Monday, May 30, 2011

Beef Enchiladas

Mexican foods have always been one of my favorites. Two of my favorite Mexican foods are burritos and enchiladas. As a child, I remember watching my mother and her friend, Mrs. Rodriguez making enchiladas. They would take flour tortillas, dip them in an enchilada sauce and gently fry them in a little bit of oil, just until they were very soft and slightly crisp around the edges. Then they would take their ground beef mixture, which included peas. Add them to the tortillas, add some cheese and roll them up and bake them with even more cheese. I have over the years adapted my own version of these. Making them a little more spicy. Burritos and enchiladas, like any Mexican food is not only good in the cold winter months, but any time of the year. I hope you will enjoy my enchilada recipe as much as we do.

Beef Enchiladas

2 lbs. ground beef (80/20 works well)
3 T. ground cumin
1 T. crushed red pepper flakes
4 T. dried onion flakes
1-10oz can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chili's (drained)
2-1.5oz packages of dry enchilada sauce mix
1-28oz can enchilada sauce
3/4 C. water
1 1/4 C. frozen peas 
20 flour tortillas
6 C. colby or co-jack cheese (shredded)

In a large skillet add ground beef, onion flakes, red pepper flakes and 2T. cumin. cook until onions are soft and beef is cooked through, make sure beef is finely ground, not big chunks. Drain, place back in skillet and add 1-T. cumin, both pkgs of dry enchilada sauce mix, 3/4 C. water, 1 1/2 C. enchilada sauce, mix well and add peas. Over medium high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently so meat  mixture does not stick to bottom of pan. Remove from heat and cool slightly. In a large bowl with a flat bottom (eg. pasta bowl) pour in remaining enchilada sauce. You will need a plate or cutting board to roll your enchiladas on. Place 10 flour tortilla in a damp towel and microwave. 
Take one tortilla at a time and dunk in bowl of sauce, hold above bowl and gently shake off excess sauce, place sauced tortilla on the plate or board, add 1/4 C. of meat mixture and add approx 1/8 of a cup of shredded cheese and roll. Place rolled enchilada immediately into a greased or sprayed 9 x 13 baking pan. Continue this process until you have rolled all 20 tortillas. You should be able to fit 10 enchiladas in each pan. 
Sprinkle the remaining 2 C. of shredded cheese down the center on the top of the enchiladas, spoon any remaining sauce over the middle of the cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 40 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and enchiladas are heated through.
Serve with sour cream and diced tomatoes and shredded lettuce on top of enchiladas. 

**** If you would like, you can fry the tortillas as I mentioned in the beginning of this post. They are wonderful that way. I make them both ways. It just depends upon my mood and how much time I have. If you decide to fry the tortillas, you will not be disappointed in the results, trust me!
Place just enough vegetable or canola oil in a skillet so the almost float the tortilla. heat the oil to about 360 degrees or so. Dip the tortilla into the enchilada sauce, shake off excess sauce and place in hot oil. let fry for about a minute or so, then flip to cook the other side. Tortillas are ready to be taken out of oil when they become slightly crispy around the edges and almost paper like in the center. Be very careful when turning and removing them so you do not tear them. Place cooked tortillas onto a stack of paper towels on a plate to cool. It works best if you have someone to work with you when doing this. When you get too many cooked tortillas stacked, they can stick together and tear very easy. Also do not fry them too long, you will get the hang of it as you go. You may want to get a few extra tortillas in case you tear any or over fry them, this makes them too crisp to roll. You should try them this way at least once. They are delicious!! Be aware, that this can take some time to do this and it is very messy, so be prepared to not only clean up splatters as you go, but the mess it will make of your stove. Trust me, it is worth it. :)



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