Chicken enchiladas with homemade enchilada sauce

Time 35 minutes
Yields Serves 2 to 4
Chicken enchiladas with homemade enchilada sauce
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times )

Salsa roja


In a large saute pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and bring the mixture to a simmer, then whisk in the chile paste. Slowly whisk in ½ cup of the cold water, followed by the chicken broth. Whisk in the chicken base, cumin, garlic powder and remaining water, then remove from heat.


Pour the mixture into a sauce pan and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook the sauce for about 10 minutes to marry the flavors, adding additional broth to thin, if desired. This makes about 1½ cups salsa roja. Keep the sauce warm while assembling the enchiladas.

Chicken enchiladas


Heat the oven to 250 degrees.


Heat a thin layer of canola oil in a large skillet. Add the tortillas, one at a time, carefully warming them on each side so they are pliable but not crispy.


After each tortilla is warmed, assemble an enchilada: lay the tortilla flat on an oven-proof plate or baking dish and add a small handful of chicken, then shredded cheese, in the center. Top with a little salsa roja, then wrap the tortilla tightly. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, rolling the enchiladas tightly against each other.


Top the assembled enchiladas with additional salsa roja and cheese. Place the plate in the oven until the cheese is melted and the enchiladas are warmed through, about 5 minutes. Carefully remove the hot plate and serve immediately.

Adapted from a recipe by Christy Vega Fowler of Casa Vega in Sherman Oaks. To make chile paste, submerge 2 each dried pasilla and California chiles in a small bowl of boiling water until softened, about 10 minutes. Stem the chiles, then puree, with ¼ cup of the reserved soaking water (or as needed), to form a paste.

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