Onion and Olive Enchiladas

  • Serves

    serves 8


Anaheim and pasilla chiles combine in a pureed sauce for these Cal-Mex—style enchiladas, filled with cotija cheese and black olives. This recipe first appeared in our December 2012 issue along with Georgia Freedman's story California Eternal.


  • 10 dried Anaheim or New Mexican chiles, stemmed
  • 6 dried pasilla chiles, stemmed
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 12 cup olive oil
  • 5 tbsp. flour
  • 2 tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 10 (6") flour tortillas
  • 12 oz. cotija cheese
  • 1 (6-oz.) can large pitted black olives, drained and roughly chopped


Step 1

Heat oven to 350°. Place chiles in a large bowl, and cover with boiling water; let sit until chiles are soft, about 20 minutes. Drain, reserving 2½ cups soaking liquid, and then remove stems and seeds from chiles; transfer chiles to a blender along with reserved soaking liquid and garlic; puree until smooth, and set aside.

Step 2

Heat 5 tbsp. oil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat; add flour, and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is a light caramel color, about 3 minutes. Add chile puree, vinegar, and oregano, and season with salt. Bring to a boil, and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 5 minutes; set chile sauce aside. Heat remaining oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, and cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Step 3

To assemble, spread ¼ cup chile sauce in the bottom of a 9" × 13" baking dish. Dip one tortilla at a time into sauce, and then place on a plate; sprinkle with? cup cooked onions, ¼ cup cotija, and 1 tbsp. olives. Roll up tightly, and place in the baking dish, seam-side down; repeat with remaining tortillas, and more sauce, cheese, and olives.

Step 4

Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas, and sprinkle with remaining cheese and olives; bake until heated through and cheese is just melted, about 40 minutes.

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