Dinner Tonight: Chile Colorado Recipe

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Dinner Tonight: Chile Colorado Recipe

I’ve been dreaming about enchiladas recently. I’m not sure where the hankering came from, but it certainly wasn’t helped after I had some spectacularly bad ones at a local Tex-Mex outlet. I decided to tackle them myself. There is no standard sauce, and some can get very complicated. When I found this basic red sauce that contained six ingredients and could be done in less than 20 minutes, I gave it a shot. To my amazement, there’s not a tomato to be found in it. Shows how much I know about enchiladas.

All that color actually comes from the chili powder. It couldn’t be further away from the red sauce dripping off most cheese laden enchiladas. That’s mostly a good thing. Instead of sweet and sticky, it’s savory and rich. But it also is a little pungent and overpowering. Perhaps that’s just my surprised taste buds encountering the real deal for the first time. I snatched most of the recipe from Viva New Mexico, but also added some thoughts from Saveur’s Mrs. Sanchez’s Red Chile Sauce. Most noticeably, I added real garlic instead of garlic powder. The sauce is supposed to be excellent on burritos and beans, but I just had it with some basic enchiladas. There is a very easy enchilada recipe in Rick Bayless's Mexican Everyday.


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil (or lard)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons red chile powder
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt


  1. 1.

    Heat the oil over medium in a sauce pan. Whisk in the flour, until it has darkened slightly, about 1 minute.

  2. 2.

    Add the red chile powder and garlic, stir until combined and then let cook for 1 minute.

  3. 3.

    Pour in the water slowly, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.

  4. 4.

    Season with salt, simmer the sauce on low for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.