Roasted Squash and Cheddar Cheese Enchiladas with Ancho Chile Cream Sauce

Ancho (Ahn-cho) Chile (Capsicum Annum) means Wide Chile Pepper. This chile ranges from 3 – 4 on a heat scale of 1 to 10. An Ancho is the dried form of a Poblano Pepper and often is mislabeled as a Pasilla or Mulato Pepper. Anchos have sweet fruity flavor with hints of cherry, prune, and fig. Anchos, combined with the Pasilla and Guajillo, form the Holy Trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces. Scoville heat units are 1,000 to 3,000.

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1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 Tbsp. olive oil
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
1 cup chicken broth
3 Tbsp. butter
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. Mexican oregano
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 Tbsp. flour
2 cups cream
lime juice to taste
1/3 cup minced cilantro leaves
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup vegetable oil
12 corn tortillas


Preheat the oven to 400F.

To prepare the filling:

Toss the butternut squash in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the squash to a large roasting pan and cover with foil. Roast for 20 minutes, then uncover and roast for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until tender. Set aside to cool.

To prepare the sauce:

Bring the chicken broth to a boil. Toast the whole chiles in a dry skillet over medium heat, pressing down on them with a spatula, for 15-20 seconds per side, or until they crackle and darken in color. Place the toasted chiles in a small bowl and add the hot chicken broth. Let them soak for about 10 minutes, then puree the reconstituted chiles with the broth in a blender. Pour the chile puree through a sieve into another bowl.

Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add the onion and garlic to the pot. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, or until soft, then add the cumin and oregano and sauté 1 minute more. Stir in the tomato paste, then add the flour and cook, stirring, for another minute. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cream. Bring to a boil over high heat, constantly whisking until thickened. Add the chile puree, and let simmer for 8-10 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and lime. Let cool slightly.

To assemble the dish:

Toss together the roasted squash, minced cilantro, 1-1/2 cups of shredded cheddar, and 1/2 cup of the sauce. Butter a 9-inch square baking dish. Heat the oil to 365F and dip one tortilla into the hot oil for 10-15 seconds, or until pliable, and drain on paper towels. Heap a spoonful of the squash mixture into the center of the tortilla and roll. Place the enchilada, seam side down, into the buttered baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling. Spread the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes, or until bubbling around the edges.

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