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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Classic Red Enchilladas Redux

You didn't think these were going away, did you? [First posted in the middle of December. Back again... ] Classic Red Enchiladas—with a twist Ok, so not-so-classic. The ingredients are authentic, but the preparation is strictly “fast food” utilitarian. The biggest change? No rolled enchiladas in this puppy. Here's how it goes... Red Enchilada Sauce (Makes 16 oz.—give or take) 8-10 dried Anaheim peppers (actually, I tend to use more). Clean the seeds out for merely "sorta-hot". Leave the seeds in for a little spiciness. Tear the peppers up into pieces and then either a.) Use an electric coffee grinder to powder the chiles to a fine powder and add boiling water to make 2 cups liquid. Blend in blender. Set aside and let it come together for a little bit. (My preferred "quick sauce" method) OR b.) Place the pepper pieces in a sauce pan and cover with boiling water. Place a saucer (or whatever works) on top of the peppers to hold them submerged under the water and then leave them all day soaking. Remove the peppers from the water, place them in a blender with enough water to make 2 cups and blend. If you absolutely NEED a thicker and/or milder sauce, use a little corn flour in the blending stage to thicken/whimp out the sauce. Keep the corn flour down to less than 1/4 C for each 2 C water, otherwise it'll really begin to taste "corny". (Only have corn meal? Put a little in your coffe grinder and make corn flour out of it. Don't have a coffee grinder? Get one! :-) You can cut the heat and really thicken the sauce with just a couple of tablespoonsful. OK, that is all there is to real Red Enchilada Sauce. It's really just chiles and water. Here's the rest of the dish: Preparation In a 9x12 baking dish, LAYER (in the following order—sauce, tortillas, sauce, cheese, onions, tortillas... etc.) 24-30 corn tortillas Red Enchilada Sauce (Yeh, make your own. The stuff in cans stinks.) 2 C shredded Monterey Jack cheese or Jack/Cheddar mix. One YELLOW onion, chopped. (Need even milder onion? Chop it the day before and store it in a plastic bag in the fridge to "sweeten".) The top layer should be covered in sauce and cheese only—no onion. Bake at 325 F for about 45 minutes. Check it at 30 minutes. Different timing/oven temps result in different textures. Play with that a lil to suit yourself. I generally use 6 tortillas per layer in an overlapping 2X2X2 pattern and fill in the edges with torn tortillas so that I end up with 4 layers. Play with it. Find a layer/sauce/cheese mix that suits you. I like to serve squares cut from the result topped with sour cream and shredded lettuce. Add a few sliced black olives for flavor and color or some salsa for a little more pep. A side of “Spanish” rice and one of refried beans make for a pretty well-rounded meal. If you want meat, hash something together, but DON'T put meat in these enchilladas! Easy “Spanish” rice: Easiest? Just substitute your favorite salsa for part of the water when making a pan of rice. (Another time, I'll post my fav fast salsa recipes.) Easy—and fast— Refried beans: OK, use canned refried beans. Go ahead. But at least add some,—no, not some: a lot!—cumin to them while they are warming up. :-) Better? Here's where you can add some meat to the menu: add some chorizo to the beans. Great cumin flavor and a lil meat all at once.
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