Enchiladas are one of the most traditional dishes from Mexico. There are many different styles, sauces, fillings and toppings. Red and green enchiladas are the most traditional ones. As with salsas, green enchilada sauce is usually made with tomatillos or green tomatoes and the red ones are made using chillies. The recipe we are sharing with you today is inspired in home-style enchiladas that we grew up with.
A little warning before we continue: these enchiladas are messy to make. The beautiful colour comes from working with guajillo and ancho peppers that have an amazing colour. The sauce is then used to cover the tortillas then we need to fry them for a few seconds (this is the messy part) then they are transfered to a dish to add the filling and then folding them. However, it is so worth it. The flavour is amazing!
Guajillo Chillies have a beautiful deep red colour and a mild, fruity flavour. Its flavour reminds us a lot of tamarind in a way. Ancho chillies have an amazing mild flavour, fruity and nutty. As you can see, there is almost no heat to this sauce but lots of incredible flavours instead. We used ricotta cheese for the filling because is the most similar cheese to requeson, a mild and creamy cheese from Mexico. However, you could easily make these enchiladas with shredded chicken or beef.
Here is what you’ll need to make 12 Enchiladas Rojas:
- 12 Corn Tortillas (Flour tortillas are not recommended to make enchiladas)
- 300g Ricotta Cheese Crumbled
- 1/2 Small White Onion Chopped
- 1/4 Tsp. Mexican Oregano
- 4 Guajillo Chillies
- 4 Ancho Chillies
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- Salt & Pepper to Taste
- 1/2 Cup of Water
- Olive or Vegetable Oil
To make the red sauce:
Deseed the guajillo and ancho chillies and lightly toast them on a hot pan. Use a spatula to press them down and turn them around so both sides are in contact with the heat. This process should be very quick, only a few seconds on each side to avoid burning them which will make them bitter. Once they are lightly toasted, transfer the chillies to a small pot with enough water to cover them and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. The chillies now should be soft. Let them cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Place chillies in a blender and add the garlic cloves, 1/2 cup of clean water and blend until you get a thick sauce. Season with a pinch of oregano, salt and pepper and set aside. You could also add vegetable bouillon.
To make the filling:
Crumble the ricotta cheese and mix it with the onion and add a pinch of oregano. Add salt if needed. Set aside. This mixture will be our filling and we will use it to sprinkle on top once the enchiladas are ready to serve.
To make the enchiladas:
We recommend to turn on the oven very low to keep your enchiladas warm as you make them.
Now, we’ll arrange a little assembly line. Add a little bit of oil to a deep pan and set it to medium heat. Make sure you have the red sauce on a wide dish so you can fit the tortilla in there. Take one tortilla and dip into the sauce and cover both sides with it. Transfer the tortilla to the hot oil for a few seconds on each side. Take the tortilla out and place the filling in the middle. Fold in half and start the process again. Take one tortilla and dip in sauce until covered. Move the tortilla to the hot oil and fry only for 5 seconds. You will notice it softens very quickly. Fry the tortilla on the other side for another 5 seconds and transfer to serving dish, add filling, fold in the middle and start again. As we mentioned before, it can be a messy business but oh so good, trust us.
We find it easier to make batches of 4 and place them in the oven to keep them warm as we work with the rest of them.
You can garnish your enchiladas in many ways. Some people use shredded lettuce, soured cream and queso fresco. We added a little bit of cream, radishes and coriander. We then used the same cheese mixture that we used for the filling to sprinkle on top.
These red enchiladas are incredibly flavourful. Rich and delicate at the same time. This is a fantastic recipe to appreciate the complex flavours from dried chillies. We hope you enjoy them!