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Tex-Mex Enchiladas

12 corn tortillas, softened See Cook’s Notes

12 oz. grated mild cheddar cheese

1/2 c. minced onions (optional)

Ancho Chili Sauce (prepare ahead; see recipe below)

Using about three-fourths of the cheese, place a small amount just off center in each tortilla, sprinkle on some of the onion (if desired), and roll up. Place enchiladas in a shallow baking pan, or place 3 of them on each of 4 ovenproof serving plates. Ladle sauce generously over enchiladas, sprinkle with remaining cheese (and remaining onion, if desired), and bake in a 350º oven for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese melts and sauce bubbles. Yield: 12 enchiladas, or 4 servings.

ANCHO CHILI SAUCE 4 ancho chilies (anchos are dried poblanos) 2 T. oil 2 oz. (about 1/4 c.) ground beef 2 T. flour 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin 3/4 c. tomato sauce 4 cloves garlic, chopped 1 tsp. dried whole oregano About 1 1/4 tsp. salt

Using kitchen tongs to turn them, toast chilies on a griddle or skillet over medium heat until just fragrant (20-30 seconds on each side), but do not scorch. Rinse chilies under cold running water, remove stems and most of the seeds and veins, chop coarsely, and place in blender. Fill blender with very hot water, and soak chilies for 20 minutes.

Discard soaking water. Add 1 c. fresh water to chilies, and blend mixture for 2-3 minutes, or until smooth. Add 3 c. water, and blend again for 1 minute. Pour mixture through a strainer, pressing lightly but not forcing skins through, into a bowl (a food mill works well for this step); set aside.

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add ground beef, and cook until browned, stirring constantly. Add flour, and continue cooking and stirring for 11/2 to 2 minutes. Add cumin, and continue cooking for 20 seconds. Stir in about 1/2 c. of puréed chilies, allow sauce to thicken, and then gradually stir in remaining purée. Add tomato sauce, bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat,

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