26 May 2010

easy enchiladas

chicken enchiladas

Every have those evenings where you'd rather eat Ramen than cook a meal? I do. So I'm trying to build up a repertoire of easy, tasty, go-to meals that are still worthy of applause, and one of those is enchiladas with a very simple and delicious red sauce.

chicken enchiladas

There was actually another recipe I was following, but after trying the recipe I found on Knitter in the Kitchen I wanted to see how the sauce on the Everyday Food recipe would differ. The premise is the same, oil, flour, chili powder, water and chicken broth, but it differed by the addition of an chipotle chili with a bit of the adobo sauce that added an extra punch. However, the other recipe has a few spices mixed in with the chili powder that I felt gave it a bit more depth of flavor, but I was lazy so all I added was a minced garlic clove, some dried oregano, and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (which really enhances red sauces).

In this recipe, you make a roux with oil and flour, similar to the first recipe I tried except that you blend the chili powder plus spices with the flour before adding the liquid. Since chili powder is oil soluble, much of the flavor is released when added to oil, thus I feel it's better to add it with the flour instead of later with the liquid. Although the flavor was still pretty punchy, it probably had more to do with the chipotle chili and adobo sauce than from the chili powder alone.

As the sauce simmers away for a brief 10 minutes, you can prep the filling and get the pan ready.

chicken enchiladas

Otherwise, I mostly followed the recipe as written, except for the filling I used preshredded chicken (from chicken cooked earlier) and seasoned the onion-garlic-chicken mixture with oregano, salt, and Goya seasoning. I love Goya. I also had more flour tortillas so I used those. For corn tortillas, though, Rick Bayless has a quick method to soften them: Brush either side with oil or spray with oil, then place flat on a baking sheet and stick in the oven for at least 5 minutes, until soft and pliable.

In the oven, the sauce bakes into the tortillas and the finished dish is completely delicious and satisfies any craving you might have for Mexican food. The top is a bit crispy with the cheese and the cilantro sprinkled on top adds another element of flavor. A squeeze of lime would also be great. No, it's probably not completely traditional, but not everything needs to be. An added bonus, this can also be frozen in advance for later. Since I used 10 flour tortillas, you could probably use more corn tortillas as well, though it might not be as saucy (mine wasn't -- next time).

Recipe after the jump

Tex-Mex Beef Enchiladas
Recipe from Everyday Food with my mods in italics

Serves 5

ingredients ~

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) reduced sodium chicken broth
1 small chipotle chile in adobo, minced, plus 1 tablespoon sauce (from a small can)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/2 a packet Goya seasoning
1 teaspoon oregano
Coarse salt and ground pepper
10 flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (6 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

directions ~
  1. Make sauce: In a medium saucepan, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil over medium. Add flour, chili powder, oregano, garlic, and salt and cook, whisking occasionally, 1 minute. Add broth, chipotle and adobo sauce, and 3/4 cup water, and vinegar; bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat, and simmer until lightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

  2. Make filling: In a 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add onion, garlic, Goya, oregano, and beef; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until cooked through, about 8 minutes.

  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (If freezing, don't place any sauce in baking dish.) Spoon 1/4 cup sauce in bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish. Set aside. Make enchiladas: Stack tortillas; wrap in foil, and warm in oven, 10 minutes. Fill each with a heaping 1/4 cup beef mixture (and this was for 6-inch corn tortillas, which I don't even think I did for 10-inch flour tortillas, so do whatever works for you) and 2 tablespoons cheese; tightly roll up.

  4. Raise oven heat to 450 degrees. Arrange enchiladas, seam side down, in baking dish. Top with remaining sauce; sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, until hot and bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes. (I sprinkled the cilantro on top a few minutes before end of cooking time) Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Serve garnished with cilantro and, if desired, a green salad.

To freeze: make sauce and enchiladas; arrange enchiladas in baking dish without sauce (so tortillas don't become soggy). Place sauce in an airtight container. Cover dish with plastic wrap and foil. Label, date, and freeze enchiladas and sauce. Use within 2 months; bake without thawing.

To bake from frozen: Thaw sauce in refrigerator overnight. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove foil and plastic wrap from baking dish. Pour sauce over top, and sprinkle with cheese; cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover; bake until lightly browned and bubbly, about 15 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes; serve.

If baking right away: Spoon 1/4 cup sauce in the bottom of baking dish; pour the rest over the enchiladas.



  1. These look delicious, doll! I'm definitely making these sometime next week!

  2. HI Christina! This looks great.

    Freezing for later - genius! I freeze everything I can possibly think of. :) I should really stop. It's getting to be a bit much!

  3. This looks really good, Christina. Now I have a hankering for some Mexican food.

    What kind of Goya seasoning do you use? I often use Goya seasoning in my rice. I add it along with the water and Tabasco sauce in my rice cooker. My favorite seasoning is the "Con Culantro Y Achiote". Not only is the flavor good but it gives a nice color to the dish.

  4. Your blog makes me so hungry. The pictures are great - what camera/lens do you use?

  5. Oooooh, your enchiladas turned out beautifully! I'm glad you liked the Everyday Food recipe. I also agree with you -- I think the punch is from the chipotle chili/adobo sauce. I'm totally going to try some of your mods next time!

  6. Tiffers ~ I will invite myself over.

    Esther ~ On the opposite end of the spectrum, I never freeze anything because there's no space in the freezer!

    Jogger ~ The Goya I use always has cilantro in it, and maybe cumin. And perhaps I really love salt because on its own I don't feel it's all that flavorful.

    Dax ~ Haha, thanks! A Sony Cybershot DSC-T30, which is a point & shoot.

    Caitlyn ~ The only problem is that now I have about a can of chipotle chilies left! Though back to the freezing, I should just make a double batch of the sauce for later. Hope you like the mods!

  7. Recipe looks good, I've been trying to find a good recipe for Enchiladas.

    If you like the chipotle flavour, then I'd recommend making chipotle butter with the leftover can of chipotles (http://sticktoyourhips.blogspot.com/2009/08/butter-makes-it-better-do-i-hear-amen.html)

    It's not my recipe but I've made it a few times and it's great melted on steak right off the BBQ or on bbq-d corn on the cob!

  8. man, i didn't grow up with enchiladas so i never think about them, but i keep seeing delicious-looking ones everywhere! gotta get on this bandwagon :)

  9. These look great! I've been experimenting with homemade red enchilada sauce a lot lately so I will definitely give yours a whirl!

  10. Oh man, these look great--way better than Ramen. I'll have to save this recipe!


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