Saturday, January 12, 2008

Enchilada Sauce

A Labor of Love
Mom gave me the recipe Enchilada Sauce Version #1, and for many years when I made my own enchilada sauce this is the one I used. Chili powder was easy to bring home from the West as well as available in many markets around Boston. In recent years, Mom has sent me boxes of red Hatch chilies and I’ve made the “real thing”, Enchilada Sauce Version #2. This version is lot of work, but well worth the effort. Note: all of these versions are far superior to the canned sauces; even the Hatch brand, which is better than most canned sauces, contains sugar and other additives that makes it taste less clear.


In a large frying pan brown:

4-5 T flour (Stir a lot! Don’t burn.)

When flour is browned add:

~8 T powdered red chili (vary amount depending on hotness of chili and your taste)

Stir and blend flour and chili. Add:

24-oz tomato sauce
1 ½ - 2 cups water or tomato juice (I use water.)
Cumin (ground)
Minced garlic

Simmer 15-30 minutes until right thickness.

Fine tune chili, tomato and water.


Natalia was my Grandmother Ruth’s housekeeper for many years. She was a wonderful woman and devoted to Mom. This is her (via my Mom) recipe for preparing dried chili pods:

“Cut tops of chili; clean inside, remove seeds.Then wash thoroughly with cold water. Soak in pan with hot water. Put lid on top and let soak about 3 hours."

Put a small amount of the chili in a blender and whirl, repeat until all chili is blended. Add some of the water that the chili soaked in. [Water chili proportions: ~12 pods dried chili : 2 c water.] Add some grated garlic. [Strain the sauce; if you have a Foley Food Mill, this is by far the easiest way to strain the sauce. If not, strain sauce through a colander with small holes This is the step that is the most work; I once tried to omit but it is really necessary.] Put in a colander and mash through. Then put in jars. [I freeze in pint containers.]

When ready to serve. Brown several tablespoons flour [I use 1 T flour : 2 c of sauce] in a fry pan (Natalia uses Crisco to do this – I [my Mom, who wrote down this recipe for me] use a dry hot fry pan with no grease – only the flour. Stir constantly over hot heat til brown). Add chili puree, stir until thickened. This may be diluted with tomato sauce or tomato juice if too hot."

I think the tomato sauce increases the sauce’s complexity and makes it more interesting and the Hatch chili is usually hot enough that it really needs the dilution.


La Posta’s Recipe

Also from Mom - La Posta is a legendary Mexican restaurant in Las Cruces (Mesilla Park). No additional instructions provided. Use proportions and follow procedures above.

“12 pods dried chili
2 cups water
1 t salt
2 T lard
1 T flour
(tomato juice or water if needed)”

Since I make this sauce (Version #1 and Version #2) in large batches, I freeze it in pint containers to use when I make Enchiladas.

Reviewed 6/20/2017

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