Tex-Mex Enchiladas with Chili Gravy

Gabrielle Vernon-Melzer

Serves: 4 to 6

Hands On Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 0 minutes


3 tablespoons beef drippings, lard or vegetable oil

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon cayenne

2 cups beef broth

3 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese

5 scallions, finely chopped

10 to 15 white corn tortillas

Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish


Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the drippings and whisk in the flour to form a paste. Cook over a low heat for 2 minutes, stirring to avoid any burning. Add the spices to the pan and stir to incorporate. It should form a nice red paste. If it’s looking dry, add a bit more fat. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring to avoid burning.

While whisking, gradually add the beef broth. Continue to whisk until no lumps remain and the mixture forms a dark, glossy gravy. Bring to a simmer and let cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

While the gravy simmers, prepare the enchiladas. In a medium bowl, mix together the cheese and scallions. Put a good pinch of the mixture into each tortilla, making sure to reserve some of the cheese mixture for topping the enchiladas. Roll up each tortilla and place them, seam side down, side by side a 9- by 13-inch casserole dish. Continue until the dish is filled.

Pour the chili gravy over the rolled tortillas and bake for 13 minutes. Pull the enchiladas out of the oven and scatter any remaining shredded cheese over the top. Return to the oven and continue to bake until the cheese is bubbling, 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve hot.

About the recipe

Across Texas, enchiladas are served filled with cheese and drowned in a piquant chili gravy. You can make this dish vegetarian by using vegetable oil instead of beef drippings or lard, and substituting vegetable broth for the beef broth.