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Thread: "Authentic" Ground Beef Enchiladas

  1. #1
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    "Authentic" Ground Beef Enchiladas

    Hi All,

    I was really hungry for beef enchiladas this weekend and found that I didn't have a good recipe for a red enchilada sauce. An aunt of mine was Mexican and made delicious enchiladas, tamales, mole etc, so I got spoiled with authentic Mexican dishes. She passed away several years ago. I sure do miss her and her wonderful cooking!

    I decided to do a search on this site for enchilada sauces and found this one posted by DMOrtega:

    This is from Food & Wine 1987. We have been making it ever since.

    Enchilada Sauce
    1 tsp corn oil
    1 garlic clove, minced
    2 TBS all-purpose flour 3 TBS chili powder
    1/2 tsp ground cumin
    1/2 tsp oregano
    1 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned broth

    Saute garlic in oil for 30 seconds. Add flour, chili powder, cumin and oregano; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Whisk in the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the
    sauce is thickened and reduced to 1 1/4 cups, 3-5 minutes.
    I adjust the amount of liquid depending on how it thickens.

    Here's what I did:
    I made a batch of the above sauce. I browned a pound of very lean ground beef (10%) and drained off the fat. I combined the beef with about half the enchilada sauce, so that it was moist but not too saucey.

    I added a can of Del Monte Zesty diced tomates with mild chiles to the remaining sauce. I spread about 1/2 cup of the sauce mixture in the bottom of a 7" X 11" baking pan and set it and the remaining sauce aside.

    I softend a corn tortilla by dipping it in a sautée pan with about 1" of simmering water. (A technique I learned at Cooking Light!) I spooned about 1/4 c of the beef filling, rolled the tortilla and placed it in the pan. This made about 10 enchiladas. I used a Mexican brand of corn tortillas. They're thicker, sturdier and "cornier" if that's a word. Plus, they seem to hold up better in the water dip.

    I covered them enchiladas with the remaining sauce, sealed the pan with foil and baked for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees. I removed the foil and topped the enchiladas with about 1 cup of shredded, reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese and baked for another 10 minutes.

    Now I don't usually toot my on horn, but boy were these good! They had that "authentic" taste - just like my aunt's. I think the combination of the sautéd spices in the enchilada sauce and the tomatoes with chiles did the trick.

    Since enchiladas and enchilada sauces seem to be a frequent topic on the board, I thought I'd add in my 2 cents (Or in this case, $1 since I'm so long winded!) Hope you enjoy it too and Thanks! DMOrtega for the great sauce recipe.

    Renée
    Happiness is a good piece of chocolate and a good cup of coffee.

  2. #2
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    Thanks for posting that recipe, Renee. It sounds great and I can't wait to try it! I love Mexican food!!!!!

  3. #3
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    Thanks for sharing this recipe! It really sounds tasty!
    Anna
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money.
    Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns into wine,
    something Brussels sprouts never do.
    P. J. O'Rourke, humorist
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  4. #4
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    I am definitely going to try these next week. Thanks for sharing. I am always looking for more ways to use ground beef.

    Do you think I could use flour tortillas? DH does not like corn.

  5. #5
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    Renee - thanks for posting that recipe, it looks great. I'm especially psyched about the sauce recipe -- I HATE using the store-bought canned stuff.

    I have one question though about enchiladas...I've only ever made them once and the procedure was similar to the one in your recipe. When they came out of the oven, they were really mushy -- I actually couldn't even separate them into individual "rolls" - it was all just one big pile of mush. I've had enchiladas at restaurants before so I'm pretty sure they're not supposed to be like this, but do you know what I might have done wrong? Or are some recipes different and supposed to end up like this? Thanks for any advice.

    tracey

  6. #6
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    Thanks Renee & DMOrtega! Looks easy and not too difficult.
    Life is all about a$$; you're either covering it, laughing it off, kicking it, kissing it, busting it, trying to get a piece of it, behaving like one, or you live with one.

    Maxine

  7. #7
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    Hi Tracy...

    Hmmm... Well mine stayed together pretty well, but a few always seem to fall apart a little.

    I wonder if maybe in the past you've had too much liquid or sauce, causing the tortillas to get too mushy. Keep in mind, that traditional recipes call for softening the corn tortillas in hot oil and this probably "seals" them a bit against sogginess, so in light recipes, we may need to use a little less liquid.

    Also, I use the thicker, sturdier Mexican brand of corn tortillas such as Goya, not the thinner style such as Mission brand (which are great for baked tortilla chips) and I think this helps too.

