Yo Quiero Enchiladas

Many moons ago my mom showed me an easy enchilada recipe. After a series of adjustments, this is pretty much how I’ve been making them for the past eight or nine years: brown ground beef. Fill flour tortilla with beef, some canned enchilada sauce, chipotle sauce, roll up. Put them in a glass baking dish, cover with more canned enchi sauce and pop in the oven for 20 minutes. Add cheese and bake another five minutes or so. That’s it.

Well, that’s all fine and good but since I’m…well, me…I decided to seek out a homemade enchi sauce. Based on this recipe and the ensuing comments, this is pretty much what I did: melt 3 T butter in a sauce pan. Stir in 3 T flour to make a roux. Stir in 1/4 cup chili powder. Stir in 2 cups of chicken stock. Stir in a little over half a can of tomato sauce.  Add 1 t garlic powder, 1 t oregano and 1 t cumin. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Repeat as above but using the homemade sauce (and I added some black beans to the beef mix since I was making a few more than usual).

Store bought (top) vs. home made (bottom). Topped with white cheddar from a local Georgia dairy farm!
Store bought (top) vs. home made (bottom). Topped with white cheddar from a local Georgia dairy farm!

I was nervous about how the homemade sauce would turn out so I did two pans of enchiladas – one with the homemade sauce and one with the canned sauce (just in case it was a disaster we would still have dinner).  The darker one is the stuff I made. It looked a lot like the canned version, just darker. Smelled good and tasted ok on its own. But the real test was Test Subject Bill. Would he approve the new sauce? Would his highly refined taste buds (er, whatever) reject the non-Old El Paso version?

Bill commented that the canned stuff is sweeter, but he complained that both versions were missing “something.” The elusive “something” remains unknown. His half Mexican heritage did not help us one bit in the spice detection department. However, upon adding more cumin and more chili powder, he announced the homemade version acceptable. “Ok,” he said. “You can make enchiladas using your sauce.”

Wooooohooooo! It’s every kung fu girl’s dream to have her sauce deemed acceptable. I felt so validated.

Beef and bean enchiladas and guacamole!
Beef (local Georgia grass-fed, of course) and bean enchiladas and guacamole!

Now, for the nitty gritty. I think what will make this sauce better is to saute fresh garlic with the butter and forget the powder. I hate to add sugar, but I think honey would make it taste funny. So he might have to live without it. Also, I plan to seek out some higher quality chili powder and use a little more tomato sauce next time. Other than that, I think it was a pretty tasty experiment.

As for the accompaniment, I love guacamole. And it’s so easy – once I learned how to make it I couldn’t figure out what they sell those stupid spice packets for in the store. Mash two avocados. Mince three or so cloves of garlic (or to taste). Finely chop a jalapeno (I used the fresh one that come out of my garden! I couldn’t believe it!). Squeeze the juice out of half a lime. Mix all together with a little salt and pepper and you’ve got yourself some fresh, tasty guac. I used to make it with only one avocado but Bill would eat it all and I would get none so I had to add the second one.

So the only serious problem I have with my enchiladas right now is the tortillas. I am highly suspicious of the ones I get at the store. There’s questionable ingredients on the package. (At least I avoided the one that listed partially hydrogenated vegetable oil….gag me.) I guess that just leaves one alternative…I am going to have to learn how to make tortillas.

Published by kitchenkungfu

Writer, Toastmaster and tireless champion for the benefits of a ketogenic diet!

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