Foods | Cooking
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This recipe and photos are courtesy of Cynthia Detterick-Pineda of Andrews, TX. More of Cynthia's
This recipe came from a friend who does not remember who gave it to her. She
said it is one from the central part of Mexico, near Mexico City. I have to admit, the first time I tried it I had to pull out an old translation book.
No matter how good I thought my Spanish was, it just was not quite good enough.
Where enchiladas come from is much debated. Some would say the Aztecs, some the Mayans, and still
others think it was much more recent that these appeared on the menu. A 1949 article in American Food and Drink Magazine described enchiladas
as a tourist food, not a true Mexican dish. The first written reference I
found was in 1885, regarding a legal dispute against street vendors selling enchiladas.
Enchiladas were a
typical ranch house food early on, replicating the Mexican kitchen’s custom
of almost always having food on the stove. Even the cooks I know today have
something on the stove at almost all hours, whether it is beans, chili,
estofado (stew), or something else, a good Hispanic cook can always feed the
hungry. There may be as many ways to prepare enchiladas as there are ideas
about where they originated.
Enchiladas (Rolled Enchiladas) Recipe
Yields: 20 enchiladas
Prep time: 30 min
3 to 5 dried red
1 pound of pork, chicken breast or other meat of your choice, cooked and shredded**
garlic cloves, minced and divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
tomatoes, skins removed***
Pinch of oregano
1 cup of crema agrķa or sour cream (see recipe below)
1 cup freshly-grated cheese (Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Manchero, or Queso Quesadilla)
2 cups corn oil
corn tortillas (learn how to make homemade corn tortillas)
1 head of lettuce
1 long white radish (Daikon Radish works well), optional
* These can be found already
dried in packaged in bags in the ethnic food section and/or produce section of most supermarkets.
** You can use leftover beef roast, baked or
grilled chicken, or any other thoroughly cooked meat for this (if they have
not been overly seasoned.)
How To Peel Fresh Tomatoes.
Remove stems and seeds of the red chilies and
put to soak in a large pot of water for several hours. When the chilies
are soft, blend them in a blender with 1 clove of garlic and enough water
so that the mixture is only slightly thickened. It should cling to the end of a spoon.
In a large pot, cook the meat with the onion, garlic, and salt (making sure it is cooked through
until tender). Remove from heat and let the meat cool. When cool, pull meat
apart into small pieces (shred); set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the skinned tomatoes approximately 10 to 15 minutes until
softened; remove from heat and let cool. Chop the tomatoes with the remaining garlic, oregano,
and salt; set aside. NOTE: Mini food processors or choppers work well for this.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Using a sharp knife, shred the lettuce
into 1/4-inch strips and cut the radish into slices.
To assemble the enchiladas:
soften a corn tortilla, grab it with tongs, place it in hot corn oil in a skillet, turn almost immediately and then hold up to drain (you want to
soften the tortilla not cook it). You can also heat them on a
Comal or in the microwave if the oil part is a problem for you. To Microwave, place no more than 4 tortillas in at a time, arranged in a circular
pattern with the edges barely overlapping. Heat for 20 seconds, turn them over and heat for 10 more seconds.
Mexican Comal is a flat cast iron cooking plate that goes over the fire and is used mainly for making tortillas,
but also for roasting chile peppers and other vegetables. It is much like a griddle. A large
cast-iron frying pan can be used instead. Do not overlap, on a medium-hot cast-iron griddle or in a heavy frying
pan over medium-high heat. Turn frequently until soft and hot (about 30 seconds on each side).
Dip the softened tortilla in the pureed red chile sauce until well coated; hold up to let drain and then place on a large oblong dish.
Place some of the shredded meat slightly to one side of the tortilla and roll it up tightly into a cylinder with the
seam on the bottom, and position against the bottom edge of the baking dish.
Once you have assemble all the tortillas on the
baking dish, cover the tops with shredded lettuce, tomato mixture, Crema Agria (or sour cream), and cheese of your choice. The
sliced radish is served along side as an accompaniment.
Put the casserole in the oven for approximately 10 minutes or until the cheese melts; remove from oven. You are now ready to serve the enchiladas. Enjoy!
Makes 20 enchiladas.
Crema Agria Recipe:
Crema Agrķa is a Mexico’s version of sour cream. It can be found in some
supermarkets in the dairy section, but if you cannot find it and do not want
to simply substitute American sour cream, you can make it easily at home.
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons buttermilk
In a small saucepan over low heat, heat sour cream just enough to warm through;
remove from heat and allow to cool.
In a small jar, place the warm sour cream and the buttermilk; mix thoroughly with a whisk.
Cover the jar loosely and let the mixture stand at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours or until the mixture is thick and tart.