Thursday, January 06, 2011

Smoky cheese enchiladas

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Crushed chipotle chili adds an enticing smoky flavor and gentle layer of heat to these enchiladas, which are enriched with two kinds of cheeses.

* 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, heated to boiling
* 6 New Mexico chilies, seeded and torn into small pieces
* 2 Tbs. corn or canola oil, plus more for frying
* 1/2 white onion, chopped
* 2 large garlic cloves, minced
* 1 can (28 oz.) whole tomatoes with juices
* 2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
* 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
* Sea salt, to taste
* 3 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
* 1 bunch green onions, white and light green portions, minced
* 1 tsp. crushed chipotle chili, or to taste
* 12 corn tortillas, each 8 inches in diameter
* 8 oz. queso fresco cheese, crumbled


In a heatproof bowl, combine the hot broth and chilies and let stand until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, reserving the broth.

In a fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the 2 Tbs. oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a blender. Add the tomatoes and their juices, the chilies, oregano and cumin and process until smooth. Return the mixture to the fry pan, set over medium heat and cook, stirring, until bubbling, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of the reserved broth and season with salt. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then taste and adjust the seasonings. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened but still pourable, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Preheat an oven to 375°F.

In a large bowl, combine the cheddar cheese, green onions and crushed chipotle chili and stir well. Pour a thin layer of the sauce into an 8-by-12-inch baking dish.

Set another fry pan over medium heat and pour in a thin film of oil. Add a tortilla and heat for a few seconds until softened. Using tongs, transfer the tortilla to a work surface. Sprinkle about 2 Tbs. of the cheese mixture down the center of the tortilla, roll it up and place, seam side down, at one end of the dish. Repeat to fill the remaining tortillas. Pour the remaining sauce over them, covering completely. Top with the remaining cheddar cheese mixture.

Bake until the cheese melts and the tortillas have absorbed the sauce, about 25 minutes. Top with the queso fresco and bake until slightly melted, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from a recipe by Williams-Sonoma.

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