. Add olive oil and garlic, cooking for 1 minute, being careful not to let the garlic burn. Add boiling water and chicken stock.
Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 15 minutes, or until the chile pieces are soft and pliable. Remove from heat and stir in oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Add more seasoning to taste, if necessary adding more chili powder. Allow the sauce to cool about halfway, just until you can stick a finger in it without burning yourself.
Pour the sauce into a blender. Secure the top of the blender and cover it with a towel to prevent it from leaking. Start the blender on low, then gradually turn it up to puree the sauce. Add tomatoes, sugar, and lemon juice, and continue to blend until smooth. Taste and add more salt, sugar, or lemon juice if necessary, blending for a few seconds after each addition.
Return sauce to pan and cook another 15 minutes. Pour over your favorite enchiladas or enchilada casserole.