20 dried new mexico chiles
3 tbsp. canola oil, plus more for frying
10 cloves garlic
1⁄4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tbsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. sugar
Kosher salt, to taste
12 corn tortillas
2 cups grated mozzarella
2 cups grated sharp cheddar
3⁄4 cup finely chopped red onion
1⁄4 cup finely crumbled cotija cheese
3 tbsp. crema or sour cream
2 cups shredded chicken (optional for chicken enchiladas)
1. Soften chiles (see how to soak chiles below). Transfer chiles and 2 cups soaking water to a food processor; let cool.
2. Heat oven to 450˚. Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer garlic to the food processor with the reserved chiles, reserving oil in skillet. Purée chile–garlic mixture; add lime, cumin, sugar, and salt and pulse to combine. Strain through a sieve; discard solids. Transfer chile sauce to reserved skillet; heat sauce over medium heat.
3. Pour oil into a 10″ skillet over medium-high heat to a depth of 1⁄2″. Using tongs and working with one tortilla at a time, dip tortilla in oil; cook until slightly crisp, about 15 seconds. Drain tortilla. Dip in chile sauce to coat, and transfer to a plate. Sprinkle some of the mozzarella, cheddar, and onions along center of tortilla. Add chicken if you wish to make chicken enchiladas, or use just cheese for a traditional enchilada. Roll up enchilada. Arrange rolled enchiladas on a baking sheet; bake until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Divide enchiladas between 4 plates; sprinkle with cotija cheese and drizzle with crema.
How to soak chilis
Dried chiles have countless uses in the kitchen. When ground up, they become potent and versatile spices, and when soaked and softened, they make a delicious base for sauces like the one accompanying this Red Chile Enchiladas recipe. Soaking chiles is quick and easy.
1. Put the chiles into a bowl and cover with boiling water.
2. Let them soak, nudging them occasionally with a spoon to make sure they’re fully submerged, until chiles are soft and dark red, about 20 minutes. Remove them from the water and pull off the stems (some recipes may call for reserving some of the soaking water).
3. Finally, slice them open lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.
4. The chiles are now ready to purée for sauce.