Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cheese Enchiladas

Some time back in 2004 or 2005 Becky and I first tried to make cheese enchiladas. I've loved cheese enchiladas since I was a kid, and this is a fantastic and fun vegetarian meal. We first tried the recipe from the Sundays at Moosewood cookbook, and it was awful. Bland, unsatisfying, strange, and dry.

So we turned to the Internets!

I found a much better recipe online here. I've continually adapted it over the years, and now I'm finally ready to share it with the world. The construction of the enchiladas usually takes two of us. Stay tuned for our recipe for mexican rice for the side!

Cheese Enchiladas

Makes 12 cheese enchiladas

12 corn tortillas
1 1/2 onion, chopped
2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, Mexican mix, etc.)
3 Tbs butter
3 Tbs flour
2 cups water or vegetable stock, hot
1 tomato, grated
1-2 Tbs chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
canola oil

Start by cooking the onions over low heat in a couple tablespoons of oil until soft. It helps to start this before making the chili gravy.

For the chili gravy, start by making a roux by melting the butter in a small saucepan. The saucepan should be large enough to accommodate one of the corn tortillas. Stir in the flour and whisk over medium-low heat for a couple of minutes. Slowly whisk in the hot water or vegetable stock until fully incorporated. Add 1 Tbs chili powder, tomato, and cayenne. Taste for salt and chili powder, while cooking down the gravy for about 10-15 minutes, whisking frequently to keep it nice and smooth. When it has thickened satisfactorily (it needs to adhere to the corn tortillas), remove from heat.

Now prep the enchilada station. Grease a 9x13 inch oven-proof dish, and preheat oven to 400F. Have cheese, onions, and chili gravy ready to go. Heat oil over medium heat in a frying pan, deep enough to easily cover a tortilla. The oil is ready when a piece of tortilla dropped in sinks to the bottom and immediately resurfaces.

For each enchilada: Pick up a tortilla with tongs and place into hot oil for 15 seconds to soften tortilla. Dip tortilla into chili gravy, covering both sides. Place tortilla in 9x13 pan, putting cheese and onion on, and rolling it up. (Use the right hand for the onion, left hand for the cheese, right hand to roll it up and slide into place, and left hand to drink beer. Any other combination will leave you with "club hand".) Make sure each tortilla is seam-side down. Repeat for all 12. Pour remaining chili gravy on top of enchiladas, making sure that the corners are moist so they won't burn. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven and let them sit for a few minutes (like pizza, digging in too soon can be hazardous to the roof of your mouth.) Enjoy!


Alison said...

Grating a tomato? Could it also be pureed in a blender or mini-prep food processor? Or is there something magical about the grating? Sounds very messy to!

Eli said...

Maybe I should have elaborated on the tomato-grating. This was something we saw once, I think in a Madhur Jaffrey recipe, but I can't remember which one. But if you grate a tomato against a coarse grater, you end up with wonderfully pureed tomato in a bowl and the peel in your hand. It's much quicker than any other way I've tried to extract the innards of a tomato.