My mother was a short order cook–in our kitchen. We lived in a ranch style house built in the 60’s where we ate our meals at the bar on the north side of the stove. My mother would stand at the stove while we waited across from her like newly hatched birds with our mouths open, waiting for the bounty. Well, not exactly, but you get the picture. When she made these for dinner, they would come straight out of the frying pan and on to the plate, to be stuffed with cheese and immediately rolled up and served up. The sauce for these enchiladas is a variation of the sauce for my Enchiladas Monterrey. I have a tutorial on How To Make Enchilada Sauce. Follow those directions, except DO NOT add tomato sauce or sugar to this sauce.
These are not made with the “tomatoey” enchilada sauce that we have grown accustomed to using. In fact, these enchiladas are not “saucy” at all. The thin sauce sort of soaks into the tortilla and is very light. The word enchilada means you have added chili peppers to something–“spiced it up”. The combination of the enchilada sauce and the cool, crumbled Queso Fresco is a party in your mouth. I hope you will give these a try.
My mother would compliment the enchiladas with a side of Enchilada Cottage Fries. Just reserve 3/4 cup of the sauce to add to the potatoes if you choose to make them, too.
- 12-18 corn tortillas
- 8 dried California chili pods
- 2 dried New Mexico chili pods (for a little heat)
- 2 cups water
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 T. lard (or shortening, if you must)
- 1 T. flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 package Queso Fresco, crumbled.
- oil for frying
- Remove stems and seeds from chili pods. Place whole pods in large saucepan and add water. If you like more heat, use equal amounts of the chili pods.
- Bring the chilies to a boil. Remove from heat and allow them to rest and rehydrate for at least 15 minutes. When cool, add the pods, the garlic and 1 cup chili water to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Save remaining chili water in a separate container, or add it to the blender if it will fit, but remove any leftover seeds.
- In same saucepan you used to cook the chilies, melt the lard or shortening. Add the flour and stir until well blended and bubbly, creating a roux. This sauce should be a bit thinner than the traditional sauce.
- Through a sieve, pour the blended chilies into the saucepan. Whisk into the roux until smooth. Add the reserved chili water and salt and bring to a simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Discard the tough chili skins from the sieve.
- To prepare, heat some oil about ½" up the sides of a frying pan. Using some tongs, dip each cold tortilla in the enchilada sauce, then carefully lower the wet tortilla into the hot oil, being careful that the oil is not too hot as it may splatter. Fry the tortilla for 10-15 seconds, just until it is soft, but not so soft that it will tear.
- Drain the tortillas on a paper towel.
- Fill each enchilada with the crumbled cheese, roll and serve. I would suggest placing them on a microwave-safe dish so you can warm them up if they get cold.
- If you are serving them with Enchilada Cottage Potatoes, reserve about ¾ cup of the sauce.