    Good luck!

    Renée
    Happiness is a good piece of chocolate and a good cup of coffee.

  8. #8
    Another thought on those soggy enchiladas, since I am a frequent maker of enchiladas. Besides the "too much liquid" syndrome or soaking your tortillas too much, another cause for soggy enchiladas can be cooking them too long. Really, for many enchiladas, about ten to fifteen minutes in the oven is all they need-- just long enough to melt the cheese throughout.

    If you think it's a case of too much liquid and you really like a lot of sauce, another thing you might try is to make your enchiladas with a minimal amount of sauce so as not to crispy your tortilla edges, heat the rest of your sauce in a pot and right before serving, spoon additional sauce on.

    --
    Karen--

    About the flour tortillas, sure, go ahead and use them... I've got recipes which call for flour, and just this week there was an ages-old-family-recipe for enchiladas printed in the food section of the LA Times, also using flour. But, if you do use the flour tortillas, I'd just dip them in sauce, fill and roll, since you don't have to worry about breakage as you do with corn tortillas.

    I'm wondering though... are the corn tortillas your husband hates made of white corn? Some brands I've seen are darker, more dense, with a pronounced masa flavor-- the white corn (aforementioned Mission, which works fine for me) are a bit lighter in flavor. Depending upon where you live and what's offered in your markets, switching to another brand may (or may not) make a difference.

  9. #9
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    Thanks Renee and Gail - from what you've explained, I think my problem was a little of two things you suggested 1 - I skipped the "sealing" step and 2 - I baked them too long (I think the recipe called for something like 40 minutes). I'll feel better about making them in the future now that I have your advice.

    tracey

  10. #10
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    Oct 2001
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    San Francisco, CA
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    Question

    I made chicken enchiladas a couple of weeks ago and used the "lite" method of dipping the tortillas in the sauce instead of oil. I found that they could only tolerate a quick dip or else the tortillas would just disintegrate. The procedure was also very messy. However, the finished results were very tasty -- they were somewhat sticky, but I don't like my enchiladas dry.

    I was wondering though, if the dip step was totally necessary...would heating the tortillas in the microwave and then making sure that plenty of sauce is added to the dish after the tortillas are rolled work equally well?

    Claudia

  11. #11
    Tracey,

    Just to clarify: unless I am making a CL recipe, I admit to being an incurable tortilla fryer. The frying is done primarily to make the tortillas more pliable, though I personally feel it imparts a bit more flavor as well. Unfried tortillas simply aren't as tasty to me. (Shame, shame.) So sometimes, I've just gotta do what I've gotta do... Now, when you mention skipping the "sealing" I don't know if you're speaking specifically of frying as opposed to one of several other methods of making your tortillas pliable, however, even with pre-frying, it is still possible to end up with mushy results with too much sauce, too long dipping time into the sauce or too long a cooking time. Try different methods until you find a combination which best works for you.

    Claudia,

    I have heard from others on the board who've reported success with exactly the method you're suggesting. If you can find another way to soften your tortillas so they don't crack, go for it.
    I watch the guys in one of our neighborhood taquerias making their enchiladas-- they toss the tortillas on their grill, heat 'em, fill 'em and roll 'em, adding sauce and cooking them just long enough to melt the cheese. Theirs are great!

    My sister's caregiver, on the other hand, also makes great enchiladas, using the age-old method of dipping her tortillas in sauce, THEN frying them.... Maybe you have to be Mexican not to make a complete and total mess of this method. Somehow she pulls it off without destroying the kitchen.

  12. #12
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    Gail, thanks so much for the extra information. When I said before that I skipped the "sealing" - I actually did just what Claudia was asking about: I only heated them briefly in the microwave (maybe 10 seconds?) and did not dip into either simmering water or oil.

    I'm laughing right now at the timing of this all, because I'm eating my afternoon snack (apple and peanut butter, thank you) and glancing through an issue of Fine Cooking that I bought a few days ago. They have an article on making enchiladas and one of the things they say is key to great flavor is the dipping in sauce first and THEN frying briefly, before filling - just what you mentioned your sister's caregiver doing! They also say that the frying part (whether briefly in simmering water or in oil) is essential to "sealing" the enchilada and preventing it from becoming mushy during baking -- although, I'm sure if you only bake long enough to melt the cheese, they'll be fine even without the frying step.

    Like you said - there are a variety of possibilities and I'll just have to experiment until I find what works best.

    tracey

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