I assume that everyone has a comfort food that reminds them of home. I, in fact, have several! But New Mexican chile is definitely my favorite. For enchiladas, I prefer red chile, which is green chile left on the vine to turn red, then strung on string and allowed to dehydrate in the dry, New Mexican heat.
When people ask, “Which is hotter…red or green?” they give themselves away! You can have spicy hot red chile and mild green chile, or vice-versa. It all depends on the chile. With my red chile sauce, I always add in the small, thin, pointed-end chiles, sometimes called chile de arbol or chile pequin, because I like my chile HOT! Just remember…the pointier the end of the chile, the hotter it is!
It is difficult to crank up the heat factor on green chile, so I always order mine “hot” from Hatch, New Mexico, usually during the UNM Alumni Green Chile Roast in the fall. I have found authentic, New Mexico Bueno-brand, green chile in the frozen section of my local grocery store, but that is very unusual! If you happen to find it, grab a couple of containers for me!
Another learned preference is whether you like your enchiladas flat or rolled. If it’s part of a combination plate with only one enchilada, I don’t mind a rolled enchilada. But an enchilada plate in New Mexico is always served flat and layered.
After you read through the recipe, I hope you’ll give New Mexican red chile enchiladas a try. This particular recipe is quick to make, less than 30 minutes from start to finish. For those of you who have visited New Mexico and developed a taste for New Mexican cooking, you’ll want to keep this recipe (and a stash of red chile pods) on hand!
All of the items were purchased at Wal-Mart or Kroger in Cumming, GA. One bag of red chile pods will make several servings of red chile enchiladas.
So what is your comfort food? Please share!
New Mexican Red Chile Enchiladas
Recipe makes 2 servings of 3-stack flat enchiladas. Salt is added at the table to reduce sodium content of the dish.
Red chile pods, one-12 oz. package (make sure they are a deep red color, and not brown, which means they’ve been sitting too long)
2-5 thin, long chiles (may be under different names, chile de arbol…they are HOT!)
Garlic, 1-2 cloves, thinly sliced (to your taste)
Tomato sauce, 8 oz. can, for a sweeter taste, not necessary…but I like it!
Water or chicken stock (approximately 2-3 cups)
Thoroughly rinse about 10 chile pods and remove stem (you’ll have several left for another day.) Leave seeds in for a hotter sauce.
Place chile pods, sliced garlic and about 2 cups of water (or chicken stock) in a blender.
Blend at highest speed for about 3 minutes. If the chile sauce is too thick to blend, add more water in ¼ cup increments. Blend until you get a rich, red sauce.
Pour into a 2-quart saucepan, stir in tomato sauce, cover and place on stovetop at a medium setting.
At this point, you can add in cooked meat if you’d like, such as ground beef or shredded chicken. Bring to a slow boil, making sure to stir often once the sauce starts to boil. Lower heat and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often.
Corn tortillas (2-3 for each serving)
Heat 2-3 tablespoons of cooking oil in a small fry pan and heat corn tortillas on both sides. Or you can spray canola oil spray on both sides of the tortillas. Heat quickly on both sides—make sure they are not crispy! Place on a paper towel after softening.
Package of mild cheddar or Mexican Mix cheese
Cut corn (you’ll use 3-4 tablespoons for each serving—frozen or canned is fine, heated thoroughly)
Put softened corn tortilla into red chile sauce and scoop out with plenty of sauce.
Place on large plate. Add a tablespoon or more of corn and top with cheese.
Repeat for 2-3 layers, depending on how hungry you are! Cover finished plate with a paper towel and melt cheese in microwave for 30-60 seconds on high.
Salad Topping, Condiments
Top with shredded/chopped lettuce, tomato and onion. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
I like fried potatoes, Spanish rice or refried pinto beans. A side of posole is also delicious!