A pair of 'ten-minute' recipes from my friend Sally. First up, her quick and easy Red Chile Sauce. Second up, individual enchiladas, layers of corn tortillas, meat and beans, cheese, tomatoes and cilantro, and naturally, a good spoonful or two of that Red Chile Sauce - plus an egg on top for good measure!
Before a jaunt to Santa Fe last summer, the husband of a friend played friendmaker, “We know this woman from Santa Fe. You’d like her. Have lunch or something.” Inside I groaned, not at all interested. But what was the worst outcome beyond an awkward hour or two? (And besides, wouldn’t she be reluctant too? Maybe it wouldn’t happen.) Ha, what a lesson in taking small chances!
Sally Denton is an author with much-readable books (her latest book came out in paperback last month) and wide-ranging interests. We had breakfast in a funky spot, talking on and on over coffee and breakfast enchiladas. Turns out, we share a fascination with food!
When Sally shared her recipe for Red Chile Sauce, the recipe she’s been perfecting since moving to New Mexico two decades ago – and a packet of red chile powder, too – I knew to accept with enthusiasm!
And my oh my, this stuff is good. Day One, I made test enchiladas for lunch, then snacked on tortillas, cheese and red chile sauce before bed. Day Two, I made enchiladas for breakfast, for lunch, for supper – and another bedtime snack. Sally consoled, “Just remember that Red Chile Sauce is fat free, loaded with Vitamin C and antioxidants and stimulates your metabolism. And addictive.” Ha! I’d already figured out that last.
A month later, the Red Chile Sauce is still in the fridge (so it keeps well) and I've been using it almost like hot sauce at every meal except dessert.
WHERE TO BUY RED CHILE POWDER Regular readers, please know: I work really hard to use only widely available ingredients in Kitchen Parade recipes. But this Red Chile Sauce is so special, so easy, so – addictive! – I hope you’ll understand why I’ve made an exception.
The most important thing to know is that ‘chile powder’ is different than ‘chili powder’. Chile powder (spelled with an ‘e’) is ground chile peppers, where chili (with an ‘i’) powder is a blend of ground chiles and other spices.
Sally describes red chile powder like this: “The best chiles are from Chimayo, New Mexico and the second-best chiles are from anywhere in northern New Mexico. There's something about the high altitude of northern New Mexico that seems to give them a more distinct and delicious flavor.” Other New Mexico chiles, she says, are grown in southern New Mexico’s lower elevations and desert climates especially in around the Hatch area. So, in your search for good-quality red chile powder, look for those from Chimayo and northern New Mexico first, from Hatch and southern New Mexico second.
If your community has a Mexican or Latino grocery, check there. If your community has a Mexican immigrant population, check the grocery stores (and even the Wal-Marts) in the surrounding neighborhood. I also feel comfortable recommending two online sources for red chile powder, Rancho Gordo (the company so famous for its beans) and Jane Butel Cooking (where a St. Louis friend buys her chile powder).
RED CHILE SAUCE
Time to table: 10 minutes (see TIPS)
Makes 5 cups (easily halved)
- 8 tablespoons good red chile powder (not chili powder, see left)
- 2 – 4 tablespoons sugar (essential, don’t skip!)
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 cloves garlic (or 2 tablespoons garlic powder)
- 4 cups water
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Process for several minutes, until the graininess of the chile powder disappears.
Time to table: 10 minutes
Makes 1 enchilada
- Ten-Minute Red Chile Sauce (recipe above)
- Corn tortillas (see TIPS), torn into pieces
- Cooked ground beef or pork
- Cooked beans, optional
- Diced onion
- Grated cheese, a Mexican cheese (see TIPS) or cheddar cheese
- 1 egg, fried, optional
- Chopped cilantro
- Chopped lettuce & tomato, optional
Pour 1 – 2 tablespoons Red Chile Sauce onto a microwave-safe plate. Top with tortilla, meat, beans if using, onion and cheese, then a top drizzle of Red Chile Sauce. Stop at one layer, or add a second or third. Microwave for two minutes or until hot clear through. Top with a fried egg, cilantro and lettuce and tomato if using. Devour.
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