Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cheese enchiladas

Cheese enchiladas

Cheesy Enchiladas
Difficulty: Medium

Total: 1 hr 25 mins
Active: 50 mins
Makes: 24 enchiladas

By Adela Jung

Enchiladas are made in both Mexico and the States, but their similarity stops at their name and the fact that they’re rolled tortillas filled with stuff. While Mexican enchiladas are made by dipping the tortillas in sauce, frying them, and filling them only with meat, the Tex-Mex versions are filled with cheese or meat and topped with lots more sauce (a.k.a. gravy) and cheese. This recipe was a big hit here at CHOW: Every time we made it the staff ate it up in a matter of minutes.

Game plan: If 24 enchiladas are too many for you to consume at once, just save some for later. Make the enchiladas through step 3, then cover with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. At this point, they can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 weeks. To finish, heat the oven to 350°F, uncover and place in the oven while still cold or frozen, and bake until cheese is melted and centers are warm, about 20 minutes for the refrigerated enchiladas or 40 minutes if frozen.

This recipe was featured as part of our Super Bowl for a Crowd menu.


* Chile Gravy
* 3 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (about 10 ounces)
* 3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 10 ounces)
* 1 cup vegetable oil
* 24 (6-inch) corn tortillas
* 1 cup finely chopped white onion (about 1/2 medium onion)


1. Heat oven to 350°F. Evenly coat the bottom of 2 (13-by-9-inch) baking dishes with 1 cup of the gravy each. Mix cheeses together in a large bowl until evenly combined, and line a baking sheet with paper towels; set aside.
2. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking, about 5 minutes. Test oil temperature by carefully dipping the edge of a tortilla in the oil—it should bubble vigorously. Once oil is hot, use a metal spatula to carefully submerge tortillas one at a time until bubbles form around each, about 5 to 10 seconds. Flip and fry an additional 5 seconds, or until edges of tortilla are slightly crisp but not browned. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. Repeat with remaining tortillas, separating layers with paper towels.
3. Blot tortillas with paper towels to soak up any excess oil, then fill each with 2 heaping tablespoons cheese mixture and 2 teaspoons onion. Roll to enclose filling and set tortillas in the baking dishes seam side down, placing 12 enchiladas in each dish. Evenly distribute remaining 1 cup gravy over both baking dishes and top with remaining 2 1/2 cups cheese.
4. Bake until hot and bubbly, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool about 10 minutes before serving.

Chile Gravy
Difficulty: Medium

Total: 25 mins
Active: 25 mins
Makes: 3 cups

By Adela Jung

This chile gravy is a Tex-Mex staple. Serve atop enchiladas or nachos, blend up a few margaritas, and invite some friends over.

What to buy: Ancho chiles are a smoked and dried poblano (a.k.a. pasilla) chile. The chiles and powder can be found in the Latin section of most grocery stores or in Latin markets. If you can’t find anchos, you can substitute chiles mulatos, though they are often more difficult to find.

This recipe was featured as part of our Super Bowl for a Crowd menu.

* 3 whole ancho chiles, seeded and stemmed
* 3 cups vegetable broth
* 1/4 medium white onion, coarsely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
* 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
* 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
* 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
* 1 teaspoon dried oregano


1. Place chiles in a small saucepan and cover with 1 1/2 cups of the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until chiles have softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Pour chile mixture (with cooking liquid) and onion in a blender, cover the lid with a kitchen towel, and blend on high until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth and blend to combine.
3. Heat oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat until hot but not smoking, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until soft and tender but not browned, about 1 minute. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until flour smells toasted but garlic remains pale in color, about 2 minutes more.
4. Whisk in ancho chile powder, cumin, and oregano, then slowly pour in chile mixture. Whisk until chile mixture is completely incorporated, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and season well with salt.

Dan's notes: the corn tortillas make this more "authentic" tasting. And the chile gravy. Could use a little more heat, in my opinion, although I used regular chile powder instead of ancho chile powder. Could use a little more cheese too. I put beef and peppers in them as well. I found dried ancho chiles at the Market District Giant Eagle.

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