My Momma’s Red Chile Enchiladas! {food of my childhood}

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My husband and I have been at my Mom and Dad’s in New Mexico for the last week and one of the things I love so much when we come home to visit is my Momma’s amazing home-made Mexican food. I feel like I can hardly get enough of it! I told my Mom that since I would be working on this blog post while I’m at her house then she gets to choose what I’m going to write about. Lucky for all you readers she said, “How about you tell everyone how I make Red Chile Stacked Enchiladas”? I was excited because that meant I would get to eat them! So, here is a little tutorial of my special and amazing Momma making her famous red enchiladas.

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The key here is to use dried red chiles. So many people think that red chile sauce is just tomato sauce flavored with chile powder but that is not the case for real true Mexican food! And just a little bit of info for you is that red chiles are actually green chiles that have been left on the plant until they begin to turn red. After they are picked they are left to dry and then sold dried. The amazing thing is that the dried red peppers last a very long time. I love that here in New Mexico you can buy dried red chile in huge bags in the grocery store!

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The first thing to do before beginning your stacked enchiladas is to grate approximately four cups of white cheese such as Monterey Jack or Asadero cheese. Then chop one white or yellow onion. Set these ingredients aside. Heat oven to 170 degrees.

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For enough Red Enchiladas for four people start with 6 – 8 dried red chile peppers. Pull the top stem part off, shake out the seeds, and rinse well under cold water.

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Break it up into large pieces and throw into a blender along with one clove of garlic. Add a cup of cold water and blend until those pieces break down.

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Add two more cups of cold water and keep blending until you get a thick puree. Turn off the blender and let it sit for a few minutes. Add enough water to fill the blender about 3/4th full. Blend again until fully incorporated. Turn off and set aside.

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In a large sauce pan over medium heat melt about 2 tablespoons of lard. Add 3 heaping tablespoons of flour and whisk until mixed completely.

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Add your red chile puree and whisk it thoroughly and then slowly bring it to a slow boil, stirring every few minutes. Your puree will thicken a little. You don’t want it super thick, just enough that it isn’t runny like water! Once it comes to a boil, lower your temperature to low just to keep it warm while you prepare your tortillas.

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The next important ingredient are the corn tortillas. Do NOT use flour tortillas!

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In a cast iron skillet melt a teaspoon of lard over medium high heat. When lard is hot, place a corn tortilla in the lard and very lightly brown on each side.  Using a fork or tongs, dip your fried tortilla in the red sauce and then transfer to a plate.

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Place about ¼ cup of cheese on top of the tortilla and sprinkle with some onion. Repeat with another tortilla dipped in red sauce, place your cheese and onion on top, continue until you have a stack of three. Place this plate in the oven to keep it warm and then start on your next plate repeating the above steps. Place that plate of stacked enchiladas in the oven and continue repeating the process until you’ve created your four plates of enchiladas. (Of course you can do fewer plates as your left over enchilada sauce will last for a week in a jar in the refrigerator, or you can put it in a ziplock bag and freeze it for more enchiladas later!)

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Now, for the final step. And this is an important one. Trust me on this. Fry an egg for each enchilada plate and place on top of your enchilada stack. (We like our fried eggs slightly soft but you can fry them to your preference.)

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Add a little cheese on top of the egg and drizzle with some red sauce.

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Serve with shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes if you’d like.

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Or you can do what my Momma did and serve it with fresh pinto beans, pork tamale, and a chile relleno! Honestly, there is no better meal as far as I’m concerned!

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If you live where buying dried red chile peppers is not possible you can order them online! There is a farm that my Momma recommends here in New Mexico; click here and it will take you to their website.    A five pound bag will last you a good long time and since they are sun dried you don’t have to worry about them going bad!  Or you can order a Ristra, which is a beautiful string of red chile and hang them outside (or inside) and use off of them for a year!  I bought the above Ristra and am taking it back to Tennessee on the airplane!

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(P.S. A blog reader let me know that there is Red Chile sauce available in the freezer section of the grocery stores.  I have not checked that out so I’m not sure if it is 100% red chile puree but certainly check that out too!)

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I hope you’ll find some dried red chile and make some of my Momma’s amazing red stacked enchiladas!  Let me know how it goes!

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Until our gravel roads cross again, so long.

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Dori

Leave a comment 27 Comments

  1. Mary Ann Pedersen says:

    Best blog ever!

  2. edee zwiefelhofer says:

    I know they sell a frozen red chile container in the freezer couldn’t it be used instead?

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Edee! I had NO idea but that is a fabulous idea! I wonder if it is 100% red chile puree or if it has tomato sauce added? I will have to check it out in my local grocery store and see if they have it. I will also go back into my post and edit it to add that suggestion! Thanks!

      – Dori –

  3. Perfect! I really miss the great Mexican food we got in Tucson, so this is on my list!

  4. Krista says:

    Dori, thanks for sharing such a special recipe with us! I am not the biggest fan of Mexican food, but my family sure is! I will definitely share this recipe with them and give it a try. The main reason I avoid Mexican food is because of how spicy it is. Do you think this recipe is spicy or mild? I am also interested in trying an enchilada with an egg on top! Sounds really interesting.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Krista!

