Sunday, October 28, 2007

Enchiladas--sauce and all

Another recipe--I have started to store my creations here on the blog because then I can access them anywhere. And I think they're good, and, like every cook, if it tastes good I want to share it.

I've been searching for a good enchilada sauce recipe for a long time. Canned enchilada sauce is costly and often doesn't taste good. And I wanted a "throw together" recipe that uses what I usually have on hand, is easy as easy can be, and tastes great. We've tried canned. We've tried sauce mixes. Still not satisfied. So I have been using the "from mexico" sauce recipe from the Lion House International Cookbook. It's good, but not quite right somehow and it was time consuming (you have to brown flour in oil, then add water--which made a lot of steam and had to be stirred constantly while you were pouring it in...scary...and chili powder and stir while it thickens and add tomato sauce get the idea).

So I was reading one of my "recipes from our school" collections and found a recipe for cheese enchiladas that I had ignored before (who wants cheese enchiladas? We need meat!). Today I realized there was no "1 can of enchilada sauce" in the recipe, so I read it and found it was a recipe for sauce with instructions on how to use it to make cheese enchiladas--but the recipe was for the sauce. And it had the easiness factor right. But the spices were all wrong (1/4 c minced onion _doesn't_ equal 1/3 c fresh onion--1 tbsp minced dried onion equals one whole onion) and, true to form for these recipe collections, there were ingredients listed that were not anywhere in the instructions. Go figure. (It's either that or they say, "Add the sugar" and there's no sugar listed in the ingredients so you ahve no idea how much to use).

Anyway, knowing what I know about flavors we like, I made up my own spice combination to add, and played with the recipe, and it worked.

So, with no more blabbing: Enchilada Sauce

appx 30 oz of tomato sauce (2 big cans or 4 small cans)
1 tbsp minced dried onion
1 tbsp chili powder (don't worry--it's not 'hot' when it's done)
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder (or salt--I have a single bottle that has both mixed)
1 c water (or so)

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan. Add water until it's the consistency you like. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.

Use it straight for beef enchiladas. Add 1 c sour cream and 8-10 oz (1 can for most cans) cream of chicken or mushroom soup for chicken enchiladas.

It came out really really good. Finally.

Filling for enchiladas:


Brown 1 lb ground beef with onions (if you want to use them--in any form). Add 3/4 c sauce and 1 c cheese. Stir well. Fill tortilla with a line of this and a handful of cheese. Or layer beef mixture, cheese, and tortillas and pour sauce over all to bake.


Dice cooked chicken (1 whole chicken makes about 1 13X9 pan of enchiladas if you pack them tight). Add 1 can olives, sliced (or use sliced olives), 1/2-1 1/2 c sauce, and 1 chopped onion. (The onion part has been a sticking point for me because I don't like biting into onion. You can sautee the onions first so they aren't crunchy, or use minced dried onion or onion powder, or you can use the above sauce, which has onion in it, and skip the onion in the filling). Put the chicken mixture and a handful of cheese into a tortilla and roll it up. Or layer tortillas, chicken, and cheese. Pour sauce over all and bake. Tonight I skipped the olives and just put in the chicken with a little sauce on it and the cheese, and it was great!

Baking instructions
Put filled enchiladas (or layers) in a pan "greased" with some of the sauce. Cover with remaining sauce. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes at 350 if you don't use onions or pre-cook them (45 minutes covered at 350 if the onions are raw). Sprinkle with cheese and return to oven for 10 minutes uncovered, until cheese is melted and edges of pan are bubbly.

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