I think Mexican food should have its own tier on the food pyramid.
Ideally somewhere between carbs and vegetables...Seriously, the flavours they use are so bold and intense that I never get sick of eating them. We usually have at least one night each week dedicated solely to Mexican food, be it burritos, enchiladas, tacos, burrito bowls or my latest favourite - enchilasagne; a cross between enchiladas and lasagne. I'll get around to putting that on the blog in the coming weeks but let's not run before we can walk - today is all about the base to any good enchilasagne (or enchilada dish): homemade enchilada sauce. It's way easier than you think, way healthier than store-bought sauces and way tastier than a sauce with minimal effort deserves to be.
There's really no substitute for homemade when it comes to flavour, and the directions for the sauce are as difficult as saute, simmer, blend. You could use the sauce as a base for enchiladas, spread over nachos or in place of the tomato paste in this recipe for Mexican Rice and Beans. The recipe makes enough for two enchilasagnes/enchilada meals and freezes well; you could also easily double or even triple the quantities and get a good stockpile going.
You can vary the amount of chilli to suit your taste; our house likes it pretty spicy so use the amount stated as a guide and add as much or as little as you like. If you're cooking for kids maybe dial it back a bit. If you're cooking for grown ups then go all out; anyone that can't stand the heat doesn't deserve the enchiladas! Or just tell them that so you get to eat all the enchiladas yourself.
I know I say it so much it's probably lost all meaning but making things from scratch really is worth the effort, both in terms of flavour and nutrition. Store-bought sauces are loaded with sugar and salt, and just taste a bit...mass-produced. There's no love in their sauces and it shows. And when you eat Mexican food as often as I do the unnecessary and often excessive sugar and salt really start to add up. Plus your family/guests will think you're a complete superstar form making everything yourself, and when something is this easy you should bask in their praise while smiling smugly about how easy it really was. Now go forth and fill your house with the amazing aromas of sweet Mexicany goodness in the form of homemade enchilada sauce!
Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce
Makes enough for 2 batches of enchiladas
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, diced
3 fresh chillies, finely chopped (or to taste)
2 tablespoon coconut/brown sugar
3 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
½ cup sherry
2 x 400g can crushed tomatoes
2 cups vegetable stock
1) Heat olive oil in a deep pot over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until the onion is soft, 4 to 5 minutes.
2) Add the garlic, chilli, sugar, cumin, and oregano and cook for a further minute. Add the sherry, tomatoes and vegetable broth.
3) Bring to a slow boil then simmer for about 20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened to stew consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
4) Puree with stick blender and set aside to cool.
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