Hello, my name is Samantha and I'm an enchilada addict.
They are comfort food for me…a taste of home…a reminder of childhood.
Shredded beef, cheese, ground beef, chicken, artichoke and mushroom (my favorite at Espana's in Los Banos)…the filling doesn't matter. I love them all.
I will admit, though, that I'm sort of lazy when it comes to actually making them myself. I generally make them casserole style, cutting the tortillas into strips and layering like lasagna rather than rolling each one. Completed enchiladas freeze wonderfully, but I've also frozen the homemade sauce on it's own to have on hand in a pinch.
In honor of my enchilada laziness and my lack of freezer space, I threw together this yummy enchilada casserole last week:
I'd intended to get a photo before we ate…but didn't quite make it.
And that's probably not the most appetizing photo.
The secret to the best enchiladas?
Making the sauce from scratch.
It's not that difficult, time consuming, or even very expensive (and certainly not as expensive as the cans of it filled with who-knows-what at the grocery store!).
6 T. shortening
2.5 c. chicken stock or 2.5 c. hot water with 2-3 bouillon cubes
2.5 T. chili powder (or to taste)
1 t. cumin (optional)
Over medium heat, melt 6 T. shortening in a pan and add 6 T. flour in a saucepan. Stir until there are no lumps.
Add 2.5 cups hot chicken stock (or 2.5 cups of hot water with 3 bouillon cubes dissolved in it) and chili powder to taste (I used 2.5 T.), as well as the teaspoon of cumin.
Continue to cook. The sauce will thicken, but not too much.
- I'm planning to try replacing the shortening with olive oil next time to see what happens.
- If you overcook the sauce, it can almost turn into a pudding. It can be thinned with a little more stock or broth, but be sure to check the spices again when doing that.
- I don't generally add salt to this (especially if I've had to use a bouillon cube), but like all seasonings that's a personal preference.
- My favorite thing about enchiladas? They're a great way to use up odds and ends – leftover roast chicken or beef, bits of cheese or veggies…even tortillas. When the last ones in the bag start to get a bit stale, I throw them in the freezer until I have enough for enchiladas. I've found that cutting them up and making a layered enchilada moistens them back up just enough without getting soggy.
- This recipe came from a cookbook my aunt put together a few years ago of my great-grandmother's recipes (which I'm convinced makes it all the better!). My grandmother remembers making these as a child and using lettuce as the filling. We still make them for family get-togethers and they are always a hit!
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