Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Recipe: simple red sauce

Time for a confession; I have bought enchilada kits from the supermarket in the past, those boxed sets which include tortillas and concentrate sauce. There's nothing wrong with them and for the cook with little time on their hands, they are a great cupboard standby. However, they are expensive and rather restrictive in their serving size.

Therefore, I've been searching for a good, all-round red sauce which is quick and easy to make. If you double the recipe, you have a nice quantity of sauce which you can freeze for another time. If you don't have the various spices, experiment! This amount makes just over a pint (roughly 20 fl oz).

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 red onion, diced
2 tsp garlic, minced (about 2 cloves)
2 tbsp masa harina (you can substitute cornflour)
2 tbsp ancho powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 cayenne powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp oregano (or some fresh coriander)
1 pt vegetable stock, warm
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp sugar

Heat the oil in a saucepan and gently fry the onion and garlic until softened. Add the masa harina and stir well before adding the spices. Let it all cook through (making sure it doesn't burn) for 2 mins.

Gradually whisk the stock in the onion spice mix and slowly bring to the boil before adding the tomato paste and sugar. Allow to simmer, partically covered, for 30 mins, stirring every now and again. The sauce should thicken and reduce a little.

Season to taste. For an extra rich sauce, whisk in a grated cube of dark chocolate at the end of the cooking process.

This is a great base for:
Enchiladas - just add a little sauce to shredded, cooked meat and fill several tortillas before bathing the whole lot in the remaining sauce and sprinkling with cheese.
Tacos - again, you can add a little of the sauce to cooked meat or fish and use this in taco fillings

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