Cheese Enchiladas with New Mexican Red Chile Sauce

By • April 19, 2015 0 Comments

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Author Notes: These are Tex-Mex enchiladas. Cheesy, gooey, comfort-food goodness with a complex sauce and just the right amount of spice. I've made them vegetarian, but they would work well with some chicken mixed in. The sauce recipe will make almost twice what you need. Use the extra for a 2nd night of enchiladas, or drizzle over eggs, chicken, beans, etc. It's tasty! Emily

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Serves 4

Red sauce

  • 3/4 cup New Mexican Red Chile ground
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon bittersweet cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar

Enchiladas

  • 8 small corn or corn/wheat tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cups pepper jack cheese, grated
  • 1 1/2 cups aged sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup refried beans
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  1. Whisk the ground chili, cumin, stock, and 2 cups water together in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat.
  2. Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and the flour and whisk until the mixture turns golden brown. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
  3. Add the butter/flour mixture (roux) to the chili, whisk, and simmer for 10 minutes. During the last minute add the salt, pepper, cocoa powder, and sugar.
  4. Saute the onion with 1 tbsp olive oil until soft and slightly caramelized. Set aside in a bowl.
  5. Combine the pepper jack, cheddar, and bell pepper in a bowl.
  6. Prep the tortillas. There are numerous methods for doing this - you want to lightly cook/fry/bake them so the retain their structure and texture when they're baked in the enchilada. I prefer to pan fry them in a stack. I brush a small amount of oil on the bottom of a skillet and heat it up. Then lay two tortillas on top. Brush the top tortilla with a light coating of oil. Once the bottom one is lightly browned, flip them over (quickly!) with a spatula and add a 3rd tortilla to the stack. Brush that tortilla with oil. Flip when the bottom one is lightly browned. Repeat until you have eight cooked tortillas, then transfer them all to a plate and set aside.
  7. Preheat oven to 350.
  8. Create your assembly line. Gather the onion, beans, cheese, sauce, and tortillas on the counter, though set aside 1 cup of the cheese to top the enchiladas before they go in the oven.
  9. Pour 1/2 cup (or more) of the red sauce in the bottom of a 9 /13 inch baking dish and spread evenly over the surface.
  10. Dip a tortilla in the sauce and then lay in the bottom of the dish. Dollop a bit of beans down the middle of the tortilla, then some of the sautéed onion, and the cheese mixture. Roll the tortilla and nestle seam side down at one end of the dish.
  11. Repeat with each tortilla until the dish is full.
  12. Pour some of the extra sauce over the top to be sure the tortillas are well covered (though not drowning). There will be leftover sauce!
  13. Top with the remaining cheese mixture.
  14. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, then broil for another minute or two until the top is lightly browned.
  15. Let sit for a few minutes before serving. Top with sour cream, cilantro, guacamole, avocado, and a side of chips, or whatever you prefer. Once the enchiladas are on the plates, scrape the leftover sauce and cheese from the bottom of the baking dish into a bowl for further chip dipping. Your guests will thank you.

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