The perfect Enchilada Sauce! No need to buy Enchilada Sauce from a can when it’s this quick and easy to make at home.
I’ve been tweaking this recipe for years and I’ve got it perfect. There are a few things I look for in an Enchilada Sauce. One is a perfect balance between tomato and chili pepper. Enchilada Sauces without tomato seem bland to me, and I find Enchilada Sauce made with pureed tomato a little pulpy, too much like spaghetti sauce. Using tomato paste gives a nice tangy tomato flavor while keeping the sauce thin and smooth.
You can use any kind of chili powder in this Enchilada Sauce, but it’s so much more fun to experiment with different kinds of dried whole chilies. You can tweak the flavor and the heat. I’ve used here Guajillo and Ancho peppers. Guajillo peppers are slightly sweet with a hint of tangy cranberry. With a mild to medium heat, 2500-5000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), they are about a third as hot as a jalapeno. Ancho peppers are mild, 1000-1500 SHU, and make the sauce a deep, rich red. They have an earthy, peppery taste with a hints of raisins and coffee. Another favorite is the New Mexico Chile pepper, 800-1400 SHU, with a crisp, clear flavor and hints of sweet dried cherry.
I use about one tablespoon of freshly ground chili powder for this recipe. The kids like a less powerful, less overwhelming sauce so I keep it nice and mild. Enchilada Sauce should be a perfect complement to your enchiladas, not so strong that it’s the only thing you taste. I also prefer a thinner sauce so I use two tablespoons of oil and two tablespoons of flour to make a roux to thicken the sauce. If you want a thicker sauce, use three tablespoons each of oil and flour. You can use vegetable or chicken broth in this recipe. I always have chicken bouillon cubes on hand so I just throw one of those in. I also like the kick they give the sauce.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 cups broth, chicken or vegetable
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Add flour and whisk. Let cook for a minute or two until it is bubbly but not brown.
- Add tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and oregano. Stir to combine and cook for a minute but don’t let chili burn or it will turn bitter.
- Slowly whisk in broth and whisk until smooth.
- Increase heat to medium-high, whisking often. Let simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Add vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.