In the parts of Mexico this recipe originally came from, the word for "food" is generally the same as the word for corn tortilla, and the way that you cook or eat your tortillas is the name of the dish. "Enchilada" means "cooked with some chile", or to try to translate very literally into English, "en-chile-ated".
This is a very nice recipe for flat enchiladas, derived from the south of Mexico. The tortillas are cooked in a sauce strong with chile and chocolate, redolent of garlic and onions, and nicely spiced. The Enchiladas are rich with meat and cheese, nicely garnished, and fit for a King.
Enchilada Chile Sauce
To begin the Enchiladas we will make the sauce, which is the key to the whole dish.
In a frying pan, add:
Stir around until hot and starts to smell good, add:
Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer, and let simmer till needed.
The Meat, Onions and Cheese
While the sauce is simmering, fry up a pound of hamburger gently, or chop up 1 lb. roast pork or roast beef and add to the chile sauce. Let meat simmer gently in chile sauce for 20-30 minutes.
Next, finely chop 1 large onion and grate 1 lb. Monterey Jack or a mild cheddar cheese. Reserve. These will be used between the layers of your enchilada.
Tortillas, and Enchilada Construction
You can obtain corn tortillas about anywhere now. Buy the best you can get, the difference in quality is significant. Tortillas can be made at home using prepared masa, but to do it right is difficult, and the resulting tortillas are usually no better than the store bought ones. The best tortillas are prepared from scratch, but this is a very labor intensive and time consuming process, best left to true afecionados, and the very poor.
To fry the tortillas bring a small, heavy frying pan with about a half inch of lard or oil in it up to a sufficient temperature that a piece of tortilla dropped in it will rise to the surface in a couple seconds and sizzle.
To cook a tortilla, drop it in the oil for a couple seconds, and before it gets hard, pull it out of the oil, let the oil on it drain on a paper towel, then place the tortilla on a plate. Spoon on some of the chile meat sauce. Sprinkle on grated cheese and a bit of chopped onion. Quickly toss another tortilla in the oil. When the next tortilla is done lay it on top of the first tortilla and repeat the proceedure.
A stack of three tortillas is generally about right per person.
Because each enchilada is "custom made", and each takes time place the plates in a warm oven as you finish them so that they stay hot and so that the cheese will melt.
When you are ready to serve, remove the plates from the oven and surround the enchiladas with finely chopped lettuce. Then garnish the Enchiladas with at least a few of these:
Copyright©1996 Bruce Moffitt.