Monday, September 5, 2011

Cheese Enchiladas

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Another Mexican dish I learned by watching my friend Luis cook is cheese enchiladas. The technique was the most important lesson that I learned from him since the rest of the ingredients were easy to come by. Canned enchilada sauce was available  in several brands ranging from mild to hot in terms of spice heat which was my saving grace until now. The filling was very simple and had only two ingredients. The choice of tortilla became important as I used to prefer flour tortilla but most of my Mexican friends seem to prefer the corn variety.

In the spirit of the Mexican dinner I was preparing for my friends, I figured, I'd prepare everything from scratch. The first order of business is the enchilada sauce. I found a recipe that was supposedly Mexican in origin so I started from there and made it my own by changing some of the ingredients. For the filling, I made the choice to add jalapenos and together with the onions, caramelized it slightly to enhance the flavor of the onions while playing down the heat from the peppers. The other important ingredient to this dish is the cheese. I usually prefer Mozzarella but in this instance, I used Queso Fresco which I really believe now is a lot better in terms of texture and flavor. Muy delicioso!

Cheese Enchiladas

Enchilada Sauce:
Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
3 tbsp flour
3 tbsp California chili   powder
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced tomatoes
4 cups water
3 tbsp tomato paste
3 sprigs of fresh oregano   (1 tsp dried)

2 cups diced onions
4 jalapeno peppers, deseeded and sliced thinly
1 1/2 lb Queso Fresco, shredded
2 tbsp oil
salt and pepper

24 6-inch corn tortillas

1. In a sauce pot, mix the chili powder, flour and cocoa powder. Add 3 cups 
    of water and mix well. Cook over medium heat until the mixture  
    thickens. Stir occasionally. 

2. Add the oregano, a tsp of salt, tomato paste, garlic and the remaining  
    cup of water. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Let cool for about 5 
    minutes and blitz in a blender. Check for flavor and adjust with more 
    salt. Set aside. You will get about 5 cups of sauce.

3. To prepare the filling, heat the oil in a medium saute pan. Add the onions 
    and peppers and season with salt and pepper. Cover and allow to 
    caramelize until slightly browned. Check and move the mixture around 
    every now and them to prevent them from burning. Set aside and cool. 
    Once cooled, add the shredded cheese.

4. In another saute pan, spoon about a cup of the sauce and at medium  
    heat add a tortilla to soften on both sides. Use a tong to lift the tortilla  
    out of the sauce and fill with about two tsbps of the filling mix. Roll and 
    lay on a baking pan that has been covered with a thin layer of the sauce. 
    Do the same for the rest of the tortilla or until all the filling has been used 
    up. You will end up with two 9X13 baking pans. 

5. Cover the baking pans with foil and bake for about 45 minutes at 350°F. 

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