Red Chile Enchiladas with Chicken and Melted Cheese

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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4 medium (about 1 oz total) dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into flat pieces
2 fat garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire roasted)
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp canola oil, plus extra for the tortillas
2 cups chicken broth
12 corn tortillas
1/2 tsp sugar
2 generous cups (about 8 oz) coarsely shredded cooked chicken
1 cup (4 oz) shredded Mexican melting cheese like Chihuahua, quesadilla, or asadero
1 small white onion, cut into rings, for garnish (optional)
Cilantro (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350. Set a small or medium skillet over medium heat and once it’s hot, toast the chile pieces a few at a time, pressing them against the hot surface with a spatula until aromatic and lightened in color underneath–about 10 seconds per side. Transfer the toasted chiles to a blender, and add the garlic, tomatoes and juices, cumin and black pepper. Blend to as smooth a consistency as possible.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Set a mesh strainer over the pan and pour in the sauce. Press through the strainer to remove bits of chile skin. Then cook, stirring until the sauce is reduced to the consistency of tomato paste, 5 to 7 minutes.* Pour in the broth, reduce the heat to medium low and summer for 10 minutes. Taste the sauce and season with sugar and salt (Bayless says about 1.5 tsp. but I used closer to .5 tsp).

Brush or spray both sides of the tortillas with oil and then stack in twos on a baking sheet. Bake just long enough to make them soft and pliable, about 3 minutes. Remove fro the oven and cover with a towel to keep warm.

Spread 1/2 cup sauce over the bottom of a 13×9 baking dish, and stir another 1/2 cup sauce into the chicken. Lay out a warm tortilla, top with a portion of the chicken and roll up. Lay seam side down in the baking dish. Continue filling and rolling the rest of the tortillas and ladle the remaining sauce over the enchiladas* and sprinkle with the cheese.

Bake 10-15 minutes, until the cheese starts to brown. Garnish with onion rings and cilantro if desired.