Like most Austinites who’ve been here longer than a few years, I have become somewhat of a connoisseur of Tex-Mex cuisine. I love comparing notes with fellow foodies about which restaurant’s margaritas, salsas, and enchiladas are the best in town, and although we rarely agree, it’s a nice way to build up a good appetite.
There are several excellent bloggers who write extensively about Tex-Mex home cooking; my favorites are superstars Lisa Fain of Homesick Texan and Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes. Though neither writer is based in Texas, their recipes demonstrate that staples like tacos, enchiladas, and burritos lend themselves beautifully to the peppers, greens and tomatoes that grow nearly year-round in Austin. As I’ve experimented with their recipes and others, I have learned that most Tex-Mex food is easy to prepare with everyday ingredients and tools in your kitchen. Take for example this vegan enchilada sauce. If you can use a knife, a stove, and blender, you’ve got what it takes to make killer Tex-Mex.
Half of the sauce from this recipe will cover a 9×13 pan of enchiladas, leaving the rest for whatever creative use you can dream up. Here are some of my favorite things to do with enchilada sauce, besides topping enchiladas:
- over a few fried eggs with tortillas
- with soy chorizo and grits (vegan!)
- with melted cheese, scrambled egg and chorizo on a tostada shell
At a party
- as a dipping sauce for Mmmmpanadas or quesadillas
- over cocktail meatballs instead of barbecue sauce
- swirled with a little creme fraiche as a dipping sauce for sweet potato fries
- over your favorite tamales, burritos, chili rellenos, or enchiladas
- on a grilled chicken breast with a little cheese and fresh cilantro
- with black beans and rice
- as part of this slow cooker machaca recipe
- or this slow cooker chicken soup recipe
Whatever you decide to do with it, I hope you enjoy this simple, healthy enchilada sauce!
Red Enchilada Sauce (yields about 6 cups sauce)
1 yellow onion
3-5 mild or sweet peppers, any variety
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
2, 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes and jalapeno peppers
1, 15-ounce can vegetable broth
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon cumin
To prepare sauce: dice onion and peppers. Peel and mince garlic. In a large sauce pan, cook onions, peppers, and garlic in olive oil over medium-low heat until they are very mushy, about 15 minutes. Increase heat to medium and add tomatoes, vegetable broth, chili powder, salt, and cumin. Stir to combine. Cook sauce, covered, for 15 minutes to develop the flavors. Remove sauce from heat and allow to cool before processing it in a blender until smooth. Store finished sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days, or in the freezer for up to a month.