Enchiladas On My Mind


Post by community member:

Looking in the fridge, I had some leftover beans, some shredded pork, some cheese – and I started dreaming of Enchiladas. Good enchiladas!

Everyone seems to have their own way of making enchiladas.  Until just a short while ago, my enchiladas were a bag of frozen burritos from the store with a can of enchilada sauce poured over, cheese sprinkled on top and baked.  That was enchiladas in my book.

But, then I was introduced to an authentic enchilada and had the pleasure of watching it being made.  Oh sigh – my burrito, enchilada sauce, and cheese just wouldn’t cut it anymore!  AND you can make it with what your family likes, using up some leftovers in the process – beef, chicken, pork, with beans, without beans, hot or mild.

So, I rolled up my sleeves, cleaned the kitchen up and decided I was making the entire thing from scratch!  Suzanne has shown us how to make the tortillas and the refried beans, so I CAN DO THIS!

How to make Enchiladas: {See the recipe here to print}

Meat of your choice (browned and drained burger, shredded beef, shredded chicken, shredded pork), about 2 cups cooked if you’re using refried beans or about 4 cups without the beans
4 cups Enchilada Sauce (or 2 cans)
2 cups shredded cheese of your choice (cheddar or pepper jack are good choices)
2 cups Refried Beans (or 1 can), optional
12 Flour Tortillas

With Suzanne’s Four Tortilla post up, I started my journey of authentic enchilada making.

How to make Tortillas: {See the recipe here to print}

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening or lard
1 cup lukewarm water

Mix flour and salt in a medium-size bowl.

Cut in shortening with a pastry cutter.

Stir water in and mix the dough as much as possible with a spoon.  The dough will appear dry at first. Work it the rest of the way by kneading and a pliable dough will result.

Cover bowl and let rest for about 20 minutes. Or until you have the rest of prep done! Now is when I prepared the Enchilada Sauce and Refried Bean/Meat mixture (below).

Sprinkle a bit of flour in the bowl and knead again briefly. Divide dough into 12 balls.

Taking one ball of tortilla dough at a time, flour waxed paper and stretch the ball a bit to get started. My countertop is great for rolling, I just need a little flour. Place dough on the floured wax paper and sprinkle flour on top of the dough.  Roll out the tortilla as thinly as possible without breaking the dough.  It does NOT matter what shape it is!  It looks homemade!

Heat a large cast-iron skillet to medium-high. (You’re cooking them dry, no oil, so cast-iron is best.) Cook each tortilla quickly, about 15 seconds per side then flip.

Repeat, cooking each side a second time for another 15 seconds per side. There is no need to keep these super warm, so I just put them out on my board. Set aside.

I decided to use Pete’s Chili Gravy for my enchilada sauce – it’s a wonderful enchilada sauce with a serious Tex-Mex flavor. It is an adaptation of a Robb Walsh recipe from the Homesick Texan. I used this recipe last year canning chili beans – it has a wonderful flavor and you can control the heat by making your own!

How to make Chili Gravy (Enchilada Sauce): Make a double recipe! {See the recipe here to print}

1/4 cup lard (or vegetable oil)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (Mexican oregano is preferred if it’s available) I used the oregano I dried from my herb garden
2 Tablespoons chili powder (either homemade or a dark brand such as Gebhardt’s or Whole Foods) I used regular chili powder from the store
2 cups chicken broth (can use water or vegetable broth also) I used chicken broth

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour and continue stirring for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it makes a light brown roux.

Add all the dry ingredients.

Continue to cook for 1 minute, constantly stirring and blending ingredients.

Add chicken broth or water, mixing and stirring until the sauce thickens.

Turn heat to low and let sauce simmer for 15 minutes. Add water to adjust the thickness. Makes 2 cups.  I doubled the recipe so I had about 4 cups.

Set aside.

As I already had some leftover beans in the fridge, I used those for Homemade Refried Beans, Suzanne’s way.  I was able to skip the rinsing, draining, soaking, rinsing, draining, simmering steps!  I used about 2 1/2 cups of cooked beans.

How to make Homemade Refried Beans: {See the recipe here to print}

1 1/2 cups dry pinto beans
1/4 cup vegetable oil or bacon grease
1 tomato, diced
1/2 of a small onion, minced
2 jalapeno or banana peppers, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
cayenne pepper (optional)

Rinse and drain beans. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and soak for one hour (with the lid on the pot). Rinse and drain again then cover with water in the same pot and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, another one to two hours, until tender. Drain (reserve liquid).  Mine were leftover, so I was able skip this step!

In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil or bacon grease. Add tomato, onion, peppers, garlic powder, cumin and cayenne pepper (a little, a lot, up to you!); sauté on medium-low until onion and peppers are soft (about 15 minutes).  I CHEAT on this step!  Yes, I do!  I use a 8 oz jar of my homemade salsa – everything is already in there!

