Friday, August 21, 2009

New Mexico Style Enchiladas

Are there any Lyle Lovett fans out there? In his evocative song "This Old Porch" he sings:

This old porch is like a steamin', greasy plate of enchiladas

With lots of cheese and onions

and every time I hear him sing it I think, he may be a Texan, but he's singing about New Mexico style enchiladas.

I was born in south central New Mexico in a small town hunkered along side the Rio Grande. Though my family traveled around, we still ate lots of Mexican food. I remember, living in Alaska in the 1950's, there weren't many hispanics, so grocery stores didn't carry fresh tortillas. However, Old El Paso vacuum packed corn tortillas in cans, and mother found a grocery store that carried them so we wouldn't suffer from enchilada and taco withdrawal.

I was outraged when I moved to Arizona at age 15 and ate enchiladas at a church pot luck. These weren't enchiladas! They were rolled up like a cigar. And they had meat in them! Didn't people realize that real enchiladas were flat and stacked up?

Well, I finally learned to go with the flow, but I lost my taste for enchiladas, especially when people quit frying the tortilla before rolling it up. It wasn't 'steamin' greasy' any more.

So, here's my promised posting on how to make New Mexico style enchiladas. They're great for vegetarians because there's no meat.

You're going to need:

Grated cheese--I use longhorn or medium cheddar or Costco's Mexican blend

Chopped onions

Canned enchilada sauce (red chili)

Corn tortillas (2 or 3 per person)

Chopped lettuce

Eggs to fry (1 or 2 per person)

I'm going to tell you how I used to do it and how I now cook a healthy alternative.

In a saucepan or skillet (bigger in diameter than your tortillas) heat a can of enchilada sauce.

Used to
: In another small skillet, put about an inch of oil in the bottom and heat to medium-high frying temperature. Drop in a tortilla and let it fry just a moment. You don't want it to be crisp. Remove from the grease with a slotted spatula and drop in the saucepan of chili sauce.

Healthier: Heat a griddle to medium high. Spray with Pam and put a tortilla down on the griddle. Spray the tortilla with pam, and when it just starts to bubble, turn it over for a moment and then lift it up and put it in the chili sauce.

Take the tortilla out of the sauce and put it on the plate. Sprinkle it liberally with cheese and onions and repeat with another identical layer of tortilla, cheese and onions.

Put the plate in an oven set at 250 to 300 degrees, and make the next enchilada. (You can build them on cookie sheets, too, and move them over to plates when you're ready to serve.)

When all the enchiladas are built, fry the eggs. Light eaters will have one, heavy eaters will have two. I cook them on my cast-iron griddles that have been sprayed with Pam. If you cook them on medium to low heat, they'll turn out nicely.

By now, the cheese on the enchiladas should be melted.

When the eggs are done, put them on top of the enchiladas and cover them with enchilada sauce--you'll probably use about 1/4 cup for each.

Put chopped lettuce around the enchiladas and serve immediately.

Here's a variation on this recipe--Liz-Mex Enchiladas:

I like salsa better than chili sauce, so I make the enchilada the same way, only I put salsa, cheese and onions on top of each layer and put chopped avocados and sour cream on top of the egg.

So now, I've kept my enchilada promise. Stick around, because I'll do sopapillas soon. And I might even blog about how to make your own flour tortillas.

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Bethany said...

Hey liz! Nice recipe! I always make my enchiladas in layers like lasagna because unless you fry the tortilla you can't roll them. I do love shredded beef or pork in them though!

Monique said...

I didn't grow up with Mexican food (we lived on the East Coast where everyone was Italian) so it's taken me a long time to start to like Mexican food. Having said that Enchiladas are some of my favorite. I have to say though I really like them with chicken and cheese. Especially chicken from a roaster you made previously and need to use up. This way the meat is already seasoned when you add it in. I season my roasters under the skin before I bake them to give the meat more flavor it works great for leftover uses. Thanks for sharing your recipe. We're getting ready to make some Enchiladas tomorrow. I'll think of you when where eating!

Valerie Ipson said...


Gloria said...

I tried your New Mexico Style Enchilada recipe tonight, and my husband says they're the best he has ever had. This from a man who never orders anything but cheese enchiladas when we go to a Mexican restaurant. So he has tried them all. I would agree that they are the best. I even served them on Southwest-looking plates for the full effect. Thanks so much for sharing you recipe.

Liz Adair said...

Thanks for your comment, Gloria. Glad your husband liked them. They're pretty, too, don't you think?