Thursday, June 15, 2006

Birthday Enchiladas

My darling husband turned 24 last week and for his birthday dinner with his family, I made enchiladas. This was my second attempt at re-creating my mother's wonderful enchiladas, and after many phone coaching sessions and e-mailing back and forth with recipes and questions, they were painstakingly assembled and baked. Overall they were very good and I was pleased. The perfectionist in me must point out that they were a little dry, but not too much so. Be sure and cook them with foil, or add more sauce then I did.

Below is the recipe for the sauce with additional notes from my mom. The sauce is really what makes these enchiladas. You can vary the filling as desired.

I tripled this sauce recipe because I was serving 11 people, but I had quite a bit leftover. I followed it exactly, but I ended up having to add more flour and water because it wasn't as thick as I thought it should be. According to Mom it should be the consistancy of spaghetti sauce once thickened. Also, I didn't add nearly as much chili powder as it called for because I didn't want to make it too hot for the kids.

Enchilada Sauce

3 Tbsp. OIL
3 Tbsp. FLOUR
2 1/2 Cups WATER
SALT to taste

Heat oil. Brown the flour in the oil. To water, add chili powder and dissolve evenly. Add to browned flour. Then add seasonings. Stir to boil over medium heat. Let simmer 10 to 15 minutes or till thickened like gravy.

(notes from my mom)

That's the recipe from the book, but it won't make enough sauce for several pans of enchiladas. You'll probably want to triple the recipe, but since I don't measure I can't tell you for sure.

What I do is this:

Heat Oil.
Brown flour on medium to low heat. This takes some time, don't rush it. If the flour is fully in the oil, then it will get smooth and bubbly and will then brown. This is like you would start gravy.

I don't usually add my chili powder to the water like the above recipe says, but maybe that makes for no chili lumps, I don't know. Usually I just add my chili powder to the sauce after I've added the water. Do it slowly, stirring continually and you shouldn't get many lumps. Same with the garlic powder.

Also, I most always add a bit of ground cumin to my sauce. If you don't have any, it's not necessary, but it does give a good flavor. Sometimes I add a small can of tomato sauce.

Let me know how it comes out.


(my notes)
Here's what I did for the filling and assembly.
Make sauce as directed above. Brown ground beef with diced onion, garlic, salt, and pepper to taste. After it is drained and cooled, you can mix with cheese(chedder, or Monterey Jack) for the filling. Heat corn tortillas either in the microwave or by frying with a bit of oil in a skillet for less mushy enchiladas.

Spoon just enough sauce into baking pan to cover bottom of pan. Dip warm tortillas in sauce to coat both sides. Fill them with pre-mixed filling or you can put the beef and the cheese in the tortillas separately. Roll up and place in pan. Once the pan is full, spread more sauce over the top of the enchiladas, but not so much that they are swimming in sauce. Finish by topping with more shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for apx. 45 minutes covered. Take foil off the last 5-10 minutes. Let sit a few minutes before serving so they set up.

You can see in the picture below how my assembly line is set up. I was frying the tortillas, dipping them in sauce, filling them with the ground beef and cheese and rolling them up, all in one place. The final picture is the finished enchiladas before they were cooked.

For this many enchiladas, I used 3 pounds of ground beef, 7 cups of cheese, 32 tortillas, 3 recipes of sauce, and 1 1/2 containers of chili powder.


Jenn said...

Wow, that is a ton of great looking enchiladas! As a family of 8, I like to make huge pans of stuff like this. I haven't added enchiladas to my repetoire though, I have let our picky little ones dictate the course of our appetites and dining adventures. No more though! I would like to try this, would you mind sharing the enchilada recipe? I'd rather try a tried and true recipe than one out of a book.
Thanks! Your hubby must be feeling very lucky ..hehe I'm enjoying your cooking adventures!

Jenn said...

ooops I see that you did already give the instructions for the filling, too.