The best enchiladas I’ve ever had came from a place called Sadies in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This iconic restaurant is big and every night it’s a hopping place. New Mexico style enchiladas are “stacked” rather than rolled with an enchilada on the bottom and layers of filler topped by sauce and enchiladas 3 or 4 high.
Then the enchiladas are covered with red or green chili sauce or in the famous New Mexico style called “Christmas” which is red sauce on one side and green sauce on the other. Finally, many people (myself included) order this delectable stacked dish “con huevo” with a fried egg on top. Oh man, that’s some fantastic eating.
Most of us don’t make enchiladas at home because it’s messy. But it’s worth it. And it’s a lot cheaper than going to your local Mexican restaurant. Plus, if you’ve got kids, everyone can pitch in and get messy together.
One of the other great things about enchiladas is that you can make it with leftover meat—shredded pork or beef or left over chicken or turkey. My version today uses the last of the leftover Thanksgiving turkey which I froze in November for when we wanted a turkey dish.
I’ve also made enchiladas from some old, freezer burned chicken thighs and legs I found rummaging around in the freezer. I thawed them and tossed them on the grill with a generous shaking of salt, pepper and garlic then let them cool before peeling off the skin and shredding the meat. It might be freezer burned but Cheap Bastid isn’t going to let it go to waste if I can make a perfectly good dinner of enchiladas from that old tired chicken.
Recipe: Incredible Enchiladas
Summary: Here’s a great family meal–and you can make it with leftovers. Tasty, easy and just a little bit messy. You’ll love ‘em!
- 1 batch Cheap Bastid’s Enchilada sauce http://www.cheap-bastid-cooks.com/semi-homemade-enchilada-sauce
- 2 cups (8 oz. jack or mozzarella cheese) shredded
- 1 lb shredded meat (chicken, beef or pork)
- 12 corn tortillas
- 9×13 inch baking dish
- Green onions (for garnish)
- Chopped tomato (for garnish)
- Sour Cream (optional)
- Some recipes call for a quick frying or baking of the tortillas and some don’t. Tyler Florence from Food Network said to just microwave them for about 30 seconds. I did some microwaved and some with no heating and I think just a bit of microwaving works best. It makes the tortilla just a bit more pliable as you load it and fold it into the dish. So put a short stack of 4 on a microwave dish and zap them for about 30 seconds on high. Load those, then do 4 more.
- Whatever meat you use—chicken, pork shoulder or beef (chuck/bottom round/ground) is best shredded. Use 2 forks or your hands and put it in a bowl. Shred the cheese and put it in a bowl. Pour enough sauce in the baking dish to just cover the bottom when you spread it out with the back of a spoon. Put the rest of the sauce in a wide opening flat bowl—or just leave it in the sauté pan and dip from there.
- Use your hands. Get messy—you’ll want to wear an apron! Dip the tortilla into the sauce to coat it and then use a finger to “squeegee” the extra sauce off.
- Hold the coated tortilla in your hand, put a couple tablespoon’s worth of meat in the middle then about a tablespoon of cheese (again I used my fingers). Roll the edges of the tortilla over the meat and cheese then lay it in the baking dish, folded side down. Do this for each tortilla. Then pour sauce over the top and sprinkle the rest of the cheese over that and your ready to bake. Cover with foil.
- Put the baking dish in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes and you’re ready to go. Plate with 2 enchiladas topped with extra sauce, sour cream and garnished with green onion and tomato.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Cooking time: 20 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 6
These were fantastic. One of the things I mentioned to Mrs. CB was that the baking at a bit lower temperature and making a bit more sauce seemed to soften the tortillas up more and let the flavor of the corn come through—almost, but not quite, like a tamale. The sauce was just right—not too hot and not too mild. You can always add a bit more hot sauce when you’re eating them if you want more “kick”.
Here’s the link to Cheap Bastid’s recipe for Semi-Homemade Enchilada Sauce again: http://www.cheap-bastid-cooks.com/semi-homemade-enchilada-sauce
The Cheap Bastid Test: So did this meet the “cheap” requirement? Pretty much. The left over turkey meat originally cost $1/lb on the bone so figure about $1.75. The enchilada sauce costs $1.83 (according to my last post) and a dozen tortillas are about $1. Add another $1.50 for the cheese (I buy it for about $2.75/lb already shredded at Costco) and maybe another $1 for green onions, tomato and sour cream. Total: Right at $7. This fed 3 people generous dinner portions and was enough for lunch for 2 the next day. Three dinners and 2 lunches in a Mexican restaurant would set you back about $45.
The other thing to remember is that if you do this with roast pork or roast beef, that the meat can do “double duty.” Plan your meat purchase so that you can have a roast beef or pork dinner with enough left-over for enchiladas. You can cook the roast beef or pork, shred it and then freeze it for when you want to make enchiladas or BBQ sandwiches, etc. That stretches your food budget farther, reduces waste and increases taste!
That’s the Cheap Bastid Way: Eat Good. Eat Cheap. Be Grateful!