Saturday, October 17, 2009

How To Make Enchiladas Like Mom Made

Mom (Narcissa Padron etc.) taught me how to make enchaladas. They are not difficult but used to be time consuming. Not so any more, as we now have excellent quality corn tortillas available and can simply warm them on a comal instead of having to fry each for a couple of seconds in lard so they would soften up enough to eat. Alvina told me recently that her mother also used to fry the tortillas, but that she no longer does either. Those old packaged corn tortillas we used to
get were not nearly the quality that we have available now.

Take your favorite brand of corn tortillas (pack of 20) and heat them each on both sides on a hot comal or griddle. Stack and wrap in a towel and set aside.

For beef enchaladas, crumble and thoroughly brown 1 pound of ground beef until it is fully cooked. Season only with salt and finely ground black pepper. Drain and set aside.

Grate colby, longhorn, or mild cheddar cheese. If you want cheese enchaladas, you will need about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of cheese per enchalada. If you are making beef ones, the cheese is just for the topping, so grate the amount that suits you. Set aside.

Traditional enchaladas have chopped raw onion in them, both cheese and beef. If you like them this way, chop up some onion and set it aside.

To make the chili gravy (aka enchalada sauce), melt a couple of tablespoons of lard or shortening in a skillet. If you have cooked ground beef, you could use your beef drippings instead.

Add about 3 tablespoons flour to the hot grease and blend well. Get out your whisk and then add 3 cups of water, whisking constantly. You may need to add more water as it cooks to get the consistency right.

Add a little salt, maybe half a teaspoon.

Turn the heat down to a simmer and add your favorite brand of chili powder, again whisking constantly. This is another place where each person has to use their own taste, and amounts may vary depending on the brand you use, as well. I like a lot of chili powder in ours, some
may not want so much. Anywhere from a third to half a bottle of chili powder should be about right.

Gebhardt is the brand I use for this dish (but not for making chili - I use Morton's Chili Blend for that). Other brands are also excellent. I have been trying to remember what brand Mom used, and I can't. Need to ask some of the girls, they will know.

Cook and stir, adding a little more water a little at a time if needed to make a gravy of a thin consistency, then remove from heat.

I use a 9 x 13 baking pan for ours. Grease the pan, then spoon a little of the gravy into it and spread out across the bottom.

Take a corn tortilla in one hand, put a little chili gravy in it, and fill it with a small amount of either cheese or meat, add onions, fold the top over onto the bottom and roll it up. Lay it in the prepared pan.

Make the next one and lay it firmly against the first and so on. They should be packed closely together in the pan.When the pan is full, spoon the chili gravy over all the enchaladas, smoothing it around so that it covers all the tortillas. Sprinkle grated cheese over it all, and more onions if you wish.

Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and they are heated through.

Serve with frijoles refritos, spanish rice and ensalad.

Muy Bueno!

By the way, this same chili gravy is what she used to make Chicken In Red Sauce. Stew a chicken and remove the bones, then add to the chili gravy and heat through. Serve with tortillas!

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