If you’re pressed for time, just use a 28-ounce can of your favorite enchilada sauce. But this homemade enchilada sauce takes literally just a few minutes to throw together, and it’s worth it. Traditional enchilada sauce calls for roasting and grinding your own chiles, but preground chili powder speeds things up dramatically. You can use regular chili powder, or any kind of specialty chili powder you like.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and onions and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and spices and sauté 1 minute more. Add the tomatoes and broth, bring to a boil, and simmer 10 minutes. Puree the sauce in two batches in a blender. Thin it with additional chicken broth if needed (it should be fairly thin—about the consistency of plain tomato sauce). Season to taste with salt and pepper, and add additional cayenne if you like.
- While the sauce simmers, make the enchiladas. Combine the beef, onion, a pinch of salt and a grind or two of black pepper in a large skillet, and sauté over medium heat until the beef is browned.
- When the sauce is ready, spread 1/2 cup of it in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Stir 1/2 cup of the sauce into the meat mixture, along with the green chiles and 1/3 cup of the green onions. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay the tortillas on a large baking sheet, and brush both sides with oil. Bake just until the tortillas are softened and warmed, about 3 minutes. Stack the tortillas, and cover them with a damp towel to keep warm. Leave the oven on for the enchiladas.
- Divide the meat mixture and 1 cup of the cheese evenly among the tortillas, roll up, and place seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Pour the remaining sauce evenly on top, and top with the remaining cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted and the enchiladas are heated through, about 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining green onions and chopped fresh cilantro, and serve with your favorite toppings.
Recipe by Tara Tuckwiller