Novice cooks, this one is for you! Enchiladas Rojas is actually one of the easiest dishes to conquer if you're still a little unsure in the kitchen. Authentic and delicious, yet super easy, it's the perfect low-stress meal for family dinners or even entertaining a few guests.
Enchiladas Rojas (also known as red enchiladas) consist of warm corn tortillas dipped in a savory red sauce, filled with your favorite shredded protein, and topped off with queso fresco, cilantro, and more. Whether you fill them with shredded beef, pulled pork, or chicken, these things are addictively delicious.
HOW TO MAKE ENCHILADAS ROJAS
The first thing you're going to do to make Enchiladas Rojas is whip up the Roja sauce. This sauce comes together first in a saucepan in order to hydrate the chiles. If you've never worked with dried chiles before, don't let that intimidate you! The sauce is simple to make, and the flavors pay off in a seriously big way.
WHY TWO DIFFERENT CHILES?
There's more than one way to make a great Enchiladas Rojas sauce, but today's recipe is about getting the most flavor bang for your buck, without having to pull in an onslaught of ingredients. Therefore, we will be using just 2 different types of chiles to create the most delicious red sauce you've ever eaten! You will need both Guajillo and Ancho chiles for this recipe.
Guajillo chiles are sleek and deeply red in appearance, with slightly fruity, smoky undertones. They are somewhat tangy, with subtly bitter notes of green tea. Ancho chiles are much larger, almost black, and raisin-like in appearance, thanks to a fair amount of wrinkling. Anchos also bring a savory, smoky flavor profile to the table, although they are considered to be a bit more earthy and a little less tangy.
Neither one of these chiles are particularly spicy, and they are relatively mild on the Scoville scale. You should expect your Enchiladas Rojas to reflect just that. So if you're sensitive to spicy food, fear not -- the chiles are there to add flavor, not heat!
Each chile, while similar, has delicious and unique qualities to offer, and together, they are guaranteed to create a next-level enchilada sauce.
For another easy and delicious enchilada recipe, try our green enchiladas!
MAKE THE ROJA SAUCE (RED ENCHILADA SAUCE)
To make the Roja sauce you will first remove the stem and the seeds from both of your Guajillo and ancho chiles. Once you have the stems and the seeds removed, add them to a medium-sized saucepan along with all of the other ingredients.
Here's what you'll need for the Roja sauce:
- Guajillo Chiles
- Ancho Chiles
- Chicken Broth
- Tomato Sauce
- White Onion
- Kosher Salt
- Mexican Oregano
Once you've got all of the ingredients in the pan, place it over medium-high heat and allow the mixture to reach a boil. As soon as the mix reaches a boil, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Allow everything to simmer for about 15 minutes, or just until the onions and the chilies are fork tender.
Carefully transfer the mix to either a blender or a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Secure the lid, remove the feed tube, and cover with a dish towel. Process until the sauce is completely smooth and everything has been entirely puréed. This should take anywhere from 1 to 2 minutes. Pat yourself on the back; you've officially made the greatest red enchilada sauce in the world! Time to move on to the tortillas.
ABOUT THE TORTILLAS
In an authentic Enchiladas Rojas recipe, the tortillas are lightly fried. So First, we'll walk through how to fry tortillas for enchiladas to absolute perfection... then I'll share with you the easy way.
You'll need about 12 corn tortillas and a quarter cup of vegetable or canola oil. Add your oil to a medium-sized fry pan and place the frying pan over medium heat. As soon as the oil has come to temperature, carefully lay the tortilla in the oil and allow it to sizzle for about 5 seconds.
Then, turn the tortilla and fry the other side for about 5 seconds more. You are not looking to make tostadas here! Make sure you don't leave the tortilla in the oil long enough to get crispy! Transfer your tortillas to a paper towel-lined plate, and that's all there is to frying tortillas for Enchiladas Rojas!
If you don't feel like getting out the frypan and the oil, you can also make your corn tortillas easily pliable and perfect for rolling by simply microwaving them. With this method, you should expect your tortillas to be slightly softer than if you had flash fried them.
To microwave your tortillas, wrap 4 to 6 tortillas in damp paper towels and place them on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave your tortillas for about 45 seconds or until they are pliable and slightly steamy.
For another technique check out our beef enchilada casserole.
ENCHILADAS ROJAS FILLING OPTIONS
There are so many delicious ways to fill Enchiladas Rojas. Shredded chicken, shredded pork, or shredded beef will do the trick just fine! You will want to have about 2 to 3 cups of meat filling.
Another authentic and traditional way to serve this classic enchilada recipe is by filling them using crumbled queso fresco as the filling. If you would like to do a queso fresco filling, you will need about one and a half cups of crumbled cheese.
If you decided on chicken without missing a beat, you should definitely check out our verde chicken enchiladas as well!
ASSEMBLE THE ENCHILADAS ROJAS
For presentation purposes, I prefer to assemble the enchiladas on a work surface, not directly on the plate. Dip your corn tortillas in the Rojas sauce, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of your desired filling, and either roll the enchiladas or simply fold the tortilla over.
I like to add a good smear of the Roja sauce on a serving plate, place your enchiladas on top, and finish them off with another spoonful or 2 of the Roja sauce.
Top them off with sliced radishes, fresh cilantro, crumbled queso fresco cheese, diced avocado, shredded lettuce, or anything else your heart desires!
6 MORE MEXICAN RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
- Steak Burrito
- Tacos de Barbacoa
- Tacos de Camaron
- Crockpot Chicken Enchiladas
- Chicken Tacos
- Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas
Enchiladas Rojas consist of warm corn tortillas dipped in a savory red sauce and filled with your protein of choice. Easy and so delicious!
- 6 Guajillo chiles, stem and seeds removed
- 2 Ancho chiles, stem and seeds removed
- 1 cup unsalted chicken broth
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 2 medium-sized tomatoes, seeded and cut into quarters
- 1 white onion, cut into chunks
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- ¼ cup canola or vegetable oil (for frying tortillas, if desired - see notes for alternative warming method)
- 12 corn tortillas
- 2-3 cups cooked and shredded chicken, pork, or beef
- Optional toppings: queso fresco, radishes, cilantro, shredded lettuce, lime wedges for squeezing
Add all of the ingredients to a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the mixture reaches a boil, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer.
Stir occasionally and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the onions and chiles are fork-tender.
Transfer the mixture to a blender or a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Cover, remove the small blender cap or feed tube, cover the opening with a dishtowel, and blend until smooth.
For authentic enchilada rojas, add oil to a medium-sized fry pan over medium heat and bring to temperature. One at a time, fry the tortillas for about 5 seconds on each side. See notes below if you do not wish to fry your tortillas.
Dip the warmed tortilla in the sauce and transfer to a work surface. Add 2-3 tablespoons of shredded meat and roll or fold over to enclose.
Transfer to a plate, top with a generous spoonful of sauce, queso fresco, and any other desired toppings. Serve and enjoy!
HOW TO WARM TORTILLAS WITHOUT FRYING:
Working in batches of 4-6. Wrap the corn tortillas in a damp paper towel and place them on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave for about 30 to 45 seconds, or until very pliable and soft.