Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cheese Enchiladas

Long ago--after braving a little whole-in-the-wall that served "home-made" tortillas stuffed full of melted Velveta--I figured out that if I wanted decent Mexican food in Maine, I'd have to learn to make it myself. Here are my favorite: Cheese Enchiladas.

I use Rick Bayless's tortilla recipe. (Which, apparently, is also here. It seems I write about tortillas on a regular basis. Must be like a vitamin deficiency).

The boys love to help press the tortillas.

After the tortillas are made, I shallow-fry them in oil to help them hold together in the casserole (this also helps rehydrate cast iron pans after making the tortillas).

For the enchilada sauce:

Heat in a medium sauce pan over med-low:

3 T oil

Add and saute till tender:

1 onion, chopped

Add and saute one minute:

1 clove garlic, minced

Add and stir till browned:

3 T flour

Add and stir:

2 T chile powder (I use Fernando's chile moldo puro)

1 t salt

1 t cumin

1 t dried oregano

Slowly add:

2 c cold water

Cook over med-low until thick. If it is too spicy for your taste, you could add 1 cup tomato sauce.

Spoon about 1/3 of the sauce into the bottom of a baking pan. Lay six tortillas in the bottom of the pan (yes, despite making my own tortillas, I am too lazy to roll gotta pick and choose). Sprinkle on a generous layer of shredded cheese (I used cheddar, but Monterey Jack is good too). I also added a layer of steamed Swiss chard because we have bushels of it in the garden and I'm running out of ideas of what to do with it.

Lay the other six tortillas on top, pour on the rest of the sauce, sprinkle with cheese and bake at 350 till all hot & bubbly.

I served it with rice and some gorgeous pinto beans that we grew (and of which I'd show you a beautiful picture, but I'm still having photo issues!!) from a small bag of seeds someone gave us for free. They were easy to grow (apparently--the garden is C's job) and yielded just enough beans for one potful. They simmered all day in the solar oven and came out really fat and delicious. I saved a few to grow more next year.

Afterword: After slaving over this meal one night and serving it as leftovers the next, I brought home dinner from a sandwich shop the following night (we had parent-teacher-conferences and no time to cook). The kids were practically dancing in their seats eating the ham Italians that took me 10 minutes to order and pick up. While they ate the enchiladas (with lots of milk for the mild spiciness), they certainly did not dance, and did not sigh about what a wonderful dinner it was after it was over, like they did with the sandwiches.

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