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Authentic Dried Chile-Pepito Enchilada Sauce

Rated as 4.7 out of 5 Stars

"Real enchilada sauce made from dried chiles and optional ground pumpkin seeds, rich with indigenous flavors. Use in any traditional enchilada recipe."
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1 h 10 m servings 114
Original recipe yields 12 servings


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  1. Bring the water to a boil, and set aside. Rinse and pat the ancho chiles dry, then tear out the stems and cores, and tear open the chiles. Scrape out seeds and veins, leaving the flesh intact. Tear the chiles into 1- to 2-inch pieces.
  2. Place the ancho pieces, onion, and garlic into a dry cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, and toast, stirring constantly, until the chiles are fragrant and show browned spots, about 5 minutes. In a small separate skillet over medium heat, toast the ground cumin just until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Watch carefully, the cumin will burn easily. Pour the toasted cumin into the skillet with the ancho mixture; pour in the hot water.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the ancho peppers are rehydrated and moist and the mixture is reduced, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt, agave syrup, and lemon juice. Remove from heat and let cool for about 15 minutes.
  4. Pour the ancho mixture into a blender, filling the pitcher no more than halfway full. Hold down the lid of the blender with a folded kitchen towel, and carefully start the blender, using a few quick pulses to get the mixture moving before leaving it on to puree. Stop the blender after about 30 seconds, and add the chile de arbol peppers, pumpkin seeds, oregano, and roma tomatoes. Puree in batches if needed until smooth and thickened.
  5. Return the blended sauce to the cast-iron skillet, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring often, for about 15 more minutes to blend flavors.


  • Cook's Note
  • Excellent for making traditional enchiladas. Simply warm corn tortillas in a little oil, dip in sauce, and then fill with shredded cheese, black beans and perhaps a tablespoon or two of roast vegetable such as eggplant or butternut squash. Put a couple tablespoons of oil in the bottom of a flat roasting pan and cover with a ladle of sauce. Line up filled tortillas in the pan and cover with sauce. Top with a little shredded cheese and bake in a very slow oven (about 300 degrees F/150 degrees C) for approx. 30 minutes to blend flavors.
  • Partner Tip
  • Reynolds® Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 114 calories; 5 15.8 4.7 0 15 Full nutrition

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Read all reviews 8
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Amazing flavor. Authentic smokey flavor. Used honey to balance the bitterness the skins left and used guajillo and Padilla peppers. Took 35 min and was well worth it.

I liked this one better than the other one I tried forRed Enchilada Sauce on this website....more depth of flavor. I was lazy and just put everything in the crockpot to simmer while I was at wo...

Prepared this in a NO salt method. Very good sauce. As mentioned by another review, I used honey to balance the bitter. Wasn't sure initially as to me enchilada sauce doesn't have a great tas...

Love the authenticity. I used what I had and omitted what I didn't and it was still fantastic. A keeper.

I loved the smokey, authentic flavor, but I had to play with it to get it to be really great. In the future I'll use my homemade chicken stock instead of water. (I actually cooked it down and ...

Truly authentic, I added some chicken broth to make enchiladas. I didn't use chili arbol, instead I used chipotle chilis that my husband made last summer. It's a great sauce!!

Outstanding! Gonna make it again. Used fresh, not dried Serrano’s.

it is a very good sauce! it kind of tastes like mole .. I think I will to eat my leftover sauce into a mole adding cinnamon chocolate ect... but overall it is a good sauce in will be a must in m...