Tex Mex Enchiladas

I’ve been slowly working through my menu lately and decided to start on some of my Tex Mex items as they inexplicably appeal to me more than other items.

I started with my Tex Mex enchiladas: cheese enchiladas with grilled onions and roasted hatch chiles. Emily bought me a few hatch chiles from Whole Foods and they were starting to lose some of their vibrant green liveliness, so I decided they needed to be roasted and utilized posthaste. So I did.

 

PREP: I grilled the onions to a rich brown color while I roasted the hatch chiles in the broiler. After sweating the chiles in aluminum foil, I diced it up and set it aside for assembly. I then lightly fried 13 white corn tortillas (the precise amount needed to fill my 9×13 pan) in canola oil, and layered them with napkins to keep them crisp until they were needed.

ASSEMBLY: I poured a can of store-bought enchilada sauce into a pie pan (made the most sense for easy access), and used it to submerge the warm tortillas. Once thoroughly coated, I transfered them, one at a time, to the 9×13 pan where I filled them. I waffled on whether to use real cheese or velveeta, and ended up settling for velveeta (i regret this decision, explained below). I bought a small box of velveeta (which was still $5), and sliced it into 1/4″ slices, which I then again sliced in half, longways, giving me two strips of cheese. I laid them end-to-end in the center of the marinated tortilla, topped it with grilled onions and roasted hatch chiles, then rolled the tortilla, placing it seam-side down. I repeated this 12 more times until my pan was full. Took about 10 minutes or so.

After the pan was full of beautiful enchiladas, I poured the remaining enchilada sauce over the top, along with the remaining hatch chiles, grilled onions, and velveeta (torn into pieces for distribution purposes).

COOK: I baked the enchiladas at 350°F for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese had melted and the sauce began to boil at the edges.

REVIEW: Too much fake cheese. Too much enchilada sauce. The whole thing turned into a soft, chile con queso mush. The flavor was great, but the texture and structure and balance was way off. I couldn’t even taste the onions, and the hatch chiles were incredibly hot for hatch chiles. It was uncomfortably spicy, and the fake cheese was overpoweringly fake tasting.

REVISION IDEAS: Fill them with real cheese; Monterrey Jack or colby, or colby jack. I think topping them with the velveeta would still work though. Don’t add the remaining enchilada sauce, or onions or hatch chiles to the top. Maybe add bacon inside the enchiladas for some smokey saltiness? Definitely remove the seeds from the Hatch chiles.

RATING: ★★★☆☆
It definitely has potential, and everyone who ate it seemed to enjoy it (if they could handle the heat). I just know it could be improved in a lot of ways.

 

[revised] Tex Mex Enchiladas Recipe:

13 white corn tortillas (or whatever fits your pan)
1 c. canola oil for frying
16oz colby jack cheese
2 hatch chiles, roasted, peeled, and diced
one medium white onion, diced
1-15oz can enchilada sauce (or your own recipe)
4 oz velveeta, cubed
Prepared spanish rice
Refried Black Beans

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F and roast hatch chiles under broiler, then wrap in foil to sweat for 10-15 minutes. Set aside. Cube Velveeta, and cut colby jack into 1/2″ slices.

2. Add diced white onion to non-stick pan, and cook over medium-high heat. As the onions begin to brown and stick to the pan, add a splash of cold water, and let them cook until the onions are brown, translucent and tender. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

3. Pour enchilada sauce into a bowl and set aside. Heat oil in small saucepan on medium heat to 350°F. Add tortillas one at a time, frying for 20-30 seconds per side. Transfer to a napkin to drain. Layer napkins with fried tortillas until all are cooked.

4. Remove the skin, seeds, and veins from your sweated hatch chiles, then dice.

5. Transfer cooked tortillas, one at a time, to enchilada sauce, completely coating both sides. Transfer to 9×13″ pan and fill each with 2 strips of colby jack, roughly 1 Tbsp each of roasted hatch chiles and grilled onions. Roll and put into position in the pan. Repeat for the remaining tortillas.

6. Brush the tops of the enchiladas with remaining enchilada sauce (Just enough to keep the tops from drying out. Don’t flood the pan unless you want soggy, mushy enchiladas), and dot the tops of the enchiladas with the cubed velveeta (and hatch chiles/onions if you have extra).

7. Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, or until the velveeta is completely melted, top with shredded colby jack and serve immediately with rice and beans.

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