Photo by Sonia Mendez Garcia

Red and Green Chile Cheese Enchiladas

Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 70 minutes
Servings: 6-8 servings
Affectionally known as "Christmas Enchiladas" in New Mexico, these red and green enchiladas combine red and green chiles for an explosion of delicious flavor.

I have shared my love of New Mexico in various posts and here is yet another delicious recipe that is inspired by New Mexico. Red and green chiles are both very popular. I can finally say that I lean more toward the red chile, but why not have both on my plate? When enjoying some authentic New Mexico cuisine, the locals order up their favorite plate of enchiladas and simply order “Christmas enchiladas.” It really has nothing to do with the holiday, but more so for the red and green colors of the chile sauces. Here, I share with you my best version of these two sauces with the ingredients available to me. And you don't have to use cheese. You can choose your favorite filling: chicken, beef, pork or spicy shrimp!


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  1. For the Red Chile Sauce: Remove stems, seeds and membranes. Tear into pieces and transfer to a sauce pan. Give them a quick rinse to remove any dirt. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. For the Green Chile Sauce: Preheat broiler to high for a few minutes. Place green chiles on baking sheet, spread out evenly. Broil peppers for 10 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time. Remove from oven and place a large plastic bag to steam and cool.
  3. Saute onions and garlic in a little olive oil at medium for 5 minutes. Set aside. Drain water from the red chiles and transfer to the blender. Add 2 cups of chicken broth and half of the onion/garlic. Blend on high until smooth and strain sauce through a wire strainer. Preheat 3 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat for 2 minutes. Whisk in the masa harina (or flour) until smooth. Cook for 1 minute. Pour in the red sauce. Add 2 more cups of broth, cumin, oregano and vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook at a low simmer for 30 minutes until thick.
  4. For the Green Sauce: Peel blistered skins from chiles and remove stems and seeds. Roughly chop the peppers and transfer to the blender. Add 2 cups broth and remaining onion/garlic mixture. Blend on high until smooth; no need to strain. Finish cooking as directed for red sauce.
  5. Preheat 1 cup canola oil in a skillet to medium heat for 3 minutes. Stack 2 to 3 tortillas and place in oil using metal tongs. Fry, turning as needed, just to soften the tortillas. It should take less than a minute. Place onto plate lined with paper towels and keep covered with foil paper. Preheat broiler to high. Fill each tortilla with 2 tablespoons of cheese and sliced green onions (to taste). Roll as tight as you can and place in baking dish or on individual (oven-safe plates). Ladle red and greed sauce on either side to cover enchiladas. Top with cheese (as much as you like) and broil just until cheese has melted. Garnish with fresh toppings and sour cream.

Chef Notes

If using canned green chiles, you will need at least 20 ounces, whole or diced chiles

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