Tasty Enchiladas Made For A Quick Meal!

Enchiladas! What Are They Really?  

The cultural history of enchiladas traces the influences of gender, race and class on this dish from Aztec times to the present. The Real Academia Española defines the word “enchilada” as a “rolled maize tortilla stuffed with meat and covered with a tomato or chile sauce.”

Enchilada is the past participle of the verb, enchilar, meaning “to add chile pepper to” or “to season with chile.” The tradition of stuffing corn flatbread (called tlaxcalli in Nahuatl) with meat, seafood, beans, potatoes or vegetables occurred first in the Basin of Mexico. It was the Spanish conquistadors who gave tlaxcalli the name “tortilla”! Cheese was added as an enchilada ingredient after the Spanish imported it.

Enchilada…… (means) “to add chile pepper to” or “to season with chile.” The tradition of stuffing corn flatbread (tortilla) with meat, seafood, beans, potatoes or vegetables occurred first in the Basin of Mexico.

In the 19th century, as Mexican cuisine was being nationalized, enchiladas were mentioned in the first Mexican cookbook, El Cocinero Mexicano (The Mexican Cook), published in 1831, and in Mariano Galván Rivera’s Diccionario de Cocina, published in 1845.

I got this excerpt from “Latino Perspectives Magazine” dated Sept. 12, 2013

My Take On Enchiladas

I love enchiladas that are homemade.  Also ones made by a chef who really cares about the food he makes in his Mexican Restaurant. And good Mexican restaurants with properly made meals are hard to find. Most of them are an excuse for whatever they pretend to be!

My wife and I went to a restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico a long time ago. We were hoping to get authentic Spanish dishes that we could not find in the States. That didn’t happen.

The place was empty, but we took a chance and entered and found a table. As soon as we sat down, other “turistas” peeked in the door. They probably decided that since we were still alive, the food must be okay. Several of them came in and found some tables to sit at. But the food everyone wanted wasn’t what we were expecting.

I ordered the enchiladas plate with rice and refried beans. That was a shock, because the food was tasteless and the proportions were small. The meat inside the rolled tortillas was oily with bad tasting spices inside. I never ate in Mexico again.

More recently, I did discover a restaurant chain called Tortilla Flats that made enchiladas just the way I like them. Many of their ingredients I incorporated into my recipe. I will relate to you what I like to do when making this dish. I hope you will like them.

QUICK ENCHILADAS RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 6  Large pre-cooked Four Tortillas (Corn Tortillas okay if you prefer)
  • 1/2 lb Ground Beef (or Ground Chuck)
  • 1/2 cup Sweet Onions ( or Red Onions)
  • 1/2 cup Sweet Peppers ( or Jalapeños if you like it hot)
  • 1 cup Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Green Onions diced
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream
  • 1/2 cup of Black Olives diced
  • 1 pkg. Taco Seasoning (2 if you like more heat)

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Take a large frying pan and in small amount of butter start to sauté the sweet onions and sweet peppers.
  3. Half way through the sauté process, add the ground beef. Chop it up in the pan while blending with the onions and peppers.
  4. Near the end of the cooking process, add the taco seasoning packet with just enough water to make a thick sauce.
  5. Meanwhile, start warming (but not cooking) the tortillas on a griddle, just enough to make them firm and pliable, but not stiff or with brown “doneness” marks starting to show.
  6. As each tortilla is ready, remove from griddle and lay on a plate. Spread cooked taco sauce meat mixture down center of each tortilla and carefully roll up.
  7. Sprinkle grated cheese on top of each enchilada.
  8. Place on cookie sheet protected by aluminum foil.
  9. When all tortillas are rolled and made, and in place, slide cookie sheet into preheated oven.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes.
  11. Remove from oven and garnish the top of each enchilada with sour cream topped with green onions and black olives.
  12. Add taco sauce as option with final toppings. Serve!

OPTIONS

Try frying tortillas in taco sauce instead of heating them on a grill. It adds a little more flavor, but is messy and tends to splatter all over stove.

You can also replace Taco Seasoning with Taco Sauce straight out of the can. No added water needed.

Add chopped black olives as topping to sour cream and green onions.

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