Tex-Mex Cheese Enchiladas

Serves 4 to 6.

Note: A smoky chile gravy tops these enchiladas. Find dried ancho chiles near the produce section. From "Spiced," by the editors of America's Test Kitchen.

1 oz. (about 2) dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into 1/2-in. pieces (1/2 c.)

• 1 tbsp. cumin seeds

• 1/2 tsp. black peppercorns

• 2 tsp. dried oregano

• 5 tbsp. vegetable oil, divided

• 1 tbsp. garlic powder

• 3 tbsp. flour

• Salt and pepper

• 2 c. chicken or vegetable broth

• 2 tsp. distilled white vinegar

8 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (2 c.)

6 oz. sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (1 1/2 c.)

• 12 (6-in.) corn tortillas

• 1 c. finely chopped onion, divided


Toast anchos and cumin seeds in 12-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a spice grinder (or use a blender in the "grind" mode) and let cool for 5 minutes. Add peppercorns and oregano, and process until finely ground, about 30 seconds.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chile mixture, garlic powder, flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and slightly deepened in color, about 1 minute.

Slowly whisk in broth, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps. Bring to simmer and cook, whisking often, until sauce has thickened and measures 1 1/2 cups, about 5 minutes. Whisk in vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Spread 1/2 cup sauce over bottom of 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Combine Monterey Jack and Cheddar in bowl; set 1/2 cup aside for topping. Brush both sides of tortillas with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Stack tortillas, wrap in damp dish towel, place on plate and microwave until warm and pliable, about 1 minute.

Working with 1 warm tortilla at a time, spread 1/4 cup cheese mixture across center of each tortilla and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon onion. Roll tortilla tightly around filling and place, seam side down, in baking dish, arranging enchiladas in 2 columns across width of dish.

Pour remaining sauce over top to cover completely and sprinkle with reserved cheese. Cover dish tightly with greased aluminum foil. Bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup onion and serve.