There’s a debate among New Mexicans whether red chile sauce tastes better made with chile powder or pods. I follow a facebook page for New Mexico recipes and learned that families love their red chile and will fiercely defend their method of making it. I’ve only made red chile with powder once before and it was gritty and I didn’t really like the texture. I’ve always preferred making a batch with pods by soaking them and then pureeing them in the blender. With pods you can strain them to remove all that pulp and peel. But after some time has gone by I’ve decided it was time to try powder again. I’m trying Tia Rita’s Home Style Enchilada Sauce that comes from Las Cruces in Southern NM. The ingredients listed are red chile, paprika, constarch, salt garlic, baking soda and oregano. That’s pretty close to the spices I would normally use so I gave it a try. The mix was quite easy and less messy. Just add water and simmer for 4 – 6 minutes. The texture was not quite as smooth as using pods but it wasn’t nearly as gritty as the powder I had used previously. We found it flavorful with just the right amount of heat for our palate. I made a plate of cheese enchiladas with beans and potatoes on the side and sopaipillas. The sopaipillas were made from the Desert Gardens Sopaipilla and Fry Bread Mix. I made fry bread for my Indian tacos and saved the rest of the dough for sopaipillas. The remaining dough made 6 sopaipillas which was perfect alongside our enchiladas. They tasted so good with a drizzle of honey. So the debate goes on whether red chile is better with powder or pods. I’d advise anyone to try both methods and decide for yourself!
I tried Tia Rita’s Home Style Enchilada Sauce. It only takes a few minutes to make this sauce which is a big plus.
Per the instructions, dissolve the chile powder in 1 cup of warm water.
Stir the mixture until it resembles a thick paste.
Add 2 more cups of water and turn up the heat to medium high and bring the sauce to a simmer.
Simmer the sauce for 4 – 6 minutes. While this is simmering on top of the stove, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
While the sauce is simmering it’s time to fry the corn tortillas. Add a drizzle of olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Lay your tortilla over the oil and let cook 30 seconds or so. Drizzle the top of the tortilla with olive oil and flip over to cook the other side an additional 30 seconds.
Once the tortilla is softened, remove to a plate or tortilla warmer lined with paper towels.
These are now ready to assemble.
I always choose an oven safe plate or platter to make enchiladas. I started by ladling some red chile sauce on half of the plate. This is where the enchiladas will go.
Dip each tortilla in the red chile sauce and the add filling and gently roll the tortilla around the filling. I filled these with grated cheddar cheese. Once you have rolled your enchiladas place them on top of the sauce. Add your side of beans, potatoes or rice around the side to fill in your plate. Spoon a little more sauce over the enchiladas and beans if you want.
Top with grated cheese and place into a preheated 325 degree oven until cheese has completely melted. This takes approximately 10 – 15 minutes to melt the cheese inside the enchiladas.
Heat a deep dish skillet with 3 inches of vegetable oil over high heat. Test the oil by placing the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil to see if it will bubble and fry. That will indicate the oil is hot enough to fry.
This is the remaining half of the dough that I used for the Indian tacos. I set it out to room temperature for 30 minutes then prepped it with a little sprinkle of flour and rounded it into a ball.
Roll out the dough into a rectangle 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut squares approximately 3 1/2 inches. This made 6 pieces that I can use to make sopaipillas.
When oil is hot and ready to go, drop 2 pieces of dough at a time into the hot oil. It should puff up within seconds. When it begins to turn golden brown underneath, turn the sopaipilla over to fry the other side. Remove when golden brown to a plate or bowl lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oils.
Little pillows of goodness!! How I love sopaipillas!
Our tradition in New Mexico is to drizzle honey on our sopaipillas. Trust me there is nothing better!
Fresh out of the oven is a full plate of cheese enchiladas with red chile. A side of pinto beans and fried potatoes on the side completes the meal. Garnish with lettuce, tomato and onion. Make sure to always use oven mitts when removing the plate and use a trivet underneath as the plate will be HOT!
Red Chile Cheese Enchiladas with Sopaipillas
1 (3.6 ounce pkg) Tia Rita’s Home Style Enchilada Sauce,
homemade red enchilada sauce or your favorite brand.
6 Corn Tortillas
4 -6 ounces Cheddar Cheese, grated
Pinto Beans, optional
Fried Potatoes, optional
Finely chopped Lettuce, Tomato and Onion for garnish
Make enchilada sauce according to package directions. Fry tortillas in a skillet with a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Fry for 30 seconds then flip over to cook the other side an additional 30 seconds. Place tortillas on a warming plate or tortilla warmer lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
To assemble the rolled enchiladas: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Use an oven safe plate to assemble the enchiladas. Ladle a small amount of sauce over half the plate. This will be where you place your rolled tortillas. Using tongs, dip a tortilla into the red enchilada sauce so that it is coated with sauce. Place grated cheese in the middle of the coated tortilla and roll up placing the seam side down on the plate. Place 3 rolled enchiladas per plate Add beans, rice or fried potatoes around your enchiladas to fill your plate. Ladle a little more enchilada sauce over the rolled enchiladas and sprinkle with grated cheese. Place oven safe plates in the oven to melt the cheese, between 10 – 15 minutes. Top with a fried egg if desired. Garnish with finely chopped lettuce, tomato and onion.
Sauce makes approximately 12 rolled enchiladas or 4 stacked enchiladas.
Desert Gardens Sopaipilla Mix
Make bread mix according to package instructions. Use what you need and any extra dough can be refrigerated to use later. Roll dough out in a rectangle 1/8 or 1/4 inch thickness. Cut dough with a sharp knife or pizza cutter into 3 1/2 inch squares. Heat a deep dish skillet with 3 inches of vegetable oil over high heat.
Test the oil with the handle of a wooden spoon. When it begins to bubble and appear to fry the handle, the oil is hot enough to fry the bread. Gently drop the cut squares (2 at a time) into the hot oil and fry. Within seconds the squares will puff up and begin to turn golden brown. Turn over to brown the other side. Remove to a plate or bowl lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Cook remaining cut squares in the same manner. Serve plain or with a drizzle of honey.
Mix makes approximately 12 sopaipillas