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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Intro

I love food. I’m 29 years old, I’ve been cooking most of my life, and I would love to start a comfort food restaurant.

However, my dream of being a restaurateur is being threatened by my recent decision to go raw. I made the decision to transition to a raw diet a few weeks ago, after the documentary Food Matters sparked my interest in the subject. I’m not a hippie animal rights activist [I don’t have an emotional attachment to animals]. So I began doing research on the diet and discovered this is something I NEED to do. The logic is air tight and so rudimentary. But, as with any diet, concept and compliance are two very different things. I had no trouble understanding why Raw would help me, but I quickly discovered the hurdles associated with implementing the diet into my daily routine. Not to mention how it would affect my dream of owning a restaurant based entirely on fatty, greasy, cheesy comfort foods.

In my research I discovered a transitional diet for people looking to break into the raw diet game. “Raw before 4,” which, simply stated, means eat nothing but raw food before 4:00pm every day (in case that wasn’t obvious). This has been a perfect solution for my lifestyle right now. It gives me an opportunity to transition to a raw diet while still giving me the freedom to cook and consume my delicious comfort food in the evenings.

Not to go without conflict, I realize that at some point I will have a moral conflict when it comes to serving food specifically designed to be terrible for people, while simultaneously subscribing to a life of healthy raw food, myself.

This is a blog about my transition. Lots of not-so-healthy recipes, mixed with information and recipes for the raw lifestyle. I highly encourage everyone to add significantly more raw foods into their diet. I would never advise anyone to eat the foods I cook on a regular basis. Even if it means crazy amounts of success for me. That’s not how I want to earn a living.

Everyone is responsible for their own choices. In the age of information, ignorance is a choice. My duty here is to share my knowledge of the raw lifestyle. If you choose to adopt it, great. If not, I have some awesome comfort food recipes for you 😉

 

-Eric