Yeah, you can buy it. Check the cans, but most that I’ve seen on the shelves are gluten free, using cornstarch as a thickening agent. However, many brands contain soy and preservatives and other icky things. So why not just make it? It’s easy, it makes your house smell like roasting chilies (yum!), and you can control the heat and consistency, as well as the fat and sodium content. A word of caution: the original recipe for this sauce, as well as many recipes I’ve seen on the web, calls for flour or bread crumbs to thicken. So if you are having enchiladas at a restaurant or someone else’s home, be sure to verify their sauce is gluten free before you dig in.
We recently made chicken and black bean enchiladas for company using this sauce recipe, and they were a big hit. Not only were there many compliments, everyone had large second portions.
Gluten-Free Enchilada Sauce
based on Californio Colorado, from The Border Cookbook by Cheryl Alters Jamison
makes approx. 4 cups
3 Tablespoons oil
3 Tablespoons gluten-free flour (I used my usual rice flour/cornstarch blend)
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 teaspoon granulated garlic)
1 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano (the other stuff works too)
1/2 cup ground dried red chili peppers (Ancho, New Mexico, Anaheim, or whatever you prefer)
5 cups water
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir, cooking until slightly brown. Add garlic and chili, stir well. Add the water slowly while stirring constantly (the chili powder likes to clump). Add the vinegar and salt. Simmer 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce has reduced to about 4 cups (or desired consistency). Use it to make your favorite enchiladas. This sauce freezes well.
I get my chili powder from Penzey’s Spices. I adore the taste of the ground Ancho chili peppers, and I mix in the Medium Hot Chili Powder to get the heat I want.