What is enchilada sauce?
A thick Mexican sauce of tomato, chilli and spices which is used as the base burritos, enchiladas and tacos. The sauce is thickened classically with a lightly browned roux of flour and oil, this adds both flavor and body to the final sauce. Beyond enchiladas there are many ways to make the most of homemade enchilada sauce, use in other dishes such as huevos rancheros, chile con queso, chilaquiles, casserole, carne guisada, macaroni and cheese, pulled pork, pasta or even soups.
What is a substitute for enchilada sauce?
Marinara - A basic tomato sauce is the simplest substitute for enchilada sauce, if available then warm the sauce with taco or fajita seasoning to blend through some Mexican flavors.
Salsa - Salsa may be used as a replacement when making enchiladas however salsa is more of a dip/chutney than a sauce with chunks of vegetables. Salsa is uncooked with the raw tomatoes providing texture to the dip, although the ingredients are similar to a simple enchilada sauce.
Taco Sauce - made from similar base ingredients of tomato, vinegar, sugar and spices. Taco sauce usually has a more prominent tomato flavoring and is spiced with paprika whereas some enchilada sauces contain no tomato at all. Both sauces are thick, smooth and pureed so work well as a substitute for one another.
What are the different enchilada sauces?
Enchilada sauce can be made with various chillies which affect the fruitiness, heat, spice, smokiness and overall flavor of the end product. Popular chillies include dried ancho chilli, pasilla chilli, anaheim, cascabel, guajillo chilli or Mexican chilli powders such as ancho powder, morita powder, chipotle powder, chile de arbol or your favorite chilli powder blend.
Green enchilada sauce - using roasted green chillies and tomatillos will produce a vibrant green sauce which is perfect for creating enchiladas verdes. Green chillies are generally milder than their red counterparts so this option of homemade enchilada sauce is best suited to those who enjoy a moderate spice level. Green enchilada sauce can be used in all the same applications as the standard enchilada sauce.
When do you add the chilli powder to enchilada sauce?
Some recipes instruct to add the spices at the start of the cooking to toast and bring out flavor. However, as the spices are finely ground, most do not stand up well to high heat and easily become bitter. Instead infuse the spices into the sauce at the final stage of the process to provide a fresh and vibrant flavoring.
What are the best enchilada sauces you can buy from the store?
Our homemade enchilada sauce is so quick and simple that there really is no need to ever use a canned sauce again, you’re likely to already have all the ingredients in your cupboards and can be presented with fresh, delicious sauce in only 20 minutes. There are quality store-bought enchilada sauces available from a wide variety of suppliers, the most popular brands include; Old El Paso Red Enchilada Sauce, Hatch Green Chile Enchilada Sauce, Las Palmas Red Enchilada Sauce, Rosarita Enchilada Sauce and Tio Pelon’s Salsita.