Cheese enchiladas are a classic Mexican dish that can be very quick and easy using prepared sauce and tortillas, or it can be a standout dish when made from scratch. If you are used to using store-bought tortillas and sauce, this will be a significant improvement from that.
I’ll show you how to make the sauce and tortillas to make this simple dish one of your favorites.
There is nothing wrong with using prepared sauce and tortillas. You can skip past those sections if you want, but what fun is that?
To make Corn Tortillas:
- 2 cups of Masa Harina (Mexican corn flour)
- 2 cups of warm water
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- Mix the flour and salt in a mixing bowl.
- Add half the water and mix. Once all the water is absorbed, add about a tablespoon of water at a time and mix until a smooth dough forms. The dough should be pliable and not sticky.
- Pull about a two-inch diameter ball (slightly larger than a golf ball; this amount makes about 12) and roll until smooth in your palms.
- Place a piece of wax paper on a countertop or hard surface, and place the ball of dough in the center.
- Place another piece of wax paper on top of the ball, and using the bottom of a smooth casserole dish (clear works best so you can see the tortilla) and press firmly until the dough ball is flattened and thin, about 7 inches in diameter.
- Place the flattened dough on a hot and dry skillet for about 45 seconds on each side to cook the dough into a tortilla.
To make the Enchilada Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 5 ancho chiles (dried)
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, diced
- 1 cup of tomato sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon of marjoram
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1 cup of water reserved from soaking ancho chiles
- Cut the stem off the chiles and shake out any loose seeds. You do not have to get them all, just what freely falls out.
- Toast the chiles in a hot and dry skillet for 2-3 minutes on each side and flip as soon as they start smoking.
- Place the toasted chiles in a bowl of warm water for 20 minutes.
- Cook onions and garlic in a frying pan with the oil until translucent, about five minutes.
- Remove the chiles from the water and roughly chop.
- Place the onions and garlic, tomato sauce, chiles, all spices, salt, sugar, and 1 cup of water reserved from the chiles in a blender or food processer. Blend until smooth. Add more water if needed to get a smooth but thick consistency. Taste and correct seasoning.
To make the Enchiladas:
- 8 corn tortillas
- 2 cups of enchilada sauce
- 6 ounces of shredded monterey jack cheese
- Sliced onion for garnish
- In a small skillet, pour enough vegetable oil to get about 1/2″ depth and warm on medium-high.
- Once the oil is hot, place a single tortilla with tongs in the hot oil for about 5 seconds, and flip for 5 seconds more. You are not cooking the tortilla, just coating it in hot oil. Place on a paper towel to dry. This makes the tortilla pliable and less likely to break when rolling.
- Fill the tortilla with shredded cheese and carefully roll, leaving the overlapped seam on the bottom. Spread a thin layer of the sauce in a casserole dish, then lay the rolled enchiladas on top.
- Once the dish is full, spread a layer of sauce on top, followed by more shredded cheese to your liking.
- Place in a 350° oven for 20 minutes. Garnish with onion before serving.
It may take a little practice to get the raw tortillas thin enough and to find the technique for not ripping them when picked up. Once you have done a few it comes naturally.
You can adjust the sauce to your liking. Experiment with more or less tomato sauce, dried chiles, and amounts and types of spices to suit your taste. You can also try using chicken or beef stock instead of the reserved chile liquid.
You can also use different cheeses depending on your preference and availability. Cheddar, mozzarella, and a variety of Mexican cheeses work as well.
If you like this recipe, let me know in the comments below, and don’t forget to share and subscribe! Enjoy!