      Since this enchilada sauce is made out of nothing but the chile peppers then the “heat” all depends on how hot the peppers are. There are no other spices added so it is really nice because there are nothing that would upset a stomach, etc… I feel that red chile tends to be milder than when it is green and fresh off the plant, but maybe I’m wrong. These were not hot at all. You also can order mild chile from the website I mentioned. And then the enchiladas would totally not be hot. And yes…. try it with the egg on top. I mean seriously you cannot believe how good it is! :-)

      – Dori –

  5. Jodie says:

    Singing to my heart. My Grannie is from Estancia, NM. I grew up with a fried egg on top of a lot of her dishes and it is delish! Everytime I got home to the Midwest to visit Grannie, I get a dish like this since she’s knows I love it. There’s something about having someone special make you their special comfort food, but your post has encouraged me to try to make this on my own. Thanks to you and your momma for sharing.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Jodie,

      Oh Estancia, NM. I know where that is! And I’m so happy that someone understands how amazing a fried egg on top of Mexican food is! :-)

      And yes… having that special Mom or Grannie make the food of our childhood for us is such a wonderful feeling.

      Thanks for writing.

      – Dori –

  6. Christine says:

    It has been many years since I sat at the table of your parents home but, reading this sure brought back memories and made me long for a good ole visit. My children (now adults) often speak of your family when they reminisce about their childhood.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Christine,

      Awww… thank you. That is the sweetest comment. WE have amazing and special memories of you and your children too.

      Hugs,

      – Dori –

      • Christine says:

        I also wanted to say, great picture of your mother – she doesn’t age. Also, one absolutely must have an egg on top when having Red Chile Stacked Enchiladas!

  7. Debbie says:

    Hi Dori!
    This post sure made me hungry for authentic Mexican food. We do have a couple of good mexi restaurants here, but they are few and far between. What a fun week you had with your mama…I’m glad you got some time together in her kitchen! She’s a cutie. The recipe seems pretty simple and looks delicious. I just may give it a try on a cold New England day this winter.
    Farmgirl Hugs,
    Deb

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Deb,

      Come visit me…. I’ll cook you up some yummy Mexican food! We have numerous restaurants here in Tennessee that everyone raves about being amazing. But… well, no. :-( They are not!

      Happy December! Hope you’re keeping warm.

      xoxo

      – Dori –

  8. Vivian Monroe says:

    Oh my goodness I cannot wait to try. My best friends mom (who was like my mom) taught me to cook alot of mexican dishes as she was from Mexico. I just finished making tamales last week and probably will make another batch next week. You probably can buy red chill sauce already made but it is not the same. I grow my own peppers, and let them turn red on the plant then pick them string them up with thread to dry, then I roast them in the oven just a bit, and then grind and make my own pepper. The taste is so amazingly different from red pepper you buy in the store. So I feel like the fresh made chilli is going to be alot tastier than canned or frozen. I am so exicted to try this. Thank your mom for sharing her wonderful recipe. I enjoyed this post as it reminded me so much of being in the kitchen with mama Cindy. she has gone home to be with the Lord now, but I know she smiles down everytime I make her tamales, or make homemade tortillas. (she knows somebody was paying attention in the kitchen) :) Be blessed and thanks again for sharing.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Vivian,

      Oh I would love to try your tamales! Do you make them with pork? That is how we always made them.

      And I agree…. if the red chile pepper sauce isn’t fresh, it isn’t going to taste the same. Definitely not if it’s canned. I’ve looked at the ingredients of canned enchilada sauce and I just have to laugh!

      And do you make home-made tortillas too? I’ve made them, but honestly I’m not very good at it. I need to do it a lot and they would get better I’m quite sure!

      Thanks for writing,

      – Dori –

  9. Patty Guitierez says:

    Thank you so much for taking us step by step how to make the red sauce and great meal.
    I never knew how the red sauce was made so used Las Palmas sauce. Can this be used for the tamale sauce?
    Thank you. Patty

  10. Cindi says:

    Wow someone else uses the egg! How that warms my heart. My mom used to make rolled enchilada and always stuffed them with chopped cooked eggs and cheese. She also taught me to dip the tortilla in the sauce, as opposed to just pouring it over the top. Much better dipped (funny how you really can tell the difference). One year I decided to have enchiladas for Christmas dinner ~ just to mix things up a bit for kids hauling their young families from relative to relative for holiday dinners. It was such a hit I now get requests. Yep. This Thanksgiving was not turkey :) So glad I finally got time to get back to your blog! Almost done with my over-enthusiastic response to your quilt challenge way back… when was that?! :) Season’s best to you!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Cindi!

      Good to hear from you again!

      I can’t even remember when my quilt challenge was – a year ago maybe? But I’ve just ordered fabric for two twin size quilts. Maybe I should issue another challenge to motivate myself to get them done in a hurry! I do love the quilting process though… all the way through.

      Send me a picture when you finish yours!

      – Dori –

  11. Joan says:

    Oh double YUMMMMMM!!! Haven’t had breakfast and this is totally my kind of eats, well it is this morning. I love foods from all over the world and living in Colorado, so close to New Mexico, well lots of good Mexican food here but now I can make it myself. Loved seeing your Mother. God bless.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Thank you Joan! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE mexican food for breakfast! Green chile cheese tamales is my favorite breakfast food! :-)

      – Dori –

  12. Sonya says:

    Dori. thank you so much for this post. i could almost taste it looking at the pictures :) i have tried to make beans (like your mom made) but have not had any luck. would your mom be willing to share her recipe? Thank you,
    Sonya

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Sonya,

      Most definitely my Mom would share “her” recipe!!! I’ll try to do a blog post on it soon!

      – Dori –

  13. Karen Brown says:

    Oh gosh, wow, looks so yummy. I might try these this looonnnggg cold winter. Thanks.

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