Thursday, February 17, 2011

Another "Best" Homemade Enchilada Sauce

It's so easy and cheap to make homemade enchilada sauce that I'm almost embarrassed to show you how. The secret to this particular sauce, the thing that makes it special, is the cocoa powder, which gives it a slight mole flavor.

The amounts in the ingredients are flexible. You can use more or less chili powder, use more tomato sauce and less water, add a tsp of cumin, and so on, until you get it just the way you like it. But under no circumstances omit the cocoa powder!

Besides being great for enchiladas, this is also good as a base for chili, nachos, tamales, sopa de albondigas (rojo), or just about anything you'll need a red sauce for. And it makes quite a lot of sauce (at least enough for 8 large enchiladas), so if you don't need it all right away put any leftover in the fridge where it will happily reside for at least a week without going bad. Or you can freeze it.


  • 3 Tbsp dark chili powder
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/16 tsp. (just a pinch) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
Combine all dry ingredients in a small bowl. Whisking constantly, slowly add enough of the water to make a thin paste. Pour into 2-quart saucepan and whisk in the rest of the water.

Cook over medium heat, stirring/whisking constantly, until mixture thickens. (Be advised that this could take half an hour or longer, but it's worth it!) Stir in tomato sauce. Turn heat to low and simmer for another five minutes or so to let the flavors meld.

If the time it takes this sauce to thicken is too much for you, you can turn up the heat a bit (making sure it doesn't burn or lump up as it's cooking). Or you can add an additional Tbsp of flour at the beginning to speed the process up, but that extra flour will affect the taste a little bit. In this recipe, as in a roux, it's important that the flour cooks long enough that you don't taste it in the final product.

Buen provecho!

If you have a favorite recipe for a Mexican or Mexican-inspired dish, I'd love to add it to our recipe box! email (and put "recipe" in the subject box so I'll know what it's about)
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain