enchiladas – made in germany

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Imagine juicy meat flavored with cumin & oregano, mild & spicy at the same time, wrapped in a soft tortilla cover with melted cheese: that’s the essential element of an enchilada dinner!

 

We are doing enchiladas!

During our holiday trip in Southwest USA I had a lot of Mexican style food & especially a lot of enchiladas: I just enjoyed. Back home I started looking for ingredients based on my recent experience & based on my inspirations especially the books “The Well-filled Tortilla” & “American Southwest”.

For the record:
Of course it wasn’t my 1st trip to this region & I always enjoyed the typical food, but back then I preferred Chili con Carne, Guacamole, baked tortilla chips, filled chili peppers… for cooking at home. I think I especially mastered Chili con Carne over the years – the recipe coming soon.

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Once upon a time there was a tortilla – a type of very thin flatbread – serving as a companion to meat & vegetables. Nowadays there are tortilla varieties like:

  • Tortillas made of flour, salt & water or of corn, salt & water – and maybe some vegetable oil.
  • There are soft or crisp tortillas.
  • If – during breakfast, lunch or dinner – you fill a soft tortilla with your own meat/vegetable mix & fold it like an envelope it’s called Burrito.
  • If a filled soft tortilla folded like an envelope is deep-fried it’s called Chimichanga.
  • If a crisp tortilla is folded in half & filled it’s called Taco.
  • If a soft tortilla is filled with cheese, rolled & baked until the cheese melts it’s called Quesadilla.
  • If a crisp tortilla is cut into triangles it’s called Tortilla Chips.
  • If a filled soft tortilla is rolled into a tube, covered with cheese & baked it’s called Enchilada.

I think I roughly covered the tortilla universe, but – be sure! – there are far more (local) varieties out there.

We’re doing enchiladas (I think one of the less complex & kitchen-intensive Mexican dishes), but we’re not doing tortilla production on our own: we’ll buy tortillas ready-to-eat.

For the record:
It sounds quite easy to start with some flour, water, vegetable oil & salt, knead it all together, let it rest for some hours, roll out very thin pancakes & cook them in a pan… (I don’t touch the deep-frying for any crisp tortillas at this point!) Well: it’s work & it takes time – bear in mind that a tortilla is about the size of a plate meaning that your pan can only do a single tortilla at a time… maybe you’ve got more than one pan, but definitely your stove is also limited …and afterwards there’s the clean-up of your kitchen!

Having clarified the source of our main enchilada basis we can start assembling the filling:

  • minced beef
  • shredded cheese
  • fresh tomatoes & tomato puree & concentrated tomato puree
  • corn
  • spring onions
  • garlic
  • chilis
  • fresh cilantro
  • spices like cumin & oregano

 

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We’ve to distinguish:

  • the tomato sauce
  • the filling
  • the topping.

The topping will be very simple because it’s just shredded cheese.

For the tomato sauce we’ll start with fresh tomatoes. You’ll need not peeling the tomatoes – a time-intensive step (I prefer canned peeled tomatoes if it’s necessary!). However, the seeds & the pulp have to be removed. Just chop the tomatoes afterwards.

Combine the chopped tomatoes with chopped spring onions, some tomato purée & minced garlic & chili (if you like it hot!) & set aside.

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Fry the minced beef with the spices (oregano, cumin…) in a pan until well-done. You may add garlic & chili if you like. Add canned corn & mix well. Then set aside.

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Now we’ve finished the tomato sauce & the filling: we’re ready for the enchilada production.

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We’ll need a casserole & cover the bottom with the tomato mix.

We start with ready-to-use soft tortillas. I checked the fitting: when rolled the soft tortillas are a little too long for my casserole. If putting the tortillas lengthwise it would be only 2 enchiladas (or maybe 3!) filling the casserole. So I decided to tailor the tortillas.

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Fill the tailored tortilla with your meat mix & shredded cheese & roll it rather tightly into a tube. This way you can place 4 enchiladas in the casserole.

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Now cover the rolled tortillas with the rest of the tomato mix & a generous layer of shredded cheese. You may add some fresh cilantro on top if you like.

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Next step is the oven: preheated to about 180° C with fan it’ll take about 30 min to finish the enchiladas.

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enchiladas – made in germany

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Servings: 4-6

enchiladas – made in germany

Imagine juicy meat flavored with cumin & oregano, mild & spicy at the same time, wrapped in a soft tortilla cover with melted cheese: that's the essential element of an enchilada dinner!

Ingredients

  • 8 soft flour tortillas (diameter 19 cm)
  • 200-300 gr shredded cheddar or gouda
  • fresh cilantro - optional
  • For the filling:
  • 600 gr minced beef
  • 70 gr corn (1/2 of a small can of cooked corn)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic - optional
  • 1-2 chilis - optional
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano (dried)
  • salt & pepper
  • For the tomato sauce:
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 4 spring onions
  • 500 gr tomato purée or tomato purée with bits
  • 70 gr concentrated tomato purée (2 small cans)
  • 2 cloves of garlic - optional
  • 2 chilis - optional
  • salt & pepper
  • Equipment:
  • 2 casseroles (33 x 17 cm)

How to...

