Enchilada Sauce Ingredients?

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Enchilada sauce contains chiles, tomatoes, seasonings, and meat. Vegetarian options include beans. Red sauce uses red chiles and tomatoes, while green sauce uses green chiles and tomatillos. Scoville units measure the heat of peppers. Ancho, guajillo, and New Mexico chiles are common in enchilada sauce, with habanero being the hottest. Seasonings vary, with some cooks adding Mexican cocoa powder. Canned or dried chiles can be used.

The main ingredients of enchilada sauce are chiles, tomatoes or tomatoes, seasonings, and meat such as pork or beef. Pinto beans, black beans, or kidney beans can be substituted for meat to make vegetarian enchilada sauce. “Enchilar” is the Spanish verb meaning “to add chilies” and enchiladas are corn tortillas covered in enchilada sauce. The tortillas are usually seared first to add a great smoky flavor to the dish.

Red enchilada sauce uses red chiles and red tomatoes, while green enchilada sauce uses green chiles and tomatillos, which are green. Tomatillo means “peel tomato” and the tomatillo is relatively small in size compared to most red tomatoes. Tomatillo is a staple in ethnic Mexican food and is especially popular in Guatemalan dishes. The tomatillos help reduce the hot peppery flavor of the enchilada sauce.

Wilbur Scoville, a German scientist, invented a heat rating system in all types of peppers. Scoville units are not totally accurate as they are based on human tasting results which can be considered very subjective. However, Scoville comparisons offer an excellent way to understand the differing degrees of hotness among various chile peppers. The Scoville tests mixed the peppers with a neutral added in gradually increasing amounts until the tester could no longer taste the hot peppers.

Ancho, guajillo, and New Mexico chiles are just three of the most common types of chiles used in enchilada sauce. While growth and other conditions affect the spiciness of chiles, ancho and New Mexico have about 1,000 Scoville heat units each, and guajillo has about 5,000 Scoville units. Chile habenero is considered the hottest and can have a Scoville score of 300,000 to 500,000 units. Habenero peppers range in color from green to orange.

The seasonings used in the enchilada sauce vary, but cumin, garlic powder, cloves, and cinnamon might be used. Some Mexican cooks claim that adding Mexican cocoa powder is the secret to the best enchilada sauce. You can use powdered chiles or canned chiles in place of the fresh chiles. Dried chiles work too, but they need to be soaked in hot water before adding the enchilada sauce.

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