This enchilada sauce is sweet with caramelized onions and just spicy enough to be a versatile pantry staple. The amount of New Mexican chiles may seem daunting, but they are easy to work with and make the flavorful base of the recipe. How to Make and Preserve Red Enchilada Sauce
- 12 large red New Mexican chile peppers
- 2 cups boiling water
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 5 cups coarsely chopped yellow onion (about 4 large onions)
- 6 cups canned, diced tomatoes (I like to use my canned tomatoes)
- 1⁄2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp. chili powder
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground red pepper
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
How to Make Red Enchilada Sauce
- Rinse any dirt from dried chiles, and pat dry with a paper towel. Toast peppers on a very hot griddle, or in a skillet, 8 to 10 seconds on each side or just until beginning to puff and blister. (Do not allow peppers to burn or they will become bitter.) When cool enough to handle, remove and discard stems and seeds from chiles; tear into large pieces and place in a medium bowl. Cover with boiling water. Let stand 20 minutes or until softened. Drain, reserving 1 cup soaking liquid.
- Sauté garlic in hot oil in a 6-qt. stainless steel or enameled Dutch oven over medium-high heat 30 seconds. Stir in onion. Cover and cook, stirring often, 10 minutes or until onion is tender. Uncover and cook, stirring often, 5 to 10 minutes or until onions are caramel colored. Stir in tomatoes, next 5 ingredients, softened chiles, and reserved soaking liquid. Remove from heat.
- Process tomato mixture, in batches, in a blender until smooth. Return pureed mixture to Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, stirring often, 25 minutes or until sauce is thick and darkens in color. (As sauce thickens, partially cover Dutch oven to avoid splatters.)
How to Preserve Red Enchilada Sauce
How to Can Red Enchilada Sauce
Makes about 8 pint-size jars. This recipe does require a pressure canner if you want to can the sauce. If you are new to pressure canning be sure to read a few of our pressure canning 101 articles.
- Ladle hot enchilada sauce into a hot jar, leaving 1-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band, and adjust to fingertip-tight. Place jar on rack in a pressure canner containing 2 inches of simmering water (180°F). Repeat until all jars are filled.
- Place lid on canner, and turn to locked position. Adjust heat to medium-high. Vent steam for 10 minutes. Place the counter weight or weighted gauge on vent; bring pressure to 10 pounds (psi) for a weighted-gauge canner or 11 pounds (psi) for a dial-gauge canner.
- Process 1-pt. jars for 50 minutes. Turn off heat; cool canner to zero pressure. Let stand 5 more minutes before removing lid. Cool jars in canner 10 minutes. Remove jars and cool.
How to Freeze Red Enchilada Sauce
I prefer canning the sauce but I know not everyone wants to use a pressure canner. This sauce can safely be frozen. When the red enchilada has cooled, seal the container and freeze. BPA-free plastic containers, resealable plastic freezer bags, or freezer-proof glass jars work great for freezing enchilada sauce. Using plastic bags is the easiest and fastest when it comes to thawing; they also stack nicely in a wire freezer basket. Jars and plastic containers offer a little more protection against freezer burn, so they are better for longer-term freezing. The sauce will last for at least a year in the freezer.
How to Use Red Enchilada Sauce
*Use this as a braising sauce for chicken, beef, or pork, add it to pinto or black beans, or drizzle it on tacos, fajitas, and huevos rancheros. Of course, it's perfect for homemade enchiladas too!