This is my go-to recipe for red sauce enchiladas. Fast, incredible flavor, and stress free to make. Sound too good to be true?
Don’t let the simple ingredient list deceive you. The combo of roasted tomatoes, cumin, and chipotles in adobo creates a where-have-you-been-all-my-life flavor that is far superior to anything you can get at your local Mexican joints.
Red Sauce Enchiladas Recipe
First things first. If you have enchilada sauce in a can somewhere in your pantry, start by placing that can at the very bottom of the nearest trash receptacle.
Then get three tomatoes roasting in the oven at 400F.
And saute 1/2 an onion and 3 garlic cloves in a dollop of oil. You can chop roughly as all of this is going in the blender eventually.
You’ve got options for the chicken. Rotisserie chicken will work if you want to streamline this recipe even further, or you can poach a chicken breast for 15-20 minutes in simmering water. That’s what I did for this batch.
Okay, in about 10-15 minutes the tomatoes will be roasted ‘enough’.
Add them to the onions along with 3 chipotles in adobo, 1 Tablespoon adobo sauce, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano, 1 cup stock, and some freshly ground pepper.
If you’re new to chipotles in adobo you can find them in the Latin goods section of most grocery stores.
1-2 Tablespoons of chili powder would be a viable substitute for the chipotles in adobo, but I think it’s worth it to keep a few cans of the chipotles in adobo on hand for recipes like this one. They create a rich, complex flavor that is hard to duplicate.
After the mixture comes to a uniform temp (2-3 minutes), add it to a blender and combine well. Return to saucepan and simmer on mediumish heat.
Take a taste for seasoning. For this batch I added another pinch of salt and another pinch of oregano.
Also note that using 3 chipotles in adobo creates some real heat. If you want a less spicy dish you can dial back and use only 1 or 2 chipotles.
After warming up the tortillas (I used the oven for a couple minutes), add a dollop of the enchilada sauce to a plate. Dredge a tortilla in it and flip. This ensures you have some of the delish sauce inside each enchilada. Fill with chicken, cheese, and a few bits of raw onion.
Roll tight and place on a baking dish. You can line the bottom of the baking dish with some enchilada sauce to prevent sticking if you want.
Cover the enchiladas with the remaining sauce and give ’em a jiggle so the sauce seeps in between them.
Bake at 400F for 8-10 minutes, or until you can’t wait anymore.
You’ve got lots of choices for garnish. Of course, it’s tough to beat some Mexican Crema and a sprinking of Cotija cheese.
Please oh please give these Red Sauce Enchiladas a try if you’ve never made your own enchilada sauce before. By keeping just a few ingredients on hand you’ll always have the option of eating the best Mexican food in town in less than 30 minutes.
- 3 tomatoes
- 1/2 onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 3 chipotles in adobo
- 1 Tabespoon adobo sauce
- 1 cup stock (or water)
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 chicken breast
- 8-10 corn tortillas
- Monterey Jack cheese
- 2-3 Tablespoons finely chopped onion
- Crema (optional)
- Cotija cheese (optional)
- Basic Guacamole (optional)
Start by roasting 3 tomatoes in the oven at 400F.
If you are poaching the chicken, cover the chicken breast with cold water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and let cook until the chicken is no longer pink inside, approx. 20 minutes. You can also add salt, onion, and cilantro to the simmering water for a hint of additional flavor. Once cooked, set aside to cool and then shred using two forks.
Saute a roughly chopped 1/2 onion and 3 whole, peeled garlic cloves in a dollop of oil.
Add the roasted tomatoes to the onions and garlic, along with 3 chipotles in adobo, 1 Tablespoon adobo sauce, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano, 1 cup stock (or water), 1/2 teaspoon salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
Let the mixture simmer for a few minutes and then add it to a blender. Blend well and return to the saucepan. Taste for seasoning. ( I added additional pinches of salt and oregano to this batch). Let simmer for 5-10 minutes on mediumish heat.
Meanwhile, heat up 8-10 corn tortillas. I covered them with damp paper towels and nuked them for 60 seconds.
Add a dollop of the enchilada sauce to a plate. Dredge a tortilla in the sauce and flip. Fill with shredded chicken, chunks of cheese, and some bits of finely chopped raw onion. Roll tight and place on a baking dish. You can line the baking dish with enchilada sauce to prevent sticking.
Continue rolling the enchiladas until all the chicken is gone. A single chicken breast will make 7-9 enchiladas. Cover the enchiladas with the remaining sauce and give them a jiggle.
Bake at 400F for 8-10 minutes
Serve immediately with your choice of Crema, Cotija cheese, Arroz Rojo, and Guacamole.
Mexican oregano works really well in this dish so use that if you have some, but you will still get a great result without it.
I used a homemade chicken stock but virtually any stock (or even water) would work for this dish.
Be sure to warm up the tortillas before building the enchiladas. This makes them easier to roll.