Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner and I wanted to share this fabulous recipe for Cheesy Enchiladas in Mole. This is Jeff Mauro’s recipe, Ultimate Cheesy Enchiladas, from the Food Network with just a couple of changes. The sauce is not a true Mexican mole, like mole rojo, but it comes pretty close. I’d use this sauce in a heartbeat for any mole dish. The ingredients are easy to put together. I reconstituted powdered mole in this recipe: Turkey Enchiladas in Mole. But this sauce is so easy to make and comes together so quickly that I decided homemade was the way to go.
I decided to char a couple of mild long green chiles, like the ones used for Chile Rellenos, peeled off the skin, removed the seeds, and chopped them into a medium dice. I like the combination of cheese and chiles – who doesn’t like queso dip, right?- and thought chiles would add another layer of flavor.
Let’s talk about cheese.
Obviously, cheese is an important part of this dish. I decided to use Oaxaca cheese because I love it. Oaxaca is a mild-flavored, buttery cheese that melts like a dream. You can find Oaxaca cheese in any Mexican grocery and it is becoming common in most grocery stores, too. I find Oaxaca is cheaper at Mexican stores. Mauro also suggested Chihuahua which would be a good one, too. He added Monterey Jack and cheddar to his filling so the enchiladas are filled with lots of cheesy goodness. I’d recommend that you avoid substituting mozzarella for Oaxaca. Mozzarella melts beautifully, too, but lacks the richness of Oaxaca. Just sayin’.
Add oil to a pot over medium heat. Add flour and whisk together to make a roux. Add ancho chile powder, chipotle chile powder, cocoa, Mexican oregano, garlic powder, and cumin. Whisk together until the mixture begins to thicken and the spices are fragrant – 5 minutes tops. Add chicken stock, whisk until smooth, and cook until the sauce is slightly thickened. Add vinegar and check seasonings. Take off the cooktop and set aside. See, the mole comes together in no time at all.
Now it’s time to soften the tortillas. This step is quick and makes it easier to fill and roll the tortillas into enchiladas. Pour 1/2 cup oil over medium heat. Drop the tortillas one at a time into the hot oil. After 5 seconds, using tongs, flip the tortilla over to cook on the other side – 5 seconds. Remove the cooked tortilla to a baking sheet lined with paper toweling. I like to keep the tortillas separated using paper toweling between the layers. That way they drain well and don’t stick together.
In a large bowl, mix together the cheeses – Oaxaca, Monterey Jack, and sharp cheddar. Add the diced green chiles if using. Stir until everything is combined. Set aside.
Ladle some of your lovely sauce to the bottom of a 9″x13″ pan.
Preheat oven to 375°F. I use a quarter-sheet pan to roll whatever enchiladas I decide to make. Doing so keeps the process neat. This method is especially handy if you’re using flour tortillas dipped into a sauce to soften before rolling. Place 1/4 cup of the cheese filling on top of the tortilla. Roll into a nice tight little bundle and add the enchilada, seam side down, into the baking dish.
Fill your baking dish in two rows of six enchiladas per row.
You’ll have leftover cheese filling. That’s what you want.
Pour the remaining mole sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Bake for 20 minutes or until they’re hot and bubbly. Sprinkle remaining cheese mixture over the enchiladas. Continue to bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Remove from the oven to a cooling rack. Let your enchiladas rest for 10 minutes before serving.
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons ancho chile powder
- 1 Tablespoon chipotle chile powder
- 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
- 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 12 corn tortillas
- 16 oz. Oaxaca or Chihuahua cheese, shredded
- 4 oz. sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
- 4 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
- 2 long green chiles, roasted, peeled, and cut into medium dice OR 1 can diced green chiles
Make the mole sauce.
In a medium-sized pot, heat 1/4 cup vegetable oil over medium heat. Add flour and whisk together to form a roux. Add ancho chile, chipotle chile, cocoa, oregano, garlic powder, and cumin. Continue to whisk for 2-4 minutes until the spices become fragrant. Add chicken stock. Continue to whisk and cook until smooth and the mixture begins to slightly thicken - 2-3 minutes. Add vinegar. Stir and check for seasoning adding salt and pepper to taste if needed. Set aside.
Make the filling.
If you're using fresh chiles, roast them over an open flame or in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until the skin is blistered. Remove chiles and place in a plastic bag. Close and allow the chiles to steam for 10 minutes. Take the chiles out and with a sharp knife peel off the skin. Cut open the chile. Remove the stem and seeds. Chop chile into medium dice. OR add a can of diced green chiles. Add chiles to cheese and toss to distribute ingredients. Set aside.
Soften the tortillas.
In a 10-12" skillet, heat 1/2 cup vegetable oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, quickly fry each tortilla no more than 5 seconds per side. The object here is to soften the tortillas so they're easy to roll. Remove cooked tortillas to a sheet pan lined with paper towels using extra paper towels between layers.
Assemble the enchiladas.
- Heat oven to 375F degrees. In a 13"x9" baking pan, ladle 1/2 cup of the mole sauce in the bottom of the pan. Tilt the pan to coat evenly. Set aside.
- Using a plate or sheet pan, add 1/4 cup cheese mixture to one tortilla. Roll into a tight enchilada and place seam side down in the baking pan. Repeat for the remainder forming 2 rows of six enchiladas.
- Pour remaining mole sauce evenly over the top. Bake for 15 minutes until the enchiladas are heated and the sauce is bubbly. Add remaining cheese filling and return to oven for 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Remove to a cooling rack and rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Use any garnish you enjoy with Mexican food. I like shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes. Sour cream would be good or pickled jalapenos and fresh cilantro.
Jeff Mauro at Food Network is the author of this recipe.