Contrary to popular belief, homemade enchiladas are easy to make, and don't require a degree from Harvard to make. This is my basic enchilada recipe, using steak, but any type of red meat can be substituted with outstanding results. This recipe give you detailed step-by-step instructions on how to create perfect homemade enchiladas, even if you've never attempted to make them before. Enjoy!
tools: Cast iron frying pan, baking dish, grill; see text
lb steak, any variety; I purchased boneless London broil variety on
sale; see text
To make the enchilada filling:
Dust off the outdoor grill, but you can use an indoor grill, or you can use the broiler in your oven; nothing is critical. Caveat: I prefer to grill! When grill reaches high heat, sear steak for about 5 minutes, then flip over and grill for another 4 minutes. I can't give you an exact time, as all grills are created different. The idea is to sear the steak, and acquire attractive grill marks. Reduce heat to low, and cook using indirect heat for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from grill and reserve, allowing meat to rest.
As grilled steak is resting, prepare RedChile Enchilada Sauce according to directions. Reserve enchilada sauce for later use, after steak is finished.
Left: London Broil Steak, for enchiladas, is cooking on the grill, next to some fantastic beef patties for cheeseburgers. Notice the attractive grill marks. Right: You cut the steak into thin slices. Notice that the interior of the meat is slightly pink; this steak has been cooked to perfection!
Using very sharp knife, slice steak against the grain into small slices, about 1/4" or less in width. Then, slice into small pieces, about 1/2" long, which should leave you with about 3 cups of steak pieces, around 1/4" by 1/2" in size. Using meat cleaver, chop slices into smaller pieces, as small as you can make them. Place diced steak in large mixing bowl and reserve.
Finely dice onion, jalapeno peppers and the garlic cloves. Add to meat. Add to meat mixture the oregano, cheese, sour cream, salt and liquid smoke, if used. Using large spoon, blend ingredients together, until the can "stick together." Add additional sour cream or cheese to achieve desired consistency.
To fry the tortillas:
Place about 1/2" of vegetable oil or melted lard in frying pan and heat over medium high until the temperature of the oil reaches 350 degrees. With a spatchula, place one tortilla in pan, cook for about 10 seconds, or until bubbles in the tortilla start to appear, then flip over and cook another 5 seconds. Remove from pan, and drain on paper towel. Repeat process for remaining tortillas, placing a paper towel between each tortilla in the stack.
Left: This corn tortilla has been cooked 10 seconds and is ready to flip over. Note that it has acquired bubbles. Right: This tortilla has been fried and dipped into the chilie sauce and is now ready to be rolled into an enchilada.
To assemble the enchiladas:
Take a tortilla off the stack and dip it into the red enchilada sauce. Spoon about 1/4 cup of filling down the center of the tortilla. Roll tortilla around the filling, and place enchilada in a glass baking pan, seam side down. Repeat process for remaining enchiladas. When baking dish is full, drizzle remaining sauce over enchiladas, and add a bit of shredded cheese on top of the sauce.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. When oven is hot, place baking pan of enchiladas in oven and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
It does not require a degree in Rocket Science to make a decent enchilada. The norteamericano concept of an enchilada is a heavy dish, oozing with sour cream and melted cheese. That's not the case with an enchilada hecho en Mexico, as the whole idea of an enchilada is to utilize leftovers and turn them into a tasty meal. It's a tasty and nutritious meal.
Left: I'm spooning the filling into a tortilla, that has been dipped in chilie sauce. Right: These enchiladas are done, after baking for 30 minutes in the oven. Note the melted cheese and the red sauce.
What do you put into an enchilada for filling? Practically anything! I use shredded beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish or whatever I have on hand. If you have a smoker and have some leftover smoked beef or pork, it will really make your enchilada good. You can use ground beef, but I use it as a last resort, as I prefer something more authentically Mexican, but it's a matter of individual taste. I also vary the filling by adding olives, substituting Anaheim peppers for the jalapenos, changing the type of cheese, adding a dash of liquid smoke to the meat, etc. Prior to making a batch of enchiladas, I usually check the freezer or the fridge to see what I have on hand, and I literally throw it into the mix. Enchiladas are a outstanding way to utilize leftovers.
Photo: Here's where the rubber meets the road, as I serve a typical Mexican combination plate dinner consisting of a small salad, Mexican rice, cowboy beans, and beef enchiladas.
If you're a vegetarian, you can substitute corn, or a mixture of corn and your favorite squash for the meat. I have even made enchiladas using potatoes for filling! I usually add some extra cheese for taste.
There are no rules to break, so just GO FOR IT!
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