Calabacitas Enchiladas

Anaheim’s are very popular in Southwestern US Cuisine.Also called “New Mexican Chile”. These were developed by Dr. Fabian Garcia in New Mexico about 100 yrs ago who was seeking a chile pepper that was bigger, fleshier, and milder.

They got the name “Anaheim” when a farmer named Emilio Ortega brought these seeds to the Anaheim area in the early 1900’s. This chile can be roasted and peeled and used in recipes or stuffed to make chile rellenos just as the Poblano Chile.

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1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup corn
1 yellow squash, grated (at least 2 cups)
1/8 tsp. salt
1 to 2 dozen corn tortillas or flour tortillas (See Assembly)
2 to 3 cups green chile sauce (see recipe)
3 cups grated cheese (mix of cheddar and Monterey Jack)

For the green chile sauce:
1 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted (or 1/2 tsp. toasted ground cumin)*
1 tsp. coriander seed, toasted (or 1/2 tsp. toasted ground coriander)*If you use seeds, you will only be using 1 tsp. of the toasted, ground mixture.
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. flour
2 cups water
2 cups roasted, peeled, deseeded, and chopped green chiles
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. salt or to taste


Preheat oven to 350° F (177 °C)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes until soft. Add the corn and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add the squash and salt. Stir to combine all of the ingredients. Pour the chile sauce into a pie pan. (You’re going to dip your tortillas in the chile sauce.)

Depending on the size of the serving dish, you can make 2 to 3 layers, so make that decision ahead of time. My standard enchilada dish (8″ x 12″ casserole) works nicely with 3 slightly overlapping corn tortillas for each layer therefore, I make a 3 layer enchilada casserole with this recipe. Starting and ending with a layer of corn tortillas, I use 15 tortillas. The vegetable mixture is divided into 3 parts and the cheese into 4.

Spray a casserole dish with oil. Spread “a little” of chile sauce on the bottom of the dish. I do this to keep the tortillas from sticking to the bottom. Dip 3 corn tortillas (depending on size of pan) in the chile sauce and place, overlapping, across the bottom of the casserole dish. Top with about ½ cup of cheese, then 1/3 of the vegetable mixture, ending with about ½ cup green chile sauce. Dip another 3 tortillas in the chile sauce and make another layer with cheese, vegetables and chile sauce. Create a third layer of cheese, vegetables, and chile sauce. Top this layer with the last 3 tortillas, the remaining chile sauce (or as much as you want), and then the last of the cheese.

Place in the oven and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until cheese has browned and the sides are bubbling.

Serves 6.

Green Chiles Sauce:
To toast the cumin and coriander seeds, heat a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the coriander. Shake frequently until the seeds become aromatic, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cumin and toast, shaking the pan frequently for about 2 minutes or until the seeds are toasty brown. Transfer to a mortar or spice grinder and grind to a powder.

In a heavy saucepan, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and the garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the onion is soft.

Add the flour and stir to incorporate the flour into the oil and to coat the onion. Slowly stir in 1 cup of water to blend the water with the flour and to prevent lumping. Add the rest of the water, the chile, 1 tsp. of the cumin/coriander spice mixture, oregano, and 1/2 tsp. salt.

Bring to a boil then reduce heat for a low simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes. Use immediately or within 3 to 4 days. Freeze after that. It freezes quite well!