The whole Enchilada

I’m going through a Mexican phase. And avocado with everything. Do you have that? Food phases? When you rediscover flavours you hadn’t tasted or cooked for a while and then you go all out and get completely hooked again and suddenly your fridge and store cupboards are overflowing with everything that defines that food fancy for weeks to come?

As a foodblogger, I usually spare you my then-food-phase by strategically spacing out phase-inspired posts. In the hope you might not notice that, in fact, I’m going through the obsessive rediscovery of a particular cuisine or ingredient. Or, God forbid, that I am using leftovers due to overstocking to satisfy said obsession.

But you know what. For this one, I don’t care. And I’m not ashamed of it. This one I have to share with you now. Not later. Now.

I’ve been making my own enchilada sauce for ages, as I don’t like what the labels of the shop bought ones tell me. And most of them are either too acidic, too salty, too sweet, not hot enough, too thin, too thick or just a glorified ketchup, tomato or chili sauce. But I suddenly realised I hadn’t shared my recipe with you yet. Shame on me!

Lots of home made recipes on the magical interweb use tomato paste or tinned tomatoes. Nothing wrong with that per sé, but I usually have a glut of fresh tomatoes hanging around, as my fridge does not feel complete without them (leftovers…yep… me again!). And lots of recipes use flour or corn flour, whereas I prefer to use the reduction method if my sauce is on the thin side. I also prefer fresh lemon or lime juice to the usual harsher vinegar.

Homemade enchilada sauce

So my recipe uses my favourite flavour-concentration technique: roast everything in your sight and yes, you can thank me later.

You can use this home-made enchilada sauce in anything from the classic baked tortilla rolls and burritos to baked nachos and as a dip. It also partners well with grilled chicken or fish. Try it in a sort of “tortilla lasagna”, layering up flour tortillas with cooked minced chicken, beef or roast vegetables, sour cream and enchilada sauce, topping with cheese and crushed nachos before baking at 180 C.

The guacamole and pico de gallo are best served alongside to keep the freshness of colour and  flavour intact. But I’ve done nachos, where I drizzled (read “blobbed”) them in between of each layer of nachos with some sour cream and grated cheese before baking to great applause. Not the most photogenic thing in the world served that way, but boy, it’s good.

Layered nachos with guacamole and salss


Turkey Enchiladas with Beans and Homemade Enchilada Sauce (serves 4 – RSF)

I’ve used sous-vide cooked turkey chunks, but you could use any cooked meat or fish such as chicken, beef, prawns or pork (stir fried, slow cooked and shredded, minced and fried or even shop bought rotisserie). Keep it vegetarian by adding roast Mediterranean veggies instead.

The enchilada sauce may make more than you need, If so, store the rest in a sterilized jar in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze in 2 tbsp portions in an ice cube tray for later use.

TIP: don’t use ready-grated cheese, as this is usually full of anti-clumping nasties you don’t need or want. Just grate your own from any good melting hard cheese like Cheddar, medium-mature Gouda or Monterey Jack. Reduced fat cheeses do not melt well and again have nasties their full-fat parents usually don’t have.

turkey enchilada homemade sauce


For the filling:

400 gr cooked turkey

8 large flour tortillas (I used wholemeal)

150 gr sweetcorn (tinned, drained and rinsed is fine)

150 gr black eyed peas, black beans or kidney beans (tinned, drained and rinsed is fine)

2 tbsp sour cream or creme fraiche

2-3 tbsp pickled jalapenos, roughly chopped

1/4 tsp ground cumin

3 tbsp freshly chopped  coriander


For the Enchilada sauce:

450 gr tomatoes of choice

1 red chilli or 1/4 tsp chilli  powder and a pinch of cayenne

1 small onion or a banana shallot, peeled

1-2 garlic cloves, peeled

1/2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp dried oregano 

a few sprigs of fresh rosemary

1-2 tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice


For the topping:  grated cheese

Optional garnishes:  fresh coriander, pickled jalapenos, spring onions


Pre-heat the oven to 190 C.Homemade enchilada sauce

For the enchilada sauce:  Toss the whole tomatoes, onion and garlic with the spices and herbs in the oil Add to an oven dish and bake for 30-40 mins. Remove the rosemary sprigs, add the lemon juice, then blend until smooth.

If too thin for your liking, add to a small sauce pan over medium heat and reduce for 10mins or until reduced to your desired consistency. Set aside.Homemade enchilada sauce

Mix together all the filling ingredients (except the tortillas). Soften the tortillas for 40secs or so in a medium microwave, so they are easier to roll without cracking,

Divide the filling over the tortillas, roll them up and place in an oven dish that will fit them snugly side by side.

Pour over  enough enchilada sauce to lightly cover, sprinkle with grated cheese and bake for 25-30 mins.

Turkey enchilada bake

Turkey enchilada bake

Homemade turkey enchilada

turkey enchilada homemade sauce

turkey enchilada homemade sauce

Serve 2 per person with a salad garnish, salsa mole, guacamole-feta dip, guacamole and/or pico de gallo.

Guacamole (serves 4 – GF LC V Vg DF RSF)

This is a fabulous basic guacamole that will suit anything and everything, including breakfast toast. Great for scooping too.

You know about the trick of dropping an avocado stone into it to keep the fresh colour if not eaten straight away, right? I forgot, so mine wasn’t as picture-perfect bright green as it should have been by the time I served it… Still delicious though! Just not pretty enough for a close-up.


2 avocados, stones removed and flesh scooped out with a spoon

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

 1 small tomato, finely chopped (optional)

a tbsp or 2 of finely chopped fresh coriander

1 red chilli, deseeded or not to taste, finely chopped

juice of 1/2 a lime



Roughly crush or mash the avocado with a fork. Add the coriander. Stir through the rest of the ingredients,  or roughly blend the rest of the ingredients roughly together with a few pulses in a mini food processor before stirring through the avocado. Add a little water if too firm. Nestle an avocado stone into the guacamole if not serving right away, cover and chill until needed.

Pico de gallo (serves 4 – GF LC V Vg DF RSF)

An easy fresh tomato salsa. Best made on the day, else may get a little overly “juicy” if you are using the most beautiful juicy tomatoes. Glorious cherry tomatoes are a real bonus in this. Buy the best on the vine ones you can afford.

turkey enchilada homemade sauce


200 gr tomatoes, roughly or finely chopped

a couple of tbsp freshly chopped coriander

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1 red chilli, deseeded or not to taste, finely chopped

juice of 1/2 lime



Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl or roughly blend with a few pulses in a mini food processor. Chill until needed.


Breakfast: Start your day with a spicy upgrade to the avocado-on-toast trend. Dry fry a tortilla on both sides, then thickly spread with guacamole and top with your eggs of choice (fried, poached or scrambled). Add pico de gallo or enchilada sauce and any leftover garnishes.

breakfast tortilla with guacamole and salsa

Snack: Drizzle your favourite nachos with any leftover enchilada sauce or pico de gallo, layer up generously with guacamole, pickled jalapenos, sour cream and grated cheese in an oven dish. Finish with sour cream and cheese on the top layer of nachos. Bake in a 180-190 C oven until the cheese has melted for a gorgeously messy Mexican feast .

Layered nachos with guacamole and salss

Dinner: Go Italian fusion. Fry off diced onion and chopped Mediterranean veggies such as peppers, mushrooms and courgette. Mix through cooked pasta with any leftover turkey and enchilada sauce.  Top with grated cheese and serve as is, or bake in a 180 C oven until golden.

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