Nothing says comfort quite like home-style enchiladas—lightly fried corn tortillas coated in mild red chile sauce and rolled around shredded chicken and cheese. This version is not baked, but is made with hot ingredients and goes straight from pan to plate in the true Mexican style, so the enchiladas don’t get soggy.
Red Chile Enchiladas
For the red chile sauce:
- 10 large dried guajillo or ancho chiles
- 1 plum tomato, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves
- Fine sea salt
- 2 tsp. vegetable oil
- 3 Tbs. finely minced white onion
For the enchiladas:
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) safflower or canola oil
- Fine sea salt
- 18 corn tortillas
- 1 1/2 cups (9 oz./270 g) shredded cooked chicken
- 3/4 cup (3 oz./90 g) crumbled cotija or feta cheese, plus more for serving
- 1 medium white onion, minced, plus sliced white onion rings for serving
- Chopped fresh cilantro for serving
1. To make the red chile sauce, heat a large, heavy fry pan or griddle over medium-high heat. Wipe the chiles clean with a dry paper towel. Working in batches, place the chiles in the hot pan and press with a spatula, holding them flat for about 10 seconds each. Turn the chiles and press flat on the other side for 20 to 30 seconds longer, being careful not to let them burn. Transfer the chiles to a plate and let cool. When cool enough to handle, remove the stems, seeds and ribs and tear the chiles into pieces. Transfer to a bowl, pour in 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) water and stir well. Let soak at room temperature, stirring several times, until well softened, about 1 hour.
2. Transfer the chiles and their soaking liquid to a blender. Add the tomato, garlic and 1 tsp. salt and process to a thick, smooth puree.
3. In a fry pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until just softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour the chile puree into the fry pan. Add 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) water to the unrinsed blender, swirl to wash down the residue of the puree from the sides and add to the pan. Fry the sauce, stirring constantly, until fragrant and slightly thickened, 3 to 5 minutes.
4. Add enough water to make 4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l) sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Set aside 2 cups of the sauce for use in the recipe. Store the remaining sauce for another use in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
5. In another 12-inch (30-cm) fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Working in batches, grasp the tortillas with tongs and fry in oil until pliable, 30 seconds each. Transfer the tortillas to the fry pan with the enchilada sauce and toss to coat, then place on a work surface. Divide the chicken, cheese, and minced onion among the tortillas and roll each tortilla around the chicken to form tight rolls.
6. To serve, transfer the enchiladas to individual plates, and sprinkle with more cheese, onion rings and cilantro. Serve. Serves 6 to 8.
Bring a true taste of Mexico to your table with our mouthwatering collection of down-home dishes in, Rustic Mexican, by Deborah Schneider.