- 3 tablespoons neutral oil, such as canola, plus more for greasing
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons ground red chile powder (see Tip)
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more for sprinkling
- 2 cups beef broth
- 10 corn tortillas
- 1 pound shredded Cheddar (5 cups)
- ½ cup finely diced white onion
- Fresh parsley or cilantro, for garnish (optional)
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch shallow baking dish or pan or a very large cast-iron skillet.
- Add the oil and flour to a medium skillet. Set over medium-low heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture (known as roux) turns a golden color, smells nutty and thickens, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add garlic, chile powder, cumin, oregano and black pepper to the roux. Whisk until smooth (some clumping from the garlic is fine), being careful to not let the spices burn, about 30 seconds.
- While whisking constantly, add beef broth ¼ cup at a time, whisking after each addition, until smooth. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, whisking occasionally, for 10 minutes. Then remove from heat, and allow the gravy to rest for another 10 minutes. Taste the gravy and season with salt as needed for a savory sauce.
- Meanwhile, in another pan, lightly heat a tortilla over medium just until softened, about 30 seconds per side. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel or sheet of foil and wrap. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, stacking them in the towel or foil. Be careful of overcooking: You’re softening each tortilla to prevent them from cracking as they’re filled and folded.
- Fill a softened tortilla with about ⅓ cup of cheese. Roll shut and, with the seam side facing downward, place in the greased baking dish or skillet. Repeat until you’ve filled all of the tortillas, setting the rolls next to each other.
- Slowly pour the gravy over all of the tortillas to coat. Afterward, sprinkle the dish with the rest of the cheese and the diced onion.
- Bake until the gravy is bubbling and the cheese melted, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Garnish with parsley, if desired, alongside a sprinkle of salt and black pepper. Serve immediately.
You want ground dried chiles, not chili powder, which includes other spices and salt. The choice of mild, medium or hot chile powder is up to you, but avoid using chipotle chile powder, which can end up bitter.