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How to Make Chef Diana Davila’s Delicious Crispy Enchiladas

These have become the beloved signature dish of San Luis Potosi in central Mexico.

enchiladas potosinas Photo: courtesy Mi Tocaya Antojeria

When chef Diana Davila was building her acclaimed restaurant Mi Tocaya Antojeria on Chicago’s North Side, there was a dish she knew she couldn’t leave off the menu: enchiladas potosinas. As a kid, she’d spend her summers in San Luis Potosi in Central Mexico where her family is from—and that’s where this unique take on enchiladas has become a signature dish. “Anytime that we go, I’d say, “We’ve got to get enchiladas potosinas,” Davila says. “Or anytime people come visit you from Mexico, they bring me enchiladas potosinas because it’s just a piece of home.”

What makes these enchiladas distinct is that the chili paste is blended right into the fresh masa that is only cooked on one side before being stuffed with a cheese mixture and then finished by shallow frying until they’re nice and crispy. “They look almost like dumplings,” Davila says.

The enchiladas potosinas are emblematic of the food Davila loves to serve at her restaurant—the kind of dishes normally saved for a special occasion because they take plenty of time and care to prepare. “They’re based on the dishes your mom, aunt, our abuela would make,” Davila says, while also acknowledging that she’s also willing to give those old family recipes her own twist. The award-winning chef has shared the multi-part process to make this dish all on your own at home. Or, you could always just get to Chicago and Mi Tocaya Antojeria and let her do all the hard work for you.

Enchiladas Potosinas With Ensalada Fresca and Tomatillo Salsa

Makes 27 enchiladas


Enchilada (chilli paste)

  • ¼ oz. (7.5 g) crushed guajillo chili (no stems/seeds)
  • ¼ oz. (7.5 g) crushed ancho chili (no stems/seeds)
  • 1.5 g pimentón
  • 0.5 g dried Mexican oregano
  • 4.5 g granulated onion
  • 3.5 g salt
  • 1 oz. (27.5 g) vegetable oil
  • 1.5 oz. (42.5 g) water

In a stainless steel bowl, combine the chilies, pimentón, granulated onion and salt. Mix by hand. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil and to 350°F (177°C). Add the chili mixture and cook, stirring constantly so the paste fries evenly but does not burn. Add a touch of salt. Add the water. Set to 210°F (99°C), occasionally stirring, for 10 minutes, until the chilies reconstitute and turn into a paste. Let the enchilada (chili paste) completely cool before using.

Cheese Filling Sauce

  • 4 oz. (112.5 g) charred tomatillos
  • ½ charred plum tomato
  • 3.5 g charred smashed garlic
  • 1 charred stemmed serrano chilies
  • 1/8 cup (30 ml) sunflower oil
  • Salt (optional)

Muddle the ingredients in a pestle and mortar or coarsely blend, adding salt if needed. Transfer to a pan and bring up to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Cheese Filling

  • 3.5 oz. (100 g) grated queso Sincho
  • 3.5 oz. (100 g) grated queso fresco
  • 2.5 oz. (70 g) sauce for Cheese Filling (see above)

In a stainless steel bowl, hand mix the cheeses and the sauce for the Cheese Filling. Set aside for stuffing.

Enchiladas Potosinas

  • ½ lb. (227.5 g) masa
  • ¾ lbs. (282.5 g) Queso Salsero (see recipe)

In a bowl, work the cooled chili paste (enchilada) into the masa with your hands until it’s evenly incorporated. Hand-press a ball of masa (about 15 g) into a thin tortilla round (use a plastic bag as a liner so it doesn’t stick). Cook the tortilla on a hot flattop. Only cook the tortilla on one side—it should be raw on the other side (making it adhesive). Remove from the heat and place about 1 teaspoon of the queso salsero mixture in the center. Fold the tortilla in half, enclosing the stuffing and pinching the seams. Return to the flattop to dry the masa on both sides and bind the ingredients. Let cool. To finish, lightly panfry or sear on the flattop until both sides are crisp. Do not deep fry!

Tomatillo Salsa

  • 2 tomatillos, quartered
  • ½ serrano chili, sliced
  • ½ avocado, pitted and halved
  • ¼ bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 0.5 oz. (14 g) lime juice
  • Salt

In a blender puree all the ingredients until silky smooth. Taste for salt.

Ensalada Fresca

  • Thinly sliced red cabbage
  • Finely sliced white onion
  • Finely julienned radish
  • Diagonally thinly sliced scallion
  • Avocado oil
  • Lime juice
  • Salt

In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage, onion, radish and scallion (green onion). Toss with avocado oil, lime juice and salt to taste. Dress with Tomatillo Dressing. Serve the enchiladas with Ensalada Fresca on the side.

The recipes are courtesy of Today’s Special cookbook by Phaidon as shared by Fine Dining Lovers.

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