Friday, January 28, 2011

Enchiladas with traditional red sauce

The word 'Enchilada' litarally means 'in chilie' in spanish refering to a tortilla being dipped in chilie sauce. This is a traditional Mexican dish consisting of corn tortillas stuffed with different fillings of cheese, meat, chicken, refried beans, etc and rolled up, covered in a spicy sauce and baked.  
There can be many different versions of enchiladas based on the following
  • Tortilla fillings - Traditionally enchiladas are stuffed with cheese, chicken and meat. You can experiment with a bunch of other fillings in any combination-- vegetables, fish, shrimp, pork, black beans along with cheese.
  • Sauce preparation - Some of the popular enchilada sauces are - Enchiladas Rojas- the traditional red sauce made with tomatoes and chilie. Verde sauce- green sauce made with green tomatillos and green chillies. Chipotle sauce - prepared using chipotle chilies. Mole sauce - rich and smoky sauce made with chocolate and chilies and nuts. Suiza - creamy white cheesy sauce made with swiss cheese.
  • Toppings - Grated cheese, green onions, shredded lettuce, chopped olives, avocado, chopped tomatoes, jalepeno or habanero peppers, red onions, corriander and sour cream.

Whichever combintion you choose you are bound to make an incredibly delicious and satisfying dish. Here is what I used for this version.

Ingredients: (makes 4-6 servings)
6-8 corn tortillas large sized (can use whole wheat variety as well)
For the filling
1 can black beans drained
3 cooked chicken breasts chopped in small pieces (omit for a vegetarian version)
2 large tomatoes chopped
1 red onions chopped
grated sharp cheddar
salt to taste
black pepper
For the red enchilada sauce(I make it more like a taco sauce)
4 large tomatoes chopped
1 large red onion chopped
habanero pepper chopped(optional)
2-3 cloves garlic
1 large green pepper chopped
cumin, orageno and salt to taste
1 small can of tomato paste
For toppings
Chopped green onions
Shredded lettuce
Extra heat by chopped jalepeno
Plain yogurt (or sour cream if you prefer)
Extra grated cheese
  • Prepare the sauce by heating 2 tsp oil in a large pan. Add onion and garlic and saute till pink.
  • Add green peppers and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Now add all oher ingredients for the sauce and bring to a boil. Add a 1/4 cup water if the consistency is too thick. Simmer for 15 minutes. Keep aside.
  • Prepare the filling by mixing all the ingredients of the filling together.
  • To assemble the Enchilada casserole spread a 1/4 of the sauce at the base of a greased baking dish.
  • Heat the corn tortillas in the microwave for 30-40 seconds to soften them. Lay one tortilla on the working surface and put a generous amont of filling in the middle. Roll the tortilla and place seam side down on the sauce in the baking dish. Repeat till all the tortillas are assembled.
  • Spread the rest of the sauce over the tortillas covering them well. Top with some grated cheese. Cover the baking dish with foil.
  • Bake at 375F covered for 30-40 minutes till the contents start to bubble.
  • Remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes to brown the cheese.
  • Serve hot topped with lettuce, olives, green onions, jalepeno pepper and a dollop of yogurt.
  • Left overs taste even more incredible the next day. just reheat in the microwave covered on medium power level till heated through.

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