Post # 67 Enchilada Casserole

November 5, 2012 at 10:48 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post # 67 Enchilada Casserole

Got a lesson in creativity this weekend that I wanted to pass along.  We were all in the mood for some good Mexican food.  We decided to have enchilada since we hadn’t had them for a long time.  FiL wasn’t going to be eating them since his gums are still tender from his new teeth, so I decided to make a lot and freeze some.

It starts out quite easily.  I chunked up a some stew beef and browned it in a dutch oven over medium-high heat with a tablespoon of vegetable oil.  I browned the meat in batches, being careful not to crowd the meat so it would brown and not steam.  Once all the meat was done, I added another tablespoon of oil and turned the heat down to medium-low.  I added a cup of chopped onion and cooked until they were just starting to sweat, about two minutes.  I then added some chopped (not minced) garlic and cooked for another 30 seconds until the garlic was starting to release its aroma but not burn.  I added a tablespoon of soy sauce and three tablespoons of tomato paste.  I stirred and cooked until it was bubbly, then added one tablespoon of kosher salt, 1 tablespoon of ground cumin, 1/4 tsp of cayenne, 1/2 tsp of black pepper, and 1/2 tsp of paprika to give it a little smokiness.  I stirred that around until it “bloomed” which means to release its flavors and scent into the sauce.  I added a can of chopped tomatoes although you can use a can of tomato sauce instead and brought the whole thing to a bubbly stage again.  I then added a small can of chopped green chiles and a cup of white wine.  You can use red wine but since I had tomato paste and soy sauce, I chose to go lighter so the flavor wouldn’t overpower the sauce.  I stirred to mix thoroughly and brought it back to its bubbly stage again then added the meat and all meat juices that had collected in the bowl.  I covered the pot and brought it to a boil, then reduced the heat so it maintained a simmer.  I stirred about every half hour to keep things from sticking.  After two hours, I turned the heat off but left the pot alone for another hour.

Once the meat and sauce had cooled enough, I spooned the meat out into a fine mesh strainer over a bowl.  I had to work in batches since there was quite a bit.  To make certain I got every bit of sauce, I used the spoon I was taking the meat out of the pot with and mashed the meat, breaking it apart and getting all the sauce.  I put the meat into another bowl.  Once all the meat was drained, I strained the sauce still in the pot through the mesh strainer, also making certain to get all the sauce out of the vegetables left behind.  Those vegetables were added to the bowl of meat.  I was left with a bowl of highly flavored enchilada sauce and a bowl of meat and vegetable filling.  I turned the oven on to 350 and set about to assemble my enchiladas.

[Here’s how to make enchiladas.  I did not make them for this dish.  Heat several corn tortillas in the microwave so they are pliable.  Spread a half cup of sauce on the bottom of a baking dish that will hold twelve rolled enchiladas.  Spread 1/3 cup of filling in each corn tortilla one at a time.  Roll the tortilla tightly around the filling and place in baking dish seam side down.  When the baking dish is full spread enough sauce over the top of the enchiladas so all tortillas are lightly coated.  Spread grated cheddar cheese over the top of the enchiladas evenly.  Cover tightly with foil and bake for twenty to twenty-five minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for twenty to thirty minutes more so cheese is brown and crusty.  Cool for ten minutes, then serve with refried beans and rice.]

Then partner/spouse suggested making a casserole similar to lasagne.  It sounded so much easier than what I’d been planning that I immediatly changed plans in mid-stream.  Discussing it with partner/spouse, I cut the corn tortillas in halves.  Using two 8×8 baking dishes, I sprayed them with cooking spary, then I put 1/3 cup of enchilada sauce evenly over the bottom of the dishes.  I place four pieces of tortilla in the bottom with the cut sides facing the edges so they fit properly and the curved sides filled the middle of the baking dishes.  Then I spread a half-cup of meat filling evenly over the tortillas and spread another half-cup of sauce over all.  I spread a half-cup of grated cheddar cheese evenly over it all, then placed another layer of tortilla and built up until each pan was full.  The top layer was just tortilla, sauce, and cheese making certain that the sauce covered every part of the tortilla so it wouldn’t dry out.

Then I baked it at 350 for twenty minutes covered by foil.  I removed the foil and baked for an additional thirty minutes to make the cheese brown and crusty.  I let it cool for ten minutes and served it up!

The creative part was taking one traditional dish, beef enchiladas and making a different dish, beef enchilada casserole.  Used the same ingredients but a different technique, layering instead of rolling.  Overall, it was quite a tasty dish and I was able to make two and freeze one.

Enjoy!

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