saveur’s red chile cheese enchiladas

6    |   
Prep Time:
45 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
10 minutes

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red chile enchiladas

photo credit: Penny De Los Santos for Saveur

It’s my pleasure to announce that Tuesday Recipe has been chosen by Saveur magazine as “a site we love.” Well, right back ‘atcha, Saveur. I love you, too. So here’s a favorite Saveur recipe from their recent Texas issue. This is a bit of a weekend project, but once you’ve soaked the chiles it goes remarkably fast. And let me tell you: this is proof that if you make something at home with care, it will be far superior to anything you would get in a restaurant.


20 dried red New Mexico chiles
canola oil
10 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons sugar
12 corn tortillas
2 cups grated mozzarella
2 cups grated sharp cheddar
3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup finely crumbled cotija cheese or feta cheese (see note)
3 sour cream or lowfat plain yogurt


Put the chiles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let them soak, pressing on them occasionally with a spoon to make sure they’re fully submerged, until chiles are soft and dark, about 20 minutes. Remove from the water and pull off the stems. Slice chiles open lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Transfer chiles and 2 cups of the soaking water to a food processor or large blender and let stand to cool. Preheat an oven to 450°F.

Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a wide skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir until golden, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer garlic to the food processor or blender with the reserved chiles, reserving oil in pan. Purée chile–garlic mixture; add lime juice, cumin, sugar, and salt to taste and pulse to combine. Strain mixture through a sieve set over a large bowl, pressing on the puree with a rubber spatula to work it through the holes; discard any solids that remain. Transfer sauce to the reserved pan with the garlic-infused oil and warm over medium-low heat.

Now pour enough oil into a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat to reach a depth of 1/2 inch. When oil is hot, dip a tortilla in oil using tongs; cook until slightly crisp, about 15 seconds, flipping once. Lift out tortilla and let oil drip back into pan. Transfer fried tortilla to the pan of warm chile sauce, turn it to coat with sauce, then transfer to a plate. Sprinkle some of the mozzarella, cheddar, and onions along center of tortilla. Roll up to form an enchilada. Arrange rolled enchilada, seam side down, in an oiled 9×13-inch baking dish; repeat frying, dipping, and filling remaining tortillas. Bake until cheese is melted, 5 to 10 minutes. Serve sprinkled with cotija cheese and drizzled with sour cream.

note: cotija cheese is an aged Mexican cheese that you can find in some grocery stores and in Latin markets. It’s sharp and crumbly, so feta is a good substitute.