  1. Cut the tomatoes into quarters & remove the seeds & the pulp.
  2. Chop the tomatoes.
  3. Chop the spring onions.
  4. Optional: mince the cloves of garlic & the chilis.
  5. Mix the tomato purée & the concentrated tomato purée until well combined.
  6. Mix the fresh tomatoes, the spring onions, garlic & chili with the tomato purée.
  7. Add salt & pepper.
  8. Set aside.
  9. Fry the minced beef & crush it.
  10. Add cumin & oregano.
  11. Add salt & pepper.
  12. Optional: mince the cloves of garlic & the chilis & add to the beef.
  13. As soon as the beef is well-done add the corn (w/o the water).
  14. Stir the beef & the corn until evenly distributed.
  15. Set aside.
  16. Start preheating the oven (180 degrees C with fan).
  17. Prepare the tortillas (cut them into size if necessary).
  18. Cover the bottom of the casseroles with tomato mix (about 50% of the tomato mix).
  19. Fill a tortilla with beef mix (about 1/8) & shredded cheese (about 1-2 tablespoons), roll tightly up & put it in the casserole.
  20. Repeat for the next 7 tortillas - you'll get 2 casseroles filled with 4 filled & rolled tortillas each.
  21. Distribute the rest of the tomato mix evenly between the 2 casseroles.
  22. Cover the tortillas evenly with shredded cheese.
  23. Optional: chop the fresh cilantro & sprinkle over the cheese.
  24. Put the casseroles in the preheated oven for about 30 min.
  25. Optional: sprinkle once again with chopped fresh cilantro.

Notes

If you buy read-to-eat tortillas it's better to use them all than creating some left-overs. So I did 2 casseroles.

Enchiladas can be easily frozen & defrosted: so there is no problem to produce more than you'll need. Time & effort don't chase significantly.

200-300 gr cheese: it depends how much melted cheese you like... I think that 200 gr shredded cheese is the minimum: feel free to add cheese on top of the enchiladas if you like more.

I assume 75 gr minced beef per enchilada.

You may also replace beef by chicken; take a chicken breast & dice it as fine as possible.

Garlic & chili: you can use them either in the tomato mix or in the filling or in both. You can also skip chili or garlic if you or your guests cannot stomach it. My suggestion: don't w/o both! It's a flavour thing!

You may use fresh chilis or dried chilis.

If you didn't preheat the oven add about 5 min to the baking time.

You can prepare the casseroles 1 day ahead & store them in the fridge until oven time.

I estimate 2 enchiladas per person; if there is a lot of typical side dishes maybe it'll be enough for 6 people.

https://thebusinesswomanskitchen.de/enchiladas-made-in-germany/

 

Enchiladas are perfect for a Mexican dinner with some friends & family. You need not thinking about starters & main dish: you can just cover the table with characteristic Mexican/Southern food – hot & cold – and anybody can serve themselves. I’m thinking of:

  • hot baked enchiladas
    (Be prepared to keep them hot – at least “warm”!)
  • a bowl of steamed rice
  • a bowl of mashed beans (i. e. black beans, Kidney beans, baked brown beans)
  • a cup of Jalapeño Dip (maybe 2 cups: a medium spicy & a real spicy one)
  • a bowl of guacamole
  • a cup of green chili salsa – if you manage to find tomatillos…
  • a cup of red chili salsa
  • a (larger cup) of sour cream
  • a cup of shredded cheese
  • a small cup of fresh shredded cilantro
  • a small cup of whole Jalapeños and/or sliced fresh red chilis
  • a cup of lemon or lime wedges (just to squeeze the juice)
  • a basket full of flatbread torn into pieces
  • a basket filled with tortilla chips.

The whole compilation is a mix of spicy hot food & soothing components – although the “hotness” depends only on you & your preferences. In general enchiladas come along with rice, black beans, guacamole & sour cream after an appetizer of tortilla chips with red or green chili salsa – let your guests decide which combinations they prefer! (A dynamic dinner always cares for joy & high spirits!)

 

Some information on the add-ons:

Mashed beans:
Start with tinned beans, drain the water, heat them & start to crush, but stop… the beans shouldn’t become some sort of soft purée! Most of the beans should remain like beans. Don’t forget adding some salt & pepper. (I never encountered mashed beans flavored with chili – it’s always a rather flavorless affair!)

Red or green chili salsa:
The red one is like the tomato sauce/mix of the enchilada casserole with less tomato purée, but a good amount of spices like cumin, oregano & cilantro. The green one is based on tomatillos, looking like green tomatoes, but they aren’t tomatoes… Important: chili is necessary! Lots of chili!
Well: both chili salsas are also available ready-to-eat out of jars.

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…and for starting the enchilada dinner think of mixing some Margaritas! Afterwards some cool – soothing –  lime or lemon pie is a refreshing finish.

 

The preparation time for an enchilada dinner is rather short. You can start preparing the enchilada casseroles 1 day before & just start the oven about 45 min before the planned dinner. All the rest is just some reheating, some dip & salsa mixing & filling in bowls & cups: reserve about 90 min for everything else. …and make sure that your better half (or whoever) is prepared to mix the margaritas (delegate at an early state!)

For the record:
It’s fine if you prepare the enchiladas, guacamole & Jalapeño dip at home – don’t hesitate to use ready-to eat-food for the rest: for the sake of good timing!

Concerning Mexican food enchiladas seems to be rather simple & convenient – in some way the cooking process resembles Italian cannelloni or lasagne (the flavour, however, is totally different!). This intrigues me primarily because it fits for dinner preparation in advance & letting the oven just do its work w/o the necessity to stay in the kitchen all the evening. (Another interesting Mexican food option is Chili con Carne which is one of the best solutions for a big party stew.)

 

The Businesswoman with too many office hours thinks

I’m sure some of my friends will ransack every deli in town to lay their hands on fresh tomatillos & Jalapeños… to boast with home-made green chili salsa … not my cup of tea! I think I’ll stick to the recommendation above: prepare some food with easy to buy ingredients at home & be happy with some ready-to-eat salsas in jars or tins or… for the sake of my timing & my joy of entertaining guests!

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