Saturday, December 5, 2009

Bougie City Girl Enchiladas

Let me be clear about something. I'm a bougie city girl who has lived on the East Coat her entire life. What I'm about to describe for you is bastardized, bougetastic nonsense and is a probably a great distance from anything one might call authentic Mexican or Tex-Mex cooking. But god damn it is tasty. I've also stolen much of my gringa cooking knowledge below from my roommate

Both and I try to pack lunches for the work week. She has made many pans of enchiladas which were delicous, so I decided to get on the tasty train. This describes my basic enchilada process.

To begin I make "chile gravy" with Ancho, cascabel, and guajillo peppers. I use "Better Than Bouillon" soup base to make the stock in the recipe. This usually makes more sauce than I need, but the excess freezes well.

Then there are the beans. We've been using heirloom dried beans from Rancho Gordo. IA few months ago I demanded bring back from a trip to CA, so I didn't have to pay for shipping. The annoying thing is that these beans really do taste a lot better than the cheaper ones I get at the store. Darn it.

To cook the beans I start by soaking them in water overnight. In the morning they go in the crock pot with enough of soaking liquid so the beans are covered by about 2 inches. I also add 2 bay leaves, and a couple cloves of garlic that have been smashed, and had the paper removed. Adding a chopped onion that has been sauteed in some oil is nice, but not necessary. I don't add a ham bone or bacon, because then the porky/smoky flavor overwhelms the flavor of the beans. I leave this on low for 10 hours. When I get home, there are tasty cooked beans. Sweet.

City Girl Enchiladas, Basic Recipe
  • Chile gravy
  • 2 cups of cooked beans and 1/2 cup of reserved cooking liquid (or broth).
  • Grated cheese, at least 2 cups. A mix of cheddar and monteray jack is my preference.
  • 2 cups of protein filling (shredded chicken, pork, chorizo, etc.)
  • About 12 tortillas (flour or corn)
  • vegetable oil
  • potato masher
  • tongs or metal spatula
  • a rectangular baking dish (13x9)
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350.
  2. In a large skillet, with the heat on low, add the beans and 1/4 cup of cooking liquid. Mash them with the potato masher. Add more liquid as needed to help the beans get to a creamy consistency. You can also use a stick blender to pulverize the beans. Once the beans are mashed up, let simmer until thickened up. Kill the heat, and stir 1 cup of cheese into the beans.
  3. Ladle 1 cup of chile sauce into the bottom of the baking dish. You want the bottom of the baking dish to be completely covered in sauce. Don't skimp, the sauce keeps the bottom from getting hard and dried out.
  4. Line a plate with paper towels and set it near the stove.
  5. In a frying pan heat about 1/4 cup of oil for a few minutes over medium high heat. If it smokes, lower the heat. It's the right temperature if, when you dip the edge of a tortilla in the oil, it bubbles vigorously.
  6. Gently slide a tortilla into the oil and let it cook about 5 seconds on each side. It should soften a little, but not get brown and hard.
  7. You need to use metal tongs or a metal spatula to get the tortilla out of the oil. Plastic will melt (trust me on this) After getting the tortilla out of the oil, put it on the paper towel lined plate.
  8. Once your tortillas are fried, start the assembly line. You want a bowl of beans, a bowl of protein filling, a pile of tortillas then the baking dish.
  9. Take a tortilla, and put along the center about one heaping TB of beans and one heaping TB of protein.
  10. Roll the tortilla up and place it seam side down in the baking dish. Keep on going until the dish is filled. You want to really pack the tortillas together.
  11. When your dish is full, ladle about 1 cup of chile gravy on top and then sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese.
  12. Cover with tin foil (spray the underside of the tin foil with cooking spray so it doesn't stick) and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes until everything looks bubbly and delicious.
  13. Devour.
A really tasty variation is to take roasted pumpkin and mix it with the chile sauce. I roasted a pumpkin from my farm share and used it, but you could also use a can of plain cooked pumpkin.

I've also used soy chorizo from Trader Joes as the protein portion of the filling to great success along with shredded pork. My roommate,, has used shredded chicken many times and other things I can't remember right now. If you want to make these gluten free, use 100% corn tortillas and thicken the gravy with a roux made from a mix of potato flour and sweet rice flour.

The enchiladas reheat well and freeze fantastically.