I didn’t realize chili gravy cheese enchiladas were a very “South Texas” thing until moving away from home. I couldn’t find this type of enchilada on any menu I encountered. One of my favorite Mexican restaurants back home is called “Kikos”. They have an incredibly large menu full of some of my favorite Mexican dishes. One that I’ve been eating since I was a little girl is the chili gravy cheese and onion enchiladas. It’s a very simple Mexican chili gravy with ground beef on top of a cheese filled corn tortilla with chunks of white onion throughout. They are still to this day one of my favorite enchiladas in the world. Mmmm I can taste them now as I write this post. Those enchiladas put me in a happy food como after indulging. Oh they are something else!
My dad made his own homemade version of the dish at home for us when I was younger (which are delicious!). Over the years I’ve also created my own version of the “classic” I loved so much my whole life. I’ve used ground beef before, but this time I decided to change it up and use chorizo. Chorizo is a sausage filled with Mexican spices. It’s used in tons of Mexican dishes and I use it pretty often in my cooking. I love chorizo in my eggs in the morning, in my tacos, beans, or even my enchiladas. It’s incredibly flavorful and adds a unique flavor you can’t get with anything else.
The chorizo I used is La Banderita Chorizo. It comes in a vacuum sealed package with 6 links of sausage all wrapped in a heavy casing. If you are using this brand (which I recommend) be sure to remove the casing before cooking. The inside is a sticky soft sausage (this is the part you want to use). I recommend getting a chorizo in a tube/link form. The ground chorizo is much more chunky and less flavorful in my opinion. The links are creamy in texture and sticky to the touch. The two different types cook very differently from one another.
These enchiladas hold my heart in such a special way. It’s like tasting a piece of home with every bite I take. The smells from the stovetop are that familiar South Texas scent I miss dearly. Everything about these enchiladas has Corpus Christi written all over them. I know they may look unfamiliar and offbeat to you, but please don’t knock it till you try it. I promise they will become some of your new favorite enchiladas!
CHEESE ENCHILADAS SMOTHERED IN CHORIZO CHILI GRAVY
Prep time: 35 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes
Makes: 12-14 enchiladas
CHORIZO CHILI GRAVY INGREDIENTS:
1/2 yellow onion, small dice
1 serrano chili, small dice
3 tbsp rendered bacon fat (or butter or olive oil)
3/4 lb chorizo (about 4 links of La Banderita Chorizo, casing removed)
3 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp ancho chili powder
2 tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp ground coriander
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
3 cups regular chicken broth
1/2 tbsp kosher salt
Heat a large tall rimmed pan to medium high heat. Add in bacon fat, onion and Serrano chili. Cook for about 2 minutes while stirring occasionally.
Add in chorizo sausage and cook until all the way cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Add in flour, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, coriander and oregano. Mix around and cook for another 90 seconds.
Slowly add in chicken broth while stirring with a whisk. Bring the mixture to a soft boil. The gravy will slowly start to thicken. Continue to whisk for 3-5 minutes. Once the gravy has thickened, turn the heat off.
Depending on the type of chicken broth and chorizo you used, the gravy might already be salty enough. If not, add in salt to taste. I used 1/2 tbsp kosher salt.
14 corn tortillas
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Heat the oil in a shallow skillet to 350 degrees.
One at a time, cook the tortillas in the oil 4 seconds per side. Repeat till all of the tortillas are done. Drain on paper towels to remove excess oil.
** Make sure not to overcook the tortillas. You don’t want to make them crispy. You only want to flash fry them to make them hold up better when cooked in the oven. If you don’t fry the tortillas, they will turn out gushy. Do not skip this step.**
1 lb sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 large white onion, small dice
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Place about 1/4 inch of chorizo chili gravy at the bottom of an 10×12 baking dish.
Take a corn tortilla and dip both sides into the chorizo gravy. Place dipped tortilla on a plate and fill with about 2 tbsp cheddar cheese and 1 tbsp onion. Do not overfill or it will be harder to roll. If it is difficult to roll enchilada, remove some of the cheese/onion filling. Place rolled enchilada in the baking dish. Repeat till all the tortillas are rolled. *You will not use all of the cheese.*
Finish the enchiladas with the remaining chili gravy on top. Then lay a layer of the remaining cheddar cheese on top of the chili gravy.
Place in the oven for 15 minutes or until the whole dish is heated through and the corner are bubbling.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.