I have a confession to make.  I dream about cheese enchiladas.  Really.. Creamy cheese studded with finely diced onions, the sweet corn tortillas, the spicy red sauce draping the tortillas seductively with a melting cheese topping and fresh cilantro.  Truly one of my favorite dishes.  Rustic comfort food at it’s best.

When I am faced with the need to make enchiladas but do not have time to make the sauce I turn to Hatch brand red chile enchilada sauce.  This is the only commercial brand I will use.  When I want my enchiladas to be perfect with spicy and complex sauce, I will make my own.  It is simple and does not take much time.  You can control the level of spice.  Most commercial brands of enchilada sauce are bland and mild.  I like my enchilada sauce to contain a bit of a kick.

Red Chile Enchilada Sauce

3 TBS Canola Oil

3 TBS All purpose flour

2 Cups Chicken Stock or Water

1  (6oz) can Tomato Paste (Muir Glen)

1 (15 oz) can Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes drained

2 TBS Good Chile Powder

1 Tsp Cumin Seed Fresh Ground or Cumin Powder

1 Chipotle Chili in Adobo Sauce (freeze the rest of the chilies for later use)

1/2 Tsp Sugar

1 Tsp Sea Salt

1 TBS Onion Powder

To make your roux combine flour and canola oil in a sauce pan and cook stirring constantly until it resembles a paste.  About 2 minutes.

In a food processor or blender add diced tomatoes, chicken stock, tomato paste and chipotle chile.  Blend until smooth and pour into the pan with the roux.

Stir until fully combined.

Add sugar, salt, onion powder, chile powder and cumin.

Whisk until combined.

Turn stove top to medium and simmer for 5 minutes or until mixture is thickened slightly.

Cheese Enchiladas

12 Corn Tortillas

1 lbs Grated Cheese (Mexican Asadero Cheese is great in this recipe mixed with 1/2 Cheddar Cheese)

1/2  Medium yellow onion diced finely

1/4 Cup Minced fresh cilantro

3 Cups Red Chile Enchilada Sauce

Most commercial corn tortillas will be dry and crack when you try to roll them.  If you microwave the tortillas on high, in the bag, for 1 minute the tortillas will soften and be more pliable.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a casserole pan with non stick spray for easy clean up.  Spread 1 cup of red chile sauce on the bottom of the casserole pan.

Combine grated cheese, diced onion and 1/2 of the cilantro in a bowl.  Lay 1 tortilla flat on your cutting board and spoon approximately 2 tablespoons cheese mixture in the center and roll.  Place rolled tortillas in casserole pan as you are rolling them and spread 1 tsp of red chile sauce over the top of each as you go along.  This will help keep the tortillas from cracking.  If they do crack do not worry they will still taste great.

After you have rolled all of the tortillas pour over the top of the enchiladas any remaining sauce and spread to cover the enchiladas completely.   Sprinkle some cheese on top of the enchiladas.  Place casserole dish in the oven to bake for 20 minutes.  Top with remaining cilantro before serving.

This dish goes well with cilantro cumin rice.  Add 1 tbs freshly ground cumin seed with 2 tbs canola oil and 1/2 cup minced cilantro.  Mix with 4-6 cups hot cooked rice.  Season with salt and pepper.  Squeeze the juice of 1/2 fresh lime over the rice and stir to combine.  You can use either white or brown rice.