Ancho Chile Cheese Enchiladas

Last month, I brought back a big ‘ol sack of Ancho chiles from the Fiesta grocery store in my old Dallas neighborhood, and thought that it was time that I put them to good use as a sauce for cheese enchildas.

I know that I always say this, but it really is so easy, it’s crazy not to make this at home.

Now, I have to tell you that what makes these so great is that I use corn tortillas that I make myself, and I don’t roll my corn tortillas out too thin; just thin enough to be able to roll up with a handful of cheese inside. That way, even after they’ve cooked in the oven for a bit, they don’t fall apart out of sheer wimpiness, which can happen with the store-bought kind.

Last time I made these, I actually added Mimolette cheese from Holland to my usual cheddar-mozzerella mixture, because it was mild and orange, and you just have to have that good orange color for proper Tex-Mex.

Use whatever cheese that you can find that’s a good melter, and that can hold its own with the fruity, smoky ancho chiles. You can also add shredded chicken, or beef, or pork to this if you like.


These enchiladas remind me of the Tex-Mex classic cheese enchiladas, but with a bit more smokiness. The recipe is based on one that I found in Diana Kennedy’s book, The Art of Mexican Cooking. Sometimes I double the Ancho Chile sauce, and make half without eggs, to pour over the top.

4 ancho chiles
1 cup water
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 eggs
¼ cup lard (I use duck fat)
8-10 corn tortillas
½ pound cheese (cheddar/mozz mixture)

Remove stalks, seeds and veins from chiles and toast on comal until they turn an opaque tobacco brown.

Soak toasted chiles in hot water for 15 minutes until reconstituted but not mushy.

Put 1 cup water, garlic, and salt in a bowl and blend. Add chiles and blend until smooth.

Break eggs into separate bowl, whisk, and stir into chile mixture.

Heat enough lard to cover bottom of pan. Be sure heat isn’t too high — nothing above medium — or the chile sauce will burn.

Dip one tortilla at a time into the chile sauce to cover it thickly and fry for about 10 seconds on each side.

Carefully remove the tortilla and place on plate.

Put cheese on the tortilla…

Then, roll that sucker up, and place seam-side down in a baking dish.

Place in 450 F oven for 10-15 minutes or just until the cheese is bubbly. Let rest for a few minutes and serve.

Note: If you want to do these in advance, just roll up, place in a glass dish, cover with Saran wrap or foil, and wait to put the sauce on top.