I like enchiladas almost as much as I like burritos. I say “almost” because with burritos, I just put out bowls of ingredients and the family rolls their own…with enchiladas the work is all mine.
I first tried making enchiladas when I was looking for something original to do with the leftover Christmas turkey. We were turkey sandwiched to death and I just wanted something different from the banal turkey vegetable soup. I started hunting around for chicken recipes and found one for chicken enchiladas. This is not that recipe…I didn’t like the looks of that one…but the idea for turkey enchiladas had been planted in my head and I soon added this little gem to my repertoire.
Try making more than one kind of enchilada at a time: maybe two meat, two chicken, and two cheese (which are vegetarian). Cook them all in the same dish at the same time, providing a variety of tastes at the table.
Caveat! This is not an authentic Mexican recipe, it is my interpretation of the enchilada. So if doesn’t look like it will make the enchiladas you love from Tia Maria or Pepe’s Restaurant and Panaderia, that is to be expected. But it tastes fabulous, just the same!
12 flour tortillas, warmed until they are flexible
2 lb (1 kg) ground meat or chopped chicken (optional)
2 medium onions, minced fine
2 to 4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder (optional)
2 cans (410g) La Victoria Enchilada Sauce
2 cans (410g) Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce
1 lb mild cheddar, grated
1 lb Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1 small can sliced black olives, drained
6 roasted Anaheim chilies (canned Ortega chilies are OK) (Optional)
Salt to taste
Set oven for 350°F. Line a 13” x 9” x 3” baking dish with foil or spray well with cooking spray.
Cook meat, one onion, garlic, bell pepper and seasonings until fully browned and broken up and crumbly. If using left over meats that are already cooked, sauté the onion, garlic, pepper and seasonings in a small amount of oil until onion is translucent and add meat and sauté just until warmed.
Open the cans of enchilada sauce and mix them together in a shallow dish (I use a pie dish). Ladle a small amount of sauce into the bottom of the baking dish and coat the bottom.
Reserve back ¾ cup enchilada sauce and ½ cup of each cheese.
Cheese enchilada: Warm a tortilla, dip it in the enchilada sauce, and lay on a plate. Spoon some of each cheese onto tortilla in a line to the side of the centre. Sprinkle with chopped onion and sliced olives. Add strips of roasted chili, if desired. Starting near the filling, roll the tortilla to enclose the filling in a “tube.” Lay the rolled tortilla, flap side down, crossways in the baking dish. Repeat until baking dish is full.
Meat or chicken enchilada: Warm a tortilla, dip it in the enchilada sauce, and lay on a plate. Spoon some meat onto tortilla in a line to the side of the centre. Cover with some of each cheese and sprinkle with chopped onion. Starting near the filling, roll the tortilla to enclose the filling in a “tube.” Lay the rolled tortilla, flap side down, crossways in the baking dish. Repeat until baking dish is full.
When baking dish is full, pour remaining sauce over the enchiladas, then top with remaining cheese, onions and olives.
Cover with foil and seal foil to baking dish. Bake until cheese is melted, about 45 minutes.
Serve with refried beans as a side dish.
Use chopped leftover turkey in place of chicken
Shred leftover beef and use it in place of ground meat
Add some roasted Anaheim chili to a cheese enchilada before rolling up
Experiment with new kinds of cheeses
Use corn tortillas (heat first to make them flexible)
Add vegetables, like corn kernels, to the filling
Photo by wordridden, flickr