Monday, June 9, 2008

Cheese and Onion Enchiladas

The Recipe:

8 Dried Ancho Chiles
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 clove Garlic
1 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. (about) salt

12 corn tortillas
1 lb. shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
2 large onions, sliced
1 bunch scalions, sliced

Start with the sauce. Put the dried chiles in a pot and cover with water; bring to a boil, then turn off and let sit for at least 1/2 hour (an hour is better but that means you had to plan farther ahead than I remember to do.) Reserving the water, pull out the stem and remove the seeds from the chiles; puree the chiles with about half of the water from the pot. Set aside the water and the chiles.

Heat the Tbsp olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Slice the garlic thinly and add it to the pot; cook for several minutes but do not let it brown. Once your kitchen smells like garlic heaven, remove the garlic from the oil and whisk in the flour. Cook about 1 minute and remove from heat.

Strain the pureed chile peppers into the pot, running the remaining soaking water over the remains to force through all the lovely goodness. Whisk the mixture back over heat, adding the oregano, vinegar, cumin and salt. If necessary, add enough water to make about 3 cups of sauce. Bring up to a boil, turn off the heat and let sit. Can be made several hours ahead.

To assemble the enchiladas: saute the sliced onions in a little olive oil until nicely brown. Pour about 1/3 cup sauce into a 9x11 glass baking dish, tilting to coat bottom and sides. Set up an assembly line where your onions, sliced scalions, grated cheese are handy, and you'll need two plates. Fill the first plate with enchilada sauce.

Heat the oven to 350. Heat a skillet with a little oil. Put in one tortilla and heat on each side for about 20 seconds; remove from skillet and place in the sauce plate. Turn to coat. Move it to plate #2 and place a layer of cheese in a stripe down the middle, then a bit of the onions and scallions. Roll up around the stripe of filling and place seam-side down into the dish. Repeat until all tortillas have been used. (I usually put eight enchiladas along one side of the dish in a straight line, then push the remaining four across the top.) Pour all the remaining sauce, including what's left in your sauce plate, over the top of the enchiladas; scatter any remaining filling ingredients over the top. Bake for 20 minutes, then let sit out for at least 5 before you try to serve. Feeds a family of four easily, probably with leftovers.

The Story:

In high school, I had to make something for a Spanish class meal, and I found a basic enchilada recipe in some old cookbook. I wrote it down on two little shards of paper from my handbag and I've been working from the two little shards of paper ever since. I've made so many changes, however, it's high time to get this written down right. However, I just sat here and wrote this up from memory (after having made it for dinner tonight,) so I guess I could let those little green scraps go now. But I won't; they'll stay in their honored place in my recipe folder for another twenty years, I'm sure.

The sauce stains. Bad. Remember this.

Ancho chiles are dried poblanos. They're not all that hot, but this might be a little much for some folks. Also, depending how big the chiles are, you may want to use less or more; use your best judgement.

Serve with Black Bean Salad and plenty of ice cold cerveza. Yum!


Jeff said...

This sounds awesome. It actually sounds like something I could make!

Sharon GR said...

You can make it. And you should. They're tasty, especially with the bean salad.

Don't forget the cerveza, or if you are so inclined, the margarita.