I have many fond childhood memories of hanging around the kitchen. It didn't matter where I was. At home or away; if there was something cooking I had to go check it out. There was always a wonderfully familiar and distinctive aroma that would hit you as you came through the front door. I'm not sure how it is in your family, but I come from a family of excellent cooks. Oftentimes the aroma that filled the house was a homemade enchilada sauce bubbling away on the stovetop. It seems that everyone from my mother to my grandmothers and aunts had their own variation. That is what makes homemade enchilada sauce so special.
A well-crafted enchilada sauce takes a little time and some flexibility. The heat of dried chiles can often vary considerably but the results are well worth the effort. I like to start with a base of mild california chiles and go from there. Don't be scared. Try different chile combinations. Trust me you will never eat that lousy canned sauce again. It's time to begin or continue the tradition with your own familia. This one is for you Luis. Enjoy!
Chop's Homemade Enchilada Sauce
2 pasilla chiles
4 california chiles
1 bay leaf
1 onion (quartered)
1/2 organic lemon (squeezed)
1 tsp ground oregano
2 tsp ground cumin
6 cloves garlic
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp fresh turmeric root (sliced)
6 cups chicken broth or water
*salt and pepper to taste
* the amount of salt used tends to vary based upon personal taste and how the sauce will be used in recipes. I tend to keep the salt a little on the light side in order to allow better balance when incorporating into my recipes. You can always add a bit of salt toward the end of your recipe. It's up to you.
Yield: about 5 1/2 cups
Roast the chiles on the stovetop over medium heat. A cast iron pan or comal works best for this step. Be sure that the chiles don't scorch by turning them regularly
Combine the roasted chiles in a medium stock pot with all of the other ingredients. Don't worry about the stems on the chiles, you can remove them before they go in the blender. Be sure to include the entire squeezed lemon in the pot.
Cover everything with the broth or water and simmer for about an hour or until the chiles have softened…
Remove the lemon, bay leaf, and any chile stems or excess seeds...
Pour the cooled mixture into the blender, puree and set aside...
Prepare the roux by placing a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Place 1 tablespoon of chicken fat or vegetable oil in the pan. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour and whisk until well incorporated.
Whisk the blended chile mixture into the roux and simmer until you achieve the desired consistency. Use this sauce straight away with your favorite enchilada recipe or use it as a starting point for your other favorite mexican dishes.