In March of this year the nice folks over at America's Test Kitchen hooked me up with an early copy of Foolproof Preserving a month before it's official release. The months since have been a non-stop love affair with the healthy, delicious and FEASIBLE recipes within the cookbook. Highly recommend this cookbook!
However, there was one dark cloud that hung over this foodie love spree - an evil squirrel destroying my garden, happiness and dreams of homemade, gluten-free enchilada sauce.
Let me back this up. One of jarring realization of moving to the South has been that, for reasons I cannot comprehend, most restaurants in the area thicken their enchilada sauce with flour. Gasp! This brutal reality has put a halt on my enchilada loving ways and left me turning to high-sodium, canned versions, or worse, going without enchiladas. Seeing a healthy, gluten-free (the way enchilada sauce is supposed to be) recipe in this cookbook sent my heart soaring, until the deviant squirrel had my tomatoes hitting the ground tainted with his squirrel germs!
Let the record show that this dastardly rodent took to only eating 1/3 of each tomato he thieved at their moment of peak ripeness leaving nothing but heartbreak and scat in his wake. I also have a theory he murdered the nice squirrel that frequented our backyard, but I digress.
After months of dealing with squirrel debauchery I finally put aside my pride and dreams of making this sauce with tomatoes I grew in my garden for the greater good - enchiladas. Fortunately, I have access to an incredible farmers market - The Durham Farmer's Market - and can get organic, locally grown tomatoes better than I could have grown sans rambunctious, rotten rodents.
Without further ado or deviations into squirrel problems, here is the Red Enchilada Sauce recipe from my friends over at ATK.
Red Enchilada Sauce from Foolproof Preserving from America’s Test Kitchen
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Process: 40–55 minutes
Yield: four 1-pint jars
Why This Recipe Works: In pursuit of the perfect red enchilada sauce, made with height-of-the-season tomatoes, we surveyed existing recipes. Knowing that we wanted to process our sauce, we needed to avoid using oil for safety reasons. We swapped out the usual chile powder for fruity-tasting dried ancho chiles and smoky chipotle chile powder. Blooming the dried chiles along with the spices softened them, and their complex flavors infused our sauce.
To safely can our sauce, we needed to acidify it, but we found that lemon or lime juice distracted from the deep chile notes. Instead, we turned to the clean, bright flavor of cider vinegar, which rounded out and enlivened our rich enchilada sauce. 5 tablespoons of ancho chile powder can be used in place of the whole dried chiles.
5 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and torn into 1/2-inch pieces, seeds reserved (1 1/4 cups)
1 tablespoon chipotle chile powder
2 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
2 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
½ cup water
1 onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon salt
5 pounds tomatoes, cored and chopped coarse
6 tablespoons cider vinegar
1. Set canning rack in large pot, place four 1-pint jars in rack, and add water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to simmer over medium-high heat, then turn off heat and cover to keep hot.
2. Toast anchos with reserved seeds, chile powder, coriander, and cumin in Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in water, onion, garlic, and salt and cook until onions and anchos are softened and water has evaporated, 7 to 9 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and bring to simmer. Cook, stirring often, until mixture measures 10 cups, 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Working in batches, process mixture in blender until very smooth, about 1 minute. Strain sauce through fine-mesh strainer into clean pot, firmly pressing solids with ladle to extract as much juice as possible; discard solids. Return sauce to brief boil over medium-high heat, then remove from heat.
4. Place dish towel flat on counter. Using jar lifter, remove jars from pot, draining water back into pot. Place jars upside down on towel and let dry for 1 minute. Add 11/2 tablespoons vinegar to each hot jar. Using funnel and ladle, portion sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Slide wooden skewer along inside of jar to remove air bubbles.
5a. For short-term storage: Let sauce cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate. (Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 months. Before using, simmer sauce to thicken slightly, about 10 minutes.)
5b. For long-term storage: While jars are hot, wipe rims clean, add lids, and screw on rings until fingertip-tight; do not overtighten. Return pot of water with canning rack to boil. Lower jars into water, cover, bring water back to boil, then start timer. Cooking time will depend on your altitude: Boil 40 minutes for up to 1,000 feet, 45 minutes for 1,001 to 3,000 feet, 50 minutes for 3,001 to 6,000 feet, or 55 minutes for 6,001 to 8,000 feet. Turn off heat and let jars sit in pot for 5 minutes. Remove jars from pot and let cool for 24 hours. Remove rings, check seal, and clean rims. (Sealed jars can be stored for up to 1 year. Before using, simmer sauce to thicken slightly, about 10 minutes.)
Double all ingredients and cook sauce in a large stock pot. In step 2, increase onion cooking time to 15 mintues and sauce simmering time to 20 minutes.
Use this sauce in the Butternut Squash Enchilada recipe.
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