Food & Drink

Let’s eat: Cheese Enchiladas with Chili Gravy

This time of year, things can get crazy. You might wonder who has time for a home-cooked dinner.

These saucy, cheesy enchiladas are the answer to a busy person’s prayers. The gravy comes together quickly and uses everyday ingredients you most likely have on hand. Plus, no meat is involved so it you’re cooking for vegetarians, no problem.

I substituted scallions for the white onion and also spooned sour cream on top.


Recipe from The New York Times.

For the chili gravy

1/4 cup neutral oil like canola, or use lard or chicken or beef fat

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, ideally Mexican oregano

2 tablespoons chile powder

2 cups chicken stock, ideally homemade or low-sodium if store-bought

For the enchiladas

1/2 cup neutral oil like canola

12 yellow corn tortillas

3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, or a mixture of 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese and 1 1/2 cups American cheese, like Velveeta

1 medium-size white onion, peeled and chopped

Prepare the chili gravy: In a medium saute pan set over medium-high heat, heat oil or fat until it begins to shimmer. Whisk in flour and stir continuously until it turns into a light brown roux, roughly the color of coffee ice cream, about 10 minutes.

Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, oregano and chile powder and whisk to combine. Then continue whisking for another minute or so until the roux becomes fragrant.

Add chicken broth slowly, 1/2 cup at a time, whisking until sauce begins to thicken. Turn heat to low and let sauce simmer an additional 15 minutes or so. Add broth as needed to adjust the thickness of the gravy. Keep warm.

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Prepare the tortillas: In a medium saute pan set over medium-high heat, heat oil until it begins to shimmer. Using tongs or a wide spatula, place a tortilla in the hot fat; it should start to bubble immediately. Heat tortilla for about 10 to 15 seconds a side until soft and lightly browned. Remove tortilla and set on a rack set over a baking pan or just on a baking pan if you don’t have a rack. Repeat with remaining tortillas, working quickly.

Using a ladle, put about 1/2 cup chili gravy in the bottom of an 8-by-13-inch baking pan and spread it out a little. Roll a few tablespoons of cheese into each tortilla, then place it seam-side down in the pan, nestling each one against the last. Ladle chili gravy over the top of the rolled tortillas and sprinkle remaining cheese over the top.

Transfer to oven and bake until sauce bubbles and cheese is melted, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle chopped onions over top and serve immediately.

Serves 6.