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Bold and Sassy Enchiladas

Matthew Sanchez from United States

Serves
6
Preparation
1 hour
Cooks in
30-45 minutes
Country of origin
Mexico

This enchilada dish was prepared for me by a another backpacker while traveling around Mexico years ago. He was from another part of Mexico and traveling around the country while on break from school. We were staying at the same hostel in the colonial mountain town of Zacatecas in the northern central highlands. The hostel happened to have an oven — a rarity in those parts.

Food being a principal uniting factor for humanity, we decided to share what happened to be our favorite meal: enchiladas. He insisted on preparing his mom’s specialty. I was more than happy to agree. We decided that dinner wouldn’t be complete without a couple of cold lagers to play backup support to the dinner. We bought a few caguamas (large bottles of beer) to drink while cooking and wash the heavy fat-laden dinner down the pipe.

Conversation revolved around food, Mexican life, food, beer, girls, food, family, and more food. We both agreed at the end of the night that it would be enchiladas that would one day bring about our demise.

Enchiladas are a Mexican staple and can be prepared countless different ways with countless different stuffing ingredients. What makes them enchiladas more than anything else is the sauce (lots of chili powder, hence the name) and to a lesser extent, the cheese. The only other main ingredient which is necessary is the same ingredient which makes all meals better: good company to help enjoy the meal.

Ingredients

  • enchilda sauce – 16 ounces (480 mL) or chicken broth, 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of ground cumin, 2 teaspoons (10 mL) of ground garlic powder, 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of white sugar, salt (to taste), a pinch of cinnamon (optional), 4 tablespoons (60 mL) of flour
  • 1 – 2 dozen tortillas (corn or flour)
  • tomato
  • onion
  • cilantro (coriander)
  • bell pepper (any color)
  • 1 pound (450 grams) shredded melting cheese (I use chedder, monterrey jack, or Oaxaca)
  • a low smoke cooking oil
  • Your choice of enchilada filling (beef is more popular with this type of sauce). Get creative! Beans, corn kernals, spinach, different types of vegetables.

Method

  • Prepare the sauce in a sauce pan large enough to hold 2 liters
  • bring the chicken broth to a simmer on medium heat while adding the ingredients and whisking vigorously
  • Adding the flour is a bit more delicate. You have to mix the flour with roughly 30-45 mL of cold water before adding to sauce. You want to make a watery paste out of the flour/water mixture by stirring vigorously. Slowly add the mixture to the sauce as it simmers on the stovetop. Bring to a light boil for approximately 3-4 minutes while whisking. Your sauce is done! Cover and keep it warm.
  • Shred your cilantro by removing the stems. Dice your onions and tomato to fine squares. Chop your bell pepper into thin strips. Set vegetables aside.
  • Heat a layer of oil approximately 1 – 2 inches (50 millimeters) deep in a deep frying pan at medium heat.
  • Drop your tortillas in the oil and let soak in oil for about 15-20 seconds turning the tortilla several times. Remove from oil with tongs and let drip over pan. Dip in enchilada sauce until adequately coated.
  • Lay sauce-covered tortilla in large casserole dish. Place cheese and other ingredients in tortilla (don’t overstuff) and roll into a flute-like shape.
  • Repeat last step until casserole dish is filled. Cover enchiladas with remaining sauce and cheese as well as chopped oniones and tomatoes. .
  • Preheat oven to 400 degress fahrenheit (204 degrees celsius)
  • Place enchilada casserole dish in preheated oven and let cook for 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool and garnish with cilantro and serve with chopped bell peppers. Mexican rice and your choice of beans make excellent side dishes
  • Savor!

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