Long ago, when we constantly had problems using an entire can of enchilada sauce before it went bad, we started hunting for ways to make our own enchilada sauce. Now, making it or buying it, we’ve learned that the way to cope with extra sauce is to freeze it and use it next time. But we also tried a lot a recipes and now have a favorite that we always make. One thing we’ve learned along the way, is that our favorite sauces are made of chile peppers, not tomatoes. All that redness? That paste-like texture? It all comes from dried chiles. Which, miraculously, soften up when cooked and turn into enchilada sauce in the blender. Here’s the details/recipe:
adapted from Pizza: Grill It, Bake It, Love It! by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough*
1 TBS oil
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
6 dried New Mexican chiles (or some other kind, but stay away from the super hot ones)
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups broth
Prepare the chiles by removing their seeds, stems, and veins. This is easy to do by just slitting them open and pulling everything out with your fingers, but BEWARE! Dried chiles will burn your skin just like fresh ones. Consider wearing rubber gloves or at least wash your hands, knife, and cutting board really well afterwards.
In a medium pan heat the oil and saute the onions and garlic until softened. Add the prepared chiles, oregano, and salt and stir everything together well. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Blend everything up to sauce either with an immersion blender or a real blender.