Enchiladas are an essential component of Houston’s ebullient, dynamic foodways. Mexican in origin, while distinctly Tex-Mex at the same time, the dish adapts to its surroundings. Each version of enchiladas is deeply local: The style ubiquitous in Monterrey, Mexico, will be different from those found in San Antonio or El Paso or Mexico City. But from enchilada to enchilada, the common denominator is deliciousness. In “The Enchilada Queen Cookbook,” Sylvia Casares notes, “for Tex-Mex-style cheese enchiladas, yellow cheese, such as Cheddar, is the traditional choice” yielding “the quintessential Tex-Mex enchilada.”
- Serves: 4 persons
- 3tablespoons neutral oil, such as canola, plus more for greasing
- 3tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4garlic cloves, minced
- 2tablespoons ground red chile powder (see Tip)
- 2teaspoons ground cumin
- 1teaspoon dried oregano
- ½teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more for sprinkling
- 2cups beef broth
- 10corn tortillas
- 1pound shredded Cheddar (5 cups)
- ½cup finely diced white onion
- Fresh parsley or cilantro, for garnish (optional)
Step 1Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch shallow baking dish or pan or a very large cast-iron skillet.
Step 2Add the oil and flour to a medium skillet. Set over medium-low heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture (known as roux) turns a golden color, smells nutty and thickens, 5 to 7 minutes.
Step 3Add garlic, chile powder, cumin, oregano and black pepper to the roux. Whisk until smooth (some clumping from the garlic is fine), being careful to not let the spices burn, about 30 seconds.
Step 4While whisking constantly, add beef broth 1/4 cup at a time, whisking after each addition, until smooth. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, whisking occasionally, for 10 minutes. Then remove from heat, and allow the gravy to rest for another 10 minutes. Taste the gravy and season with salt as needed for a savory sauce.
Step 5Meanwhile, in another pan, lightly heat a tortilla over medium just until softened, about 30 seconds per side. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel or sheet of foil and wrap. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, stacking them in the towel or foil. Be careful of overcooking: You’re softening each tortilla to prevent them from cracking as they’re filled and folded.
Step 6Fill a softened tortilla with about ⅓ cup of cheese. Roll shut and, with the seam side facing downward, place in the greased baking dish or skillet. Repeat until you’ve filled all of the tortillas, setting the rolls next to each other.
Step 7Slowly pour the gravy over all of the tortillas to coat. Afterward, sprinkle the dish with the rest of the cheese and the diced onion.
Step 8Bake until the gravy is bubbling and the cheese melted, 20 to 25 minutes.
Step 9Garnish with parsley, if desired, alongside a sprinkle of salt and black pepper. Serve immediately.