Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Megastore recommends.

1. Enchiladas.  This afternoon I got a text from running son--now college son, yep!: "Are we eating dinner tonight?" Because I am a mother, I was able to intuit from this text that he wanted to know, really: "Are you cooking something tonight?" I will leave it to you to discern the subtext of the subtext. But happily the answer was yes. Yes: I was planning to make enchiladas.

a dramatic reenactment of my enchiladas.
This involved a little trip in the car, once I got home from school and changed out of my footkiller shoes, a trip that involved a small roundabout to Old Navy, after which I was planning to go to the store to get corn tortillas and whatnot. Maybe some replacement potato chips for the ones we had recently finished. But by the time I was finished at Old Navy, I thought, I don't need to go to the store--I'll just make them with flour tortillas. Yeah. 

And that worked out great. I chopped vegetables galore (zucchini, scallop squash, a long thin eggplant, red onion, a poblano pepper) and shredded some chicken (for the chicken eaters, or eater). I made the sauce. And I slapped that all together enchilada style, threw some grated cheese on the top (inside too), and decorated the vegetable enchiladas with a few remaining chopped vegetables and the chicken enchiladas with a little bit of shredded chicken. They were so very good, but I also have a few notes, and further recommendations, to offer. I also recommend

this is a picture of enchilada sauce that is even fancier than mine.
2. Enchilada sauce. Now let me just say a few words about a venerable recipe. I learned to make enchilada sauce the first time from The Joy of Cooking. It was tomato-based. It was good. I liked it. But one time I was visiting my friend George, who lived with his lovely wife Maureen on the Oregon coast. He taught me that enchilada sauce was not a tomato-based production; rather, it was chile-based, a chile-flavored thickened broth. Once I learned it--he made it and I took notes--my enchilada making has never been the same.

This sauce! You need a chile powder of medium heat, preferably fresh. It's good if you have cumin and coriander to add to the spice mix. I use olive oil (so did George), and a little onion, and I thicken the roux with a little flour, then add the broth and let it cook down a little. You can add Mexican chocolate, with a light hand, and you get a slightly darker flavor. It's so good! I treasure this recipe, and love thinking about watching George make enchiladas (one more word: pepitas. Try them in the bottom of the pan and in the enchilada itself. You won't be sorry.). And finally, I recommend

Texmati rice. Before it's cooked in the sauce pan.
3. Cooking the rice in the sauce pot. Does this seem a little lazy and maybe a little trashy? Well, regardless, I recommend it. Once you've made your enchilada sauce, and you've assembled your enchiladas and they are in the oven baking, you have a pan with the remains of the sauce clinging to the bottom and sides. You could wash out that pan before you cook rice. But why waste the last of the sauce? If you cook the rice in the same pan with the sauce still in there, your rice will be redolent of that most delicious sauce, and it will be a lovely chili color. Do it!

When the historian came in, the enchiladas were done, as was the rice. The house smelled heavenly. Like the most delicious food ever, enchiladas.


  1. I would like to see a dramatic reenactment of the historian coming home, putting his hat on the hat rack, his briefcase on the desk, taking a deep cleansing breath of enchilada pheromones, and calling out, "Honey, I'm home!"

  2. I like to buy enchiladas. :) But I also love enchilada sauce, which is awesome to make with chiles bought at the farmers market...

  3. Yes and yes. I prefer flour tortillas with my enchiladas. And I prefer a chile-based enchilada sauce. So. I agree with you and your cooking ways. As usual.


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