Red Chile Beef Enchiladas

Red Chile Beef Enchiladas
(Rolled and Santa Fe Style)

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This is one of my very favorite dishes, especially when made with blue corn tortillas. It is a popular custom in New Mexico to place a soft-fried egg on top of each enchilada as soon as they come out of the oven.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Vegetable oil or chile water
12 white, yellow or blue corn tortillas
2 cups Red Chile Sauce (recipe attached), made with beef
About 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese
1 onion, chopped (may be cooked into the sauce)
4 to 6 eggs (optional), soft fried
6 to 8 lettuce leaves (optional), coarsely chopped
2 ripe tomatoes (optional), cut in wedges

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Heat ½ inch of oil in a heavy skillet. Add tortillas and fry lightly in batches, being careful not to make them too crisp to roll. Or dip in chile water if you prefer. Warm 4 plates in the preheated oven.

2. For Flat Enchiladas: Place a little chile sauce on a warmed plate, then top with a tortilla followed by cheese, onion, and more sauce. Repeat once or twice more, making a stack of 2 or 3 tortillas layered with cheese, onion, and sauce (see Note). Top each enchilada with more sauce and cheese. Place in the preheated oven until the cheese melts. Top with an egg, if desired, and garnish with the chopped lettuce and tomato wedges. These are traditional Santa Fe style.

3. For Rolled Enchiladas: Dip a lightly fried tortilla into the sauce and place a strip each of shredded cheese and chopped onion down the center. Roll up, place 2 rolled enchiladas on each warmed plate, and top with more sauce and cheese. Place in oven until cheese melts. Arrange lettuce around the edges before serving.

Note: Three tortillas make a very hearty serving. Most people prefer two.


Red Chile Sauce

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This is the basic red chile sauce used to create enchiladas and to serve over burritos, chile rellenos, tamales, and chimichangas.

Yield: 2-1/2 cups

2 tablespoons butter, lard or bacon drippings
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup ground mild red chile
1/4 cup ground hot red chile
2 cups beef stock or water
1 garlic clove, crushed
Pinch of ground Mexican oregano
Pinch of ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt (if not using stock)

1. Melt butter in a medium-size saucepan over low heat. Add flour and stir until smooth and slightly golden.

2. Remove pan from heat and add ground chiles. Return to heat and gradually stir in stock. Add garlic, oregano, cumin, and salt, if using, and cook, stirring, about 10 minutes. Simmer at least 5 more minutes for flavors to blend.

Variation:
Sauté 1 pound ground beef, or beef cut in very small cubes. Omit the shortening, and continue as directed above. Use for enchiladas.


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