The chili gravy can be made a few days in advance to save time. And the recipe can be reduced very easily if needed.
Chili Gravy (makes 2 cups):
1/4 cup lard (or vegetable oil)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon powdered garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, Mexican oregano, if possible
2 Tablespoons chili powder
2 cups chicken broth (or substitute water)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
8 corn tortillas
2 cups chili gravy
2 cups shredded American or Velveeta cheese
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
To make the chili gravy:
Heat the lard or oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
Stir in the flour and continue stirring for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it makes a light brown roux.
Add all the dry ingredients and continue to cook for 1 minute, constantly stirring and blending ingredients.
Add chicken broth or water, mixing and stirring until the sauce thickens.
Turn heat to low and let sauce simmer for 15 minutes.
Add water if needed to adjust the thickness. Set aside.
To make the enchiladas:
Heat the oil on medium in a small skillet until the bottom of a wooden spoon creates bubbles when touched to the bottom of the pan.
Place a tortilla in the hot oil for a few seconds each side until soft (this will happen quickly, depending on how hot the oil is; don’t overcook).
Remove with tongs and a spatula for support, as the tortillas will be very soft and tend to fall apart.
Let most of the oil drip off when removing from pan; place on absorbent paper and allow to cool a bit before handling.
Ladle 1/4 cup of the chili gravy onto an ovenproof plate (this prevents the tortillas from sticking and drying out on the bottom).
Place 1/4 cup of the American cheese and 1 tablespoon of the chopped onion in the center of a tortilla and roll the tortilla around the filling.
Put the tortilla seam side down on the gravy-covered plate.
Repeat with another tortilla on the same plate.
Pour another 1/4 cup of the chili gravy over the top and sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the shredded Cheddar.
Repeat for all four plates.
(If not using individual plates, these can all be placed in an ovenproof casserole, although they will have a tendency to fall apart when removing, as they are very soft. Remove carefully with a spatula or two.)
Bake each plate in a 450° oven for 10 minutes or until the sauce bubbles and the cheese is well melted. (This might take a little longer if using a large casserole dish.)
Remove from the oven and garnish with the remaining chopped onions.