Friday, August 26, 2011


Mexico boasts a myriad of enchilada styles--perhaps there are as many types of enchiladas as there are Mexican grandmothers. While "enchilada" technically means "in chile", nearly any sauce will make a delicious one--tomato, chile, mole. And, nearly any filling will work--pork, beef, chicken, cheese. The tomato sauce recipe here, from Rick Bayless's cookbook, is simple to make and tastes terrific. I am including recipes for two different fillings: chicken with sour cream and onion/cheese. Make some soon!

One thing about enchiladas--once you make them, you have to serve 'em right away. The corn tortillas quickly turn to mush.

Enchiladas Suizas (with chicken)
12 corn tortillas
canola oil
enchilada sauce (follows)
2 cups sour cream
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated and separated
3/4 cup sliced/chopped green onion
1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
garnish such as chopped lettuce, tomatoes, green onion, sliced black olives, a dollop of sour cream (any or all is optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 13x9 baking pan with cooking spray.

Mix sour cream, chicken, 1 cup cheese, green onion and spices.

Heat enchilada sauce in a saucepan.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, quickly fry tortillas one at a time--just a few seconds on each side will do; you don't want them to be crispy. After frying, dip quickly in the enchilada sauce, then place tortilla on a plate. Place a dollop of the chicken mixture down the center of the tortilla, roll it tightly and then place seam-side down in the prepared pan. Continue the process until all 12 enchiladas are in the pan. Spoon a little extra sauce on the enchiladas if you like. Don't douse them with the sauce, though, as that will make the tortillas mushy. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melty and enchiladas are bubbling. Serve right away with any garnishes you like.

Enchiladas with cheese and onion
8 ounces jalapeno jack cheese, grated
12 ounces cheddar cheese, grated and separated
2 ounces queso fresco, crumbled, plus more for garnish (available in most well-stocked grocery stores or Mexican market; if not available, substitute with extra cheddar or jack)
1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups onions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Salt to taste
a few drops Mexican hot sauce (we love Victoria or Chalupa at our house)
12 corn tortillas
Enchilada sauce (recipe follows below)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a 13x9 pan with cooking spray.

Mix together the jack, 8 ounces cheddar and the queso fresco in a bowl. Saute onions in olive oil until tender and slightly browned, about 5 minutes (you can continue to cook until caramelized if you like; this will make the finished enchiladas sweeter). Stir in seasonings and hot sauce.

Follow directions to make enchiladas as described above: briefly frying tortillas first, dipping in warmed enchilada sauce, and then assembling each with first the cheese and then the onion mixture. Roll and place seam-side down in prepared pan. Spoon a little extra enchilada sauce over, sprinkle with remaining 4 ounces cheddar and bake for 15-20 minutes. Serve right out of the oven, sprinkling with finely crumbled queso fresco.

Rick Bayless's Tomato Enchilada Sauce 
2 (28 oz) cans tomatoes, drained
2 serranos or 1 jalapeno
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups chicken broth

Stem and roast chilies in a small, dry frying pan until soft and splotchy black. Put chiles in a blender with the tomatoes and puree.

In a 4 or 5 quart pot, heat oil to medium and add onion. Cook, stirring regularly until golden, about 7 minutes. Raise heat to medium high and stir in tomato puree. You might want to add a splatter guard immediately after adding the tomatoes as it will pop and sizzle. Cook until thickened, 10-15 minutes. Add chicken broth and stir, partially cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1/2 teaspoon. Sauce should have a slightly soupy consistency, not as thick as spaghetti sauce. If it is too thick, stir in a little extra broth or water.

I usually have some sauce left over and it freezes beautifully for making enchiladas another time.

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