Enchilada Sauce

So, in effort to make more “whole” foods and eliminate using ingredients from a can, I decided to try my hand at making my own enchilada sauce.  I was actually quite pleased with the results, but it was a pretty tedious process.  Dinner took about 3 hours from start to finish.  However, I did have enough for the freezer too, so it’s something you could make a big batch of and spread over several meals.


10 oz. bag of dried chilis. (I used New Mexico chilis.)
1 pot boiling water
5 cloves garlic
1/2 onion
1 T. lard
1 t. epazote
1 t. Mexican oregano
1 T. cumin
1/2 t. ground chipotle powder
1 cup chicken broth
1 t. smoked sea salt
1/2 t. sugar (I ended up adding this because the sauce had a hint of bitter I was trying to get rid of)

So here goes… start with a bag of dried chilis.  Also, start a pot of water to boil.

You are going to cut the tops off and dump out the seeds.

Next, open up the pods and take out any leftover seeds.  Also, you need to scrape out the “membrany” part (below), as that is where some of the bitterness comes from, and we don’t want bitter.

Next, I rinsed out all the chilis.  I suppose I could have done this before starting, but I noticed as I was de-seeding that some of them were a little dirty.  So I just gave them a good rinse to get all the dirt off.

Next, I took the chilis and heated them in a dry skillet (med head).  I cooked them 5-7 seconds on each side to bring out the flavor.  You have to be careful not to burn them, or it will mess up the flavor of your sauce and you’ll have to start all over.

Next, place the chilis in an empty pot and pour the boiling water over them.  Cover and let sit for 30 minutes or so, until the chilis have their color back and feel tender.

While you’re waiting on the chilis, you can get your seasonings ready for the sauce.  Cook your onions in 1 T. of lard for about 8 minutes.  Add some roughly chopped garlic in the last minute or so.

Once the onions are translucent, add them to the food processor, along with all the spices.  When the chilis are done, add them as well, and pulse until they are well blended.  Keep adding the chilis until all are blended.  Take some of the leftover water (I ended up using about 3 cups total) from the soaking chilis and mix in with the chili paste to get a nice chili liquid.

Next we’re going to pour it through a sieve and use a wooden spoon to push all the good sauce out, leaving the pulpy part in the sieve.  I also add my cup of chicken broth at this point.  This is really the tedious part of the whole process to me.  It seemed to take forever.

But, it’s worth it, because after you’re done, you have THIS:

It tasted much better than anything from a can!

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About Laura

A Christian wife, mother, daughter, former educator, photographer, amateur chef, pretend gardener, alto 🎶, book nerd, cancer-survivor and laundry-hater.

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