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Darlene’s Chicken Enchiladas with Red Sauce Recipe didn’t come easy.  Darlene has been making “from scratch” Enchiladas for as long as I can remember.  She doesn’t measure, just uses experience and good judgement.  They are alway delicious.

Finally I stood beside her taking pictures and writing down numbers and ingredients until I am sure I have her recipe down cold.  Now you do to.  Oh, make the red sauce from dried chiles, it makes all the difference. There you have it, Chicken Enchiladas With Red Sauce.- jughandle

Red Sauce Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Pin Recipe

Darlene's Red Enchilada Sauce

Darlene makes great enchiladas, but wasn't happy with the sauce. She and I tweaked and tweaked, borrowing ideas from many chefs. Finally, she was happy with what we came up with here. Hope your are too. - Jughandle
Course Sauce
Cuisine Mexican
Keywords Darlene, Red Enchilada Sauce
Cooking Method Boiled, Pan Fried
Hot/Cold Dish Hot
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 24 Ounces
Author Darlene Myer

What You Will Need:

  • 3 cups water - for reconstituting the dried chiles
  • 2 ounces dried guajillo chiles - stemmed and seeded
  • 1 ounce dried New Mexico chiles - stemmed and seeded
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil divided in half
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion - chopped
  • 1 medium size Roma tomato - seeded and chopped
  • 1 Clove Garlic - pressed or minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
After Cooking To Adjust Flavors:
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar - to take any bitter edge off. Optional
  • .5 tsp Kosher salt - if needed


  • Stem and seed your dried chilies by cutting off the stem, rolling the pod between your hands, then pouring out the seeds.
  • In a heavy saucepan, add 3 c of cold water the prepped dried chiles and bring to a boil.
  • When you achieve a rolling boil reduce the heat to simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Or longer to make the chilies tender.
  • Drain the cooked chiles and reserve the cooking liquid in a measuring cup to use later.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
  • Saute the onion until softened stirring occasionally which should take about 5 minutes.
  • Introduce the tomato, garlic, salt, oregano, smoked paprika, and cumin to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes more.
  • Transfer the mixture to a blender adding the chiles plus all of the reserved cooking liquid. Puree until smooth.
  • Strain the sauce and discard the pulp.
  • After straining you should have 2 cups of sauce.
  • Use water to thin the sauce to 3 cups.
  • Heat the remaining oil in the same pan over high heat.
  • Slowly add the sauce being careful to avoid splattering yourself and the kitchen. If your pan is not large enough to hold the whole thing, do it in batches
  • Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, don't answer the phone or drink a beer.
  • Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
  • Taste and adjust flavor with the additional salt and vinegar if needed
  • Allow to cool and store in the refrigerator until ready to use or freeze flat in gallon freezer bags for up to 3 months.


You can freeze it flat in large freezer bags for up to 3 months.


Nutrition Facts
Darlene's Red Enchilada Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 23 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 102mg4%
Potassium 75mg2%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 980IU20%
Vitamin C 1.7mg2%
Calcium 3mg0%
Iron 0.3mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Chicken Enchilada Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Pin Recipe

Darlene's Chicken Enchiladas with Red Sauce

Long time family favorite. I've never seen it fail to satisfy even the most hungry Mexican food lovers.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keywords Chicken Enchiladas, Enchiladas, Enchiladas with Red Sauce
Protein Chicken
Cooking Method Baking
Hot/Cold Dish Hot
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Darlene Myer

What You Will Need:

  • 2 lbs Chicken Breast - 3 large breasts grilled then deboned and shredded.
  • 1 lb Pepper Jack Cheese - grated coarsely
  • 3 cups Darlene's Red Enchilada Sauce - see recipe for sauce
  • 8 Flour Tortillas - 8 inch fits the pan
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice - to squeeze over shredded chicken



  • Preheat oven to 350 deg F
  • Shred your grilled chicken and squeeze the juice of one lime over it and mix
  • grate the cheese
  • Put the chicken and cheese in individual bowls and move to assembly area
  • Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  • Cover the bottom with a ladle of sauce
  • You will need two pie pan to sauce and assemble the enchiladas.
  • Put a ladle of sauce in the bottom of one of the pie pans.

Method of Assembly:

  • Dip one of the tortillas in the sauce, flip and dip to cover the other side
  • Transfer to the clean pie pan for further assembly
  • Place a 1/2 cup of shredded chicken and 1/2 cup of shredded cheese (about a small handful) in the center of the sauced tortilla and roll tightly.
  • Lay the rolled enchilada in the 9x13 inch pan
  • Repeat until all 8 enchiladas are in the pan. The will be tight, squeeze them in
  • Cover the top of the panned enchiladas with at least a ladle of sauce
  • Use the remaining cheese to sprinkle on top of the whole thing
  • Bake at 350 deg F for 45 minutes
  • Either serve them or cover with foil, cool and freeze them for later.


Nutrition Facts
Darlene's Chicken Enchiladas with Red Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 437 Calories from Fat 198
% Daily Value*
Fat 22g34%
Saturated Fat 12g75%
Cholesterol 123mg41%
Sodium 667mg29%
Potassium 530mg15%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 41g82%
Vitamin A 595IU12%
Vitamin C 2.1mg3%
Calcium 461mg46%
Iron 1.9mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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