The Extra Step You Should Take For More Flavorful Enchilada Sauce

Few dishes hit those notes of comfort and flavor quite like enchiladas. The food takes a tender protein, wraps it in a tortilla, and douses it with sauce and cheese — what's not to like? But while a relatively straightforward dish to assemble, it's not without its caveats. Most commonly, it's pitfalls in consistency that are the issue. Whether it is not pre-frying the tortilla, overstuffing, or adding too much sauce, such errors will result in a batch of enchiladas that are not quite it. But another — equally important — element that's not to be overlooked is the sauce. After all, it's the component that ties it all together.

Not quite as bold as salsa, but more aromatic than a pasta sauce, dialing in enchilada sauce takes some practice. So for a more flavorful rendition, focus on the small details — like blooming the spices. Heating the aromatics in oil alongside the tomato sauce will maximize their flavor infusion, creating a delicious result. Let's dive into the details.

Bloom spices for bolder enchilada sauce

When extracting spices, there are a few details to consider. First, make sure to purchase whole and grind yourself. The extra effort to mortar and pestle additions like cumin and oregano will pay dividends in the resultant sauce. The second crucial step is the bloom.

Simply heating the spices in oil at the start of cooking pays a multitude of dividends in the result. The process releases compounds that will dissolve only through a fat medium. And it'll spread these flavors throughout the sauce, creating an aromatic flavor in every enchilada bite. It's essential the spices are toasted in oil for the technique to work — otherwise, they won't infuse in quite the same fashion.

Remember to pair the spices with the sauce type. A salsa verde doesn't need the same savory backbone as a more robust tomato-based sauce. Once the proper components are nailed down, returning to pre-packaged sauce will be hard; the aromatic flavors aren't the same.