Beef-and-Cheese Red Chile Enchiladas


Dipping warm corn tortillas in freshly made red chile sauce infuses each rolled enchilada with the smoky-sweet flavor of New Mexico chiles. The hearty cumin scented beef-and-cheese filling stands up well to the bold sauce; for a quicker vegetarian version, fill the tortillas with 1 ounce of melty cheese, like queso Oaxaca or Monterey Jack. Sommelier Liz Martinez of the Daxton Hotel in Detroit, who provided the inspiration for this dish, suggests pairing red chile enchiladas with a Syrah, such as Cattleya The Initiation Syrah. "A super fruity red wine with darker flavors works as a cooling agent for the red spice," she says. "With its brooding fruit and floral aromatics, Syrah is a great match."

Beef-and-Cheese Red Chile Enchiladas
Photo: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
55 mins



  • 2 cups boiling water

  • 1 ounce New Mexico chiles (about 5 chiles), stemmed and seeded

  • 2 medium plum tomatoes, halved

  • 1 small yellow onion, quartered

  • 3 unpeeled garlic cloves

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin

  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, plus more for greasing baking dish

  • 1 pound 90% lean ground beef

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 12 (5 1/2-inch) corn tortillas, warmed

  • 12 ounces queso fresco, crumbled (about 3 cups)

Additional Ingredients

  • Fresh cilantro leaves, sliced scallions, and thinly sliced red onion rings, for garnish 

  • Lime wedges and sour cream, for serving


Make the sauce:

  1. Preheat oven to broil with rack about 6 inches from heat. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Combine 2 cups boiling water and chiles in a small heatproof bowl; let soak until chiles are softened, about 20 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup soaking liquid.

  2. While chiles soak, place tomatoes and onion, cut sides down, and garlic cloves on prepared baking sheet. Broil in preheated oven until vegetables begin to char and soften, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Remove and discard garlic skin.

  3. Transfer roasted tomatoes, onion, and garlic to a blender. Add drained chiles, reserved 1 cup soaking liquid, vinegar, salt, cumin, and garlic powder. Secure lid on blender, and remove center piece to allow steam to escape. Place a clean towel over opening. Process until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer sauce to a shallow bowl; set aside until ready to use.

Make the enchiladas:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add beef; cook, stirring often, until browned and just cooked through, about 6 minutes. Stir in salt and cumin; remove from heat.

  2. Lightly grease a 13- x 9-inch baking dish with oil; set aside. Dip 1 tortilla into sauce, letting excess drain back into bowl; lay tortilla flat on a clean work surface. Spoon about 1/4 cup beef mixture down middle of tortilla, and top with 2 rounded tablespoons queso fresco. Roll up tortilla, and place, seam side down, in prepared baking dish. Repeat process with remaining 11 tortillas. Spoon 1/2 cup sauce over rolled tortillas. Sprinkle evenly with 1/2 cup queso fresco.

  3. Bake enchiladas in preheated oven until browned and bubbly, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer enchiladas to a large platter, if desired. Garnish with cilantro, scallions, and red onion. Serve with lime wedges, sour cream, remaining 1 cup sauce, and remaining 1/2 cup queso fresco.

Suggested Pairing

Cattleya The Initiation Syrah

Related Articles