Is making the homemade Hatch Red Enchilada Sauce verses the store bought, really worth the extra effort? One thing for sure is that not all the store bought enchilada sauces are the same. Looking closely they all use similar ingredients but the big factor is all about the flavor profile differences. This prompted me to see if making a homemade enchilada sauce is worth the effort.
Lessons to be learned
In the past I have made many different southwestern red sauces, using all different types of chilies. I love hot sauces, that was my biggest mistake. Most of my red sauces was so hot they overpowered the foods. Lessons to be learned save my super hot chilies for the hot sauces, but not in the red enchilada sauce.
Where to start
First thing to start when you are looking to make enchilada sauce, is the chilies. So this prompted me to use Hatch Dry Red Chilies. Why Hatch Chilies? Well Hatch New Mexico is the Red Chili Capital of USA. They produce most of the Red Chilies, they are so famous that they have Chili festivals every year. These New Mexican Red Chilies are mild and flavorful, perfect for making enchilada sauces.
Next is choosing the right companion chilies, this is where I always made my mistakes. I use some of my super hot chilies that would peel the paint off the wall, that’s not a good match. So this time tried ancho chilies which have a good depth of flavor without all the heat. The red sauce turns out darker in color but with a more deep complex flavor. Giving the sauce a wonderful flavor profile. Making this a perfect companionship to enchilada sauce.
Over the many of tries in making enchilada sauces, key is to have the right aromatics. Again in the past I always put too many aromatics and messed up the end flavors. So this time kept simple, using just garlic, onions, cumin, chipotle pepper for smoky flavor, salt and pepper.
Hatch Red Enchilada Sauce
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Red Enchilada Sauce recipe uses Hatch Chilies that makes this sauce worth extra effort. This recipe has wonderful mild flavors of chilies perfect for Chicken or Cheese Enchiladas.
Mise en place enchilada sauce, peeling garlic, chopping onions, measuring aromatics, gathering chilies.
Heat olive oil and garlic until light golden brown, stirring often with spatula. This takes about 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the chopped onions to light golden brown garlic cloves. Stirring well until onions start to caramelize. Remove from sauce pan into holding bowl.
Add the dry chilies to sauce pan add a little extra olive oil if need. Toast dry chilies turning often with tongs. Do not allow the chilies to burn. Remove from heat right away, to prevent chilies from burning.
Add onions and garlic back to sauce pan with chilies. Pour water to cover chilies about 4 cups. Place plate on top of chilies to keep them covered with water. Bring chilies, garlic and onions to boil. Keep cooking chilies for about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat to cool slightly.
Remove any stems from chilies using tongs. Be sure to wear gloves when handling chiles.
Place cooked chilies, onions, garlic and most of cooking liquid into blender. Reserve the remainder of cooking liquid if needed to finish cooking process.
Process the enchilada sauce in blender, starting at low speed and going to high speed. Be sure to place a towel over blend to prevent any splattering of chili puree as it's blending.
Pour chili puree into sauce pan.
Add the aromatics, oregano, cumin, chipotle powder, salt, pepper and Turbinado sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to simmer.
Cook the enchilada sauce for 15 to 20 minutes. Taste the sauce and adjust with salt, pepper and sugar as needed.
Using Enchilada Sauce
Coat baking dish with food spray like PAM. Spread a nice layer of enchilada sauce on bottom of baking dish. Place filled rolled enchilada like beef taco meat on top of enchilada sauce. Cover all enchiladas with enchilada sauce top with cheese. Bake in 350°f oven or grill until internal temperature reaches 165°f.
Place some warm enchilada sauce on plate and lift with spatula cooked enchiladas onto plate. Garnish with cheese, radish slices. Enjoy
Retired Chef Instructor teaching 32 years of culinary arts. Blogging on creative foods by Chef Dave, featuring hot and spicy, chocolate, baking and Weight Watcher Smart Point friendly foods. Vegetable gardening, photography, and creative cooking is my passion.