Wednesday, May 22, 2013


A couple of weeks ago I challenged myself to make some quick, from scratch enchiladas.  I had thoughts in my head of achieving the best tasting enchiladas ever, and that they could be done in a jiff, without using canned sauce.  I took step by step photos, I wrote my recipe down; I had fully intended on posting this recipe.

And then we tasted them (FYI my blog posts are what we eat for dinner or lunch).  They tasted good but they were nothing special.  Nothing special = failed challenge!

I value you highly, and I think that you only deserve something special.

So the photos got deleted and I turned to a new page in my note book.  Let’s try this again.

In my way of thinking the only way to redeem myself (because gosh darn it there needs to be a redeeming end to this story), was to make a deep, rich, slow cooked enchilada sauce.  Oh…and it’s going to have to be vegan.

Vegan doesn’t have to be blah, add an extra step, a couple of unexpected ingredients and vegan is delicioso!

I used Slow Cooked Red Enchilada Sauce in these Eggplant Enchiladas .

They're vegan, and so not blah!

The oven roasting of the tomatoes and green chili peppers is that extra step; and the unexpected addition of cocoa powder and molasses gives the sauce a deep, rich color and flavor.  Of course simmering the enchilada sauce for an hour and a half is also going to give it a rich flavor.

While I made the enchilada sauce vegan, I have given the option of using chicken stock in the recipe so that you may do what ever suits you.

This recipe makes enough for two batches of enchiladas.  If your family eats enchiladas all the time you may want to increase the recipe, it can be frozen for a couple of months, or canned (if you're one who cans) for about a year.   

Slow Cooked Red Enchilada Sauce is deep, rich, savory deliciousness; everything that I dreamed it could be and everything enchilada sauce should be.  I am so relieved to have that redeeming end to my story!

Here’s what you do.

Pre heat oven to 425 degrees.

You could skip this step, but roasting the vegetables gives the sauce a deep rich flavor; so go ahead and rub some olive oil all over the tomatoes and chili peppers.

Roast in the hot oven for about 25 minutes.

Turn the vegetables over half way through; the skins on the tomatoes will start to split, and the skins of the peppers will begin to blister and darken.
Meanwhile; in a Dutch oven or a 5 quart sauce pan sweat the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt, in a tablespoon of olive oil.

When the onions are translucent add the cumin, chili powder, and tomato paste.

Cook this while stirring for about 3 minutes.

Then remove the pan from the heat while waiting for the tomatoes and peppers to finish roasting.

When the veggies have roasted; set the tomatoes to the side, nothing will be done with them yet.

Place the peppers in a bowl and cover the bowl in plastic wrap for about 10 minutes; and then peel the skins from the pepper, remove the seeds (discard the skin and seeds) and give the peppers a rough chop.

Go here for a full visual of how to peel roasted peppers.
Add half of the tomatoes to the jar of a blender along with the onions and 1 cup of vegetable or chicken stock.
Because the ingredients are hot, remove the center of the lid; this will keep you from having an explosion all over your kitchen.

Place a towel on top and blitz away, until it's smooth.
Pour this back into the pan that the onions were cooked in.

Place the remaining tomatoes in the blender with the roasted peppers, oregano, and 1 cup of stock.

Blitz that until smooth.

Return the pan to the cook top and add a couple of teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder...

...A couple of tablespoons of molasses, soy sauce, salt, pepper and the remaining 1/2 cup of stock.

Bring the sauce up to a slow simmer, and simmer for about an hour and a half.

After the sauce has simmered; place a strainer over a bowl and pour the enchilada sauce through the strainer.

Use the back of a ladle or a spoon to press the sauce through.

Discard the solids that remain in the strainer.

Pour two cup portions of the enchilada sauce into air tight containers; store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days the freezer for 2 months...

I put one container in the freezer and poured the other over these...

...Yummy Eggplant Enchiladas with Pepita Cream!


Makes about 4 cups, enough for 2 batches of enchiladas

2 ½          lbs.         Ripe tomatoes
2                           Poblano peppers
1                           Jalapeno pepper
2 ½          Tbsp.       Olive oil, divided use
1                           Medium onion, medium dice
2              cloves     Garlic, chopped
½             tsp.        Ground cumin
1 ½           Tbsp.      Chili powder
1               Tbsp.      Tomato paste
2 ½           cups       Vegetable or chicken stock, no or low-sodium
1 ½           tsp.        Oregano, preferably Mexican
2               tsp.        Cocoa powder, unsweetened
2               Tbsp.      Molasses
2               Tbsp.      Soy sauce
                             Salt and pepper to taste

   1.       Pre heat oven to 425 degrees.
   2.       Place the whole tomatoes, poblano peppers, and jalapeno pepper on a sheet pan.  Drizzle 1 ½ Tbsp. of olive oil over the tomatoes and peppers and rub it over them in their entirety.  Roast them in the oven for about 25 minutes, turning half way through.  The skin of the tomatoes will split; the skin of the peppers will blister and darken.
   3.   While the tomatoes and peppers are in the oven; sweat the onions, garlic and 1 Tbsp. of olive oil, with a pinch of salt, in a 5 quart sauce pan, or a Dutch oven over medium to medium- high heat.  When the onions are translucent add the cumin, chili powder, and tomato paste.  Allow this to cook while stirring for about 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat.
   4.      When the tomatoes and the peppers are done roasting set the tomatoes to the side for now, remove the peppers to a bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.  Allow the peppers to sit for about 10 minutes, and then remove them from the bowl and peel off the skin.  Remove the seeds from the peppers and give the peppers a rough chop.  Discard the seeds and skins.
   5.       In the jar of a blender add half of the roasted tomatoes, the cooked onions, and 1 cup of stock.   Put the lid on the blender, but remove the center piece of the lid and hold a towel over the top (always do this with hot ingredients); blend until smooth; and then add that back into the sauce pan that you cooked the onions in.
   6.       Add the remaining tomatoes, the roasted peppers, oregano, and 1 cup of stock to the blender.  Blend that until smooth and add that into the pan with the first batch.
   7.       Return the pan to the stove and add the remaining ½ cup of stock, cocoa powder, molasses, soy sauce and salt and pepper (don’t add too much salt as the sauce will reduce).  Bring the sauce up to a low simmer.  Simmer the sauce, uncovered for about 1 ½ hours stirring occasionally.
   8.       When the sauce is done; place a strainer over a bowl, and pour the sauce through the strainer, use a spoon to press the sauce through.  Discard the solids that remain in the strainer.  Divide the sauce between two air tight containers, there will be about 2 cups for each container.  Use one container for Eggplant Enchiladas with Pepita Cream and place the other in the freezer for up to 2 months.

*Note:  If you have an abundance of tomatoes and you happen to be a canner; go ahead and make a big batch and can the sauce for your pantry or to give as gifts.  Your friends will love you!

Romesco Sauce (Roasted Red Pepper)


  1. I've always wanted to know if I could make my own enchilada sauce!! This looks great!

  2. Looks so delish! And I'm lusting over that beautiful white dutch oven. Where did you get it from? I don't own a dutch oven. Shocking, I know :D

    1. A Dutch oven is great for anything that cooks for a long time. I got this one about 15 years ago on the clearance shelf at TJ Maxx; these pans last forever!

  3. So I have to confess, I have never done enchiladas properly like this. I am printing for dinner!