Continuing to cook, add drained beans, seasoning with salt to taste. Using a potato masher, mash beans in the skillet, adding cooking liquid from the beans as needed.

Once beans are mashed and well-blended, you’re done!

Enchilada Filling:

Shred cheese if you need to now.  I know this isn’t a Mexican type of cheese, but I had some smoked swiss in the fridge, so I shredded that up.

Add meat to the beans.  I just took this pork out of the fridge, broke it up and stirred it in.

Stir in 2 cups of the enchilada sauce.

Mix in 1 cup of the shredded cheese until melted.

Turn off heat; set aside.

Okay, whew, all the prep is done!  Now we’re ready for the good part – putting everything together!  Make your assembly line, this makes putting the enchiladas together soooo much easier.

Step 1 – Dip Tortilla Shell in the Enchilada Sauce, both sides, and put on a dinner-size plate.

Step 2 – Spread a couple spoonfuls of Bean & Meat mixture over Tortilla Shell, leaving at least an inch at the top side.  Depending on the size of your tortilla – mine are all different sizes – the amount you use for each shell will vary.  Sprinkle a little cheese on top.

Step 3 – Beginning at the bottom, roll up to the top, place in a sprayed pan.  I use my big lasagna pan.  You could use 2 smaller ones.

Step 4 – Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.  If you have any remaining enchilada sauce, you can pour it into the pan, though I don’t usually have any left. Place your pan full of Enchilada goodness into a 350 degree oven and bake until cheese is melted, about 20-30 minutes.

Step 5 – Put a couple of those Enchiladas on a plate and enjoy!

This is so much tastier than my old way — but then anything from scratch is so much tastier!!

I know this whole process of making everything from scratch seems like a very long process, but it’s not really, and you can do it in steps.  AND if you have canned Chili Gravy, tortillas in the freezer, leftover beans, and leftover meat, this will come together VERY quickly.

Cindy blogs at Chippewa Creek.

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  1. Suzanne McMinn says:

    I’m looking forward to trying these! They sound delicious. I’m looking forward to trying Pete’s chili gravy recipe, too.

  2. Pete says:

    Oh, oh! It’s not MY recipe, but hey, that’s how it goes, isn’t it?

    What a great presentation, Cindy!

    For those of us who like our enchiladas with gravy, would suggest having a little heated on the side to add to the plated enchiladas.

    Also, the gravy is great canned! It does become a bit stronger in flavor with canning, and might need to be thinned a bit when used.

  3. KentuckyFarmGirl says:

    Yum! These look great. Will definitely have to try them! I also want to can some of that sauce.

  4. LauraP says:

    Now I’m hungry! It’s been so long since I made enchiladas I can’t remember the recipe (Mom’s). This may be better though. (Sorry Mom!)

  5. lward says:

    This looks amazing. I love to cook from scratch when I have time. I may give this a try. Thanks for the step by step.

  6. Melinda says:

    Guess what we are having for dinner Saturday? I can hardly wait!!

  7. Char says:

    Hey one and all! How would you go about canning the chili gravy? (my WV fingers have trouble typing the word gravy for any recipe that doesn’t have milk and sausage or at least a little venison in it!!) Mostly wondering how long to process? Would bwb be sufficient or would it need to pressure canned?

  8. CindyP says:

    Hi Char — there was quite a discussion on canning the recipe that Pete had found over on the forum. Here’s the link http://chickensintheroad.com/forum/just-recipes/chili-gravy/ I used it canning chili beans last year and really loved it! Pete’s canned it to use as a sauce.

  9. Pete says:

    Will get those canning instructions moved over here in a bit. Right now I am out playing with chickens. The babies are being introduced to their first free range experience!

  10. grandmatotwochicks says:

    Cindy, That LOOKS SO YUMMY!!!!!!! I am going to have to try this!

  11. Moopsee says:

    I absolutely LOVE homemade tortillas. I love using the lard (or even bacon fat) for them. Thanks for sharing — guess who will make a Hispanic dish tonight!? 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration!

  12. Char says:

    Cindy, thanks for the link!

  13. Pete says:

    Forgot to post over here that I DID get those canning instructions posted…


  14. Valerie says:

    This sounds delicious, I hope to make this over the weekend. Yummy photos, too!

  15. Bonny says:

    I learned to make Mexidan Food from a friend who grew up in Juchupila, Zacatecas (not sure of the spellings). He taught me to make my enchilada sauce from dried Ancho Chilies.
    After he made his sauce, he dipped his tortillas in the sauce, and then fried them in a little lard on both sides.
    Your version is much healthier and I ‘d never thought of just dipping them before filling.

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