Friday, September 19, 2014

Sonoran Enchiladas Chatas(Flat Enchiladas)


San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico
Corn Tortillas are just corn, water, sea salt, and lime so one wonders why different brands are so different from each other. Freshness has to be a major factor. I find smelling the package is a good tell. If the aroma smells wonderful, it will taste wonderful. If making any dish where the tortilla figures prominently like enchiladas or tacos, getting a perfect result must start with a perfect tortilla. I bought masa and a metal press with the thought that I would make my own. Fortunately, I discovered a “Mercado” that makes them daily for sale.

Flat enchiladas are very popular in Sonoran Mexico, Arizona and New Mexico where they are also called enchiladas montadasor (mounted) and may be topped with one or more fried egg.  In this recipe, there is A great sauce will make a great enchilada. The sauce can be made a day, week, or months ahead of time and kept frozen until needed.

You may assemble these with no frying, then the enchiladas would be quicker to prepare and have fewer calories. That being said, dipping the tortillas in the sauce and frying them briefly (20 seconds) in oil on each side not only locks in a better flavor but makes them taste richer. This practice of coating the tortillas in sauce first before frying is most common in Mexico. To be frank, it is easier to fry the tortillas first in oil, and stack them until needed than in sauce first, keeping them handy until they are needed. It is also less messy

Ingredients for one serving:
            4 Tablespoons Enchiladas Sauce II, warmed (see below)
3 White corn tortillas
2 tablespoons chopped Vidalia onions, sauted in butter until just clear
4 Tablespoons white melting cheese such as Queso Fresco or Monterey Jack


Once assembly is complete, cook in a 350 F oven until bubbly hot. (Use a potholder to handle the hot plate.)
 
Garnish
Chopped iceberg lettuce with tomatoes slices, tossed in a vinaigrette
Roasted Mexican onions
Chopped green onions
Slices of fanned avacado
Chopped cilantro
Fried eggs (sunny side up) if desired.

Assemble the enchiladas: Place 1 tablespoon of enchilada sauce on a microwave/oven safe plate and top with a fried tortilla. Spoon over tablespoon of enchilada sauce. Sprinkle with cheese, sauted onions and add next tortilla, add more sauce and cheese. Top with last tortilla, follow by another tablespoon of enchilada sauce then follow with more cheese. Prepare several servings and bake in 350 F oven until cheese well melted. Usually 20~30 minutes.)

Let rest one minute, then garnish plate with Chili toreados, roasted Mexican onions, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado slices, scallions, chopped cilantro, and optionally, one or more fried eggs.

Enchiladas Sauce II (Chile Rojo)
To control the amount of heat, use more mild New Mexico powder than other varieties. To make a hotter variety, mix both hot and mild New Mexico chile powder. This recipe makes for a sweeter result than starting with whole dried peppers and is faster to prepare.
1 Teaspoon Ancho powder
1 Teaspoon Aji Amarillo powder
1 Teaspoon Guajillo powder
Teaspoon sweet paprika (or smoked pimenton)
1 Teaspoon of mild or hot New Mexico ground chile pow­der
2 Cups homemade rich chicken bone stock
2 Cloves minced garlic
5 Tablespoons lard (rendered pork fat) (Manteca rendered from good pork fat)
5 Tablespoons white all-purpose flour
2 Bay leaf
Pinch Mexican oregano(Lippia berlandieri)
1/2 Cup sour cream or more, as needed
Salt
Optional, pinch or two of sugar as required - see text
Optional, 1~2 teaspoon powdered quality beef bouillon (to taste)


Melt lard, then make a roux by blending the pork fat and flour, and cook it on low until it is a pale brown color. Remove from heat. Whisk in chili powders, garlic and oregano over very low heat, add chicken stock, and garlic. Simmer for 1 hours with a couple of optional bay leaves, adding more chicken stock as needed. Taste the sauce for hotness, and if not spicy enough, add more ground HOT chili powder. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add beef bouillon to taste. Correct salt and add a smidge of sugar and sourcream as required. The amount of sugar should NOT be per­ceptible and is used to just take any bitter edge off. Salt will also help moderate the biter undertones. The sourcream serves to mellow the sauce. The key is taste, correct the seasonings as a last touch. Remove bay leaves when sauce has finished simmering.

Garnish using Mexican onions, Grilled Jalapenos (toreados), avocado



















Notes:
1. The Guajillo is one of the most common and popular chiles grown and used in Mexico. It is mild to moderately hot, and has dark, reddish brown, leathery skin. The peppers range from 3-5 inches in length and are 1 inch wide. They are said to have either a green-tea flavor or fruity flavor, with hints of berries.
2. An ancho is a dried poblano chile. It has a mild to medium heat with a sweet fruity flavor with hints of cherry, prune, and fig.
3. “Amarillo” is the Spanish word for yellow, and “Ají” is the term for chile in South America, this pepper is also appropriately known as the “yellow chile.” The Ají Amarillo is grown in all areas of Peru. Used by the Incas, it is still the most common and popular chile in that country. It may be said that is it possibly the most important ingredient in Peruvian cooking. It grows to about 4-5 inches in length, and despite its name, it actually matures to a deep orange. Like other chiles from this area, the Amarillo has a fruity, berry-like flavor.
4. If freezing sauce, do not add sourcream.
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