Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Beef Enchiladas

Beef Enchiladas

Okey doke, it's been about a week now and things are getting back on track. I'll never have to get my wisdom teeth taken out again. Yay! I made these enchiladas a few weeks ago when I was craving something bold and spicy. But be warned, they were a bit on the spicy side. I skipped the traditional step of pan frying the tortillas then dipping them in enchilada sauce. Instead, I simply wrapped the stack of tortillas in foil and warmed them in the oven until they were pliable. You can fill them with shredded chicken instead of ground beef (a good way to use up leftover roast chicken), or use Mexican rice instead of meat for a vegetarian version, add extra cheese, or skip the cheese entirely, it's really up to you.

This is a tomato-less chili based enchilada sauce. A lot of recipes just call for 1 chipotle chili but then I just end up with a whole can minus 1 leftover so I used three. You can even use four or five if you can take the heat. Just make sure to remove the seeds, cut the chilies open lengthwise and remove the seeds, otherwise it will be way too spicy. To store leftover chipotles, freeze them individually on a sheet tray then after they are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag. Store the adobo sauce from the can in a zipper lock bag as well. Keep the bag flat in the freezer so the sauce freezes in an even layer. This way when you need some adobo sauce, you can just break a piece off the frozen slab (much easier than trying to scoop it out of a container when its frozen solid).

Beef Enchiladas
3/4 lb lean ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
Roughly 8 6-inch corn tortillas
1 1/2 C shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese or a combination of the two

Enchilada Sauce
2 Tbsp lard or bacon fat or substitute oil or butter
3 Tbsp flour
1 rounded Tbsp chili powder
3 chipotle chilies packed in adobo, seeds removed and minced
2 Tbsp adobo sauce from the can of chipotle chilies
2 C chicken stock + 1 C water
Salt and pepper

Optional Garnishes:
Chopped cilantro
Sour cream

In a medium saucepan, heat two tablespoons of lard (or cooking fat of your choice) over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of flour and whisk until the mixture, the roux, looks blonde. Add the chili powder and minced chipotle chilies, whisk and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in the chicken stock and water mixture and the adobo sauce from the can. Simmer the mixture until it is thick and bubbly (if it looks too thick, add some more water). Season with salt and pepper.

Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and break it up into bite size pieces. Cook the ground beef until it is browned and cooked through. Drain the beef and set aside.

Reserve about 2 teaspoons of fat in the skillet from cooking the beef. Heat over medium heat and add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Turn off the heat. Add the drained ground beef back into the onion mixture and add about a half cup of enchiliada sauce and season with some salt and pepper if needed. Set the meat mixture aside.

Wrap the stack of tortillas in foil. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and put the tortillas in the oven while it preheats. When the tortillas are warm and pliable, remove them from the oven.

Spread about a 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce on the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish. Add a 1/4 C of the meat mixture and about two tablespoons of the shredded cheese to a tortilla and roll it up. Place the roll seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas and fill the baking dish. Top with remaining sauce and sprinkle cheese evenly on top. Bake in a 450 degree F oven for 15 - 20 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Serve with optional garnishes or with a side of Mexican rice.

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