Enchilada Sauce

Cooked tomato-based sauces such as this one are more common in some parts of the Southwest than in others. It’s a good bet for those who are wary of super-hot chile sauces—it’s milder and has a more familiar flavor. This is flavored with what are known as the “Spanish seasonings.”

Makes about 2 cups

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium green bell pepper, minced
  • 2 cups chopped ripe juicy tomatoes,
    or one 14- to 16-ounce can diced tomatoes, lightly drained
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced,
    or one 4-ounce can chopped mild green chiles
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a deep saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and sauté over medium-low heat until the onion is translucent.

Add the bell pepper and continue to sauté for another minute or so, then add all the remaining ingredients and simmer over very low heat, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and use as directed in enchilada recipes.

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