This is a short version of making red chile sauce. For me it is an autumnal ritual to can a dozen or more quarts by a much more demanding method. Here is a basic recipe that makes a satisfying enchilada. Get the best, freshest chile powder you can find.
2 Tablespoons corn or canola oil
½ small onion finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon whole toasted cumin seeds
2 Tablespoons of flour
½ cup of quality red chile powder
21/2 cups of water
1 teaspoon of salt
In a bowl mix the chile powder until it is smooth and free of lumps. In a saucepan saute the onion and garlic until it is softened and fragrant. Add the cumin seeds and then the flour working with a whisk, the back of a spoon or silicone spatula to incorporate the oil and flour. Remove from the heat if this starts to get ahead of you.
Now add the chile water paste to the flour mix a little at a time to prevent lumps. Over medium heat, stirring vigilantly, bring this to a boil. Reduce the heat and stir while the sauce thickens. Add the salt.
Upon tasting this will be a strong earthy sauce. Remember that it is traditionally not eaten alone and provides a perfect foil for the sweetness of corn tortillas and is mellowed by cheese as in the most basic traditional New Mexican enchilada.
Photo © Katharine Pollak Photography