Enchiladas de la Plaza (Chicken, Potato, and Carrot Enchiladas)

The Guajillo (wha-hee-oh) chile is the most common dried chile in Mexico after the Ancho. The flavor of the Guajillo is distinct, slightly fruity with a strong piney, berry under taste. Guajillo flavors dished easily so a little goes a long way. This chile is between a 2-4 on the heat scale of 1-10. Guajillo, combined with the Passilla and Ancho, form the holy trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces.

Suggested Use:
A mildly hot chile. Use in sauces, salsa, soups and your favorite chile. A little goes a long way.

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6 cups water
6 chicken thighs with skin and bones
1 small white onion, quartered
6 garlic cloves, halved
3/4 tsp. fine sea salt

3 carrots, peeled, diced
3 medium red-skinned potatoes

Ancho-Guajillo Chile Sauce**

9 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, torn into pieces
6 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded, torn into pieces
5 cups very hot water
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
2 tsp. fine sea salt

1 cup (about) corn oil
12 (5-6″) corn tortillas

1 cup crumbled queso fresco
1 cup sliced white onion
1/3 cup thinly sliced radishes
3 pickled jalapeño chiles, halved
6 Tbsp. crema mexicana* or sour cream
12 romaine lettuce leaves


Bring the first 5 ingredients to a boil in a large pot. Reduce the heat and simmer gently until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Cool the chicken in the broth for 30 minutes, then transfer the chicken to a bowl and cool completely (reserve the broth for another use).

Cook the carrots in a pot of boiling salted water until crisp and tender, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the carrots to another bowl. Add the potatoes to the same pot and boil until tender, about 35 minutes. Drain and cool the potatoes, then peel and cut them into 3/4″ cubes. Add the potatoes to the bowl with the carrots.

Make Ancho-Guajillo Sauce:

Heat a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add all the chile pieces and cook just until the chiles blister, pressing with a metal spatula and turning occasionally, about 30 seconds. Transfer the chiles to a bowl and add 5 cups of very hot water. Soak the chiles until very tender, pushing them down occasionally to submerge, about 30 minutes.

Working in 3 batches, puree the chiles with the soaking liquid and all the remaining ingredients in a blender until smooth. Season the sauce with more salt, if desired. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat the oven to 200°F.

Bring the Ancho-Guajillo Chile Sauce to a simmer in a large saucepan and reduce the heat to low and keep warm. Heat 3 Tbsp. of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place 1/2 cup of warm chile sauce into a medium bowl and dip the chicken pieces into the sauce to coat, allowing any excess to drip back into the bowl. Add the chicken pieces to the skillet and fry until heated through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a rimmed baking sheet and keep warm in oven.

Pour 1/4 cup of oil into the same skillet. Heat over medium-high heat and add the potatoes and carrots. Saute them until heated through, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes and carrots to 13″x 9″x 2″ baking dish and season with salt. Keep them warm in the oven. Heat 1/2 cup of oil in same skillet over medium heat and quickly dip 1 tortilla into the warm chile sauce to coat, then carefully slide the tortilla into the hot oil (mixture will splatter). Cook for 10 seconds per side. Using the tongs, transfer the tortilla to a baking sheet and fold it in half. Keep warm in the oven. Repeat until all tortillas are done.

Place 2 tortillas on each plate and top with some of the warm chile sauce, then some of the potatoes and carrots. Sprinkle with cheese, sliced onion, radishes, and jalapeños; top with crema. Arrange 2 lettuce leaves alongside. Place the chicken atop the lettuce and serve.

*Cultured Mexican cream with a slightly nutty flavor and consistency of thin sour cream.

Makes 6 servings.

Recipe from Bon Appétit Magazine, May 2003.