Enchiladas are made in both Mexico and the States, but their similarity stops at their name and the fact that they’re rolled tortillas filled with stuff. While Mexican enchiladas are made by dipping the tortillas in sauce, frying them, and filling them only with meat, the Tex-Mex versions are filled with cheese or meat and topped with lots more sauce (a.k.a. gravy) and cheese. This Tex-Mex-style recipe was a big hit here at CHOW.
Game plan: If 24 enchiladas are too many for you to consume at once, just save some for later. Make the enchiladas through step 3, then cover with plastic wrap and aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 weeks. To finish, heat the oven to 350°F, uncover the enchiladas and place in the oven while still cold or frozen, and bake until the cheese is melted and the centers are warm, about 20 minutes for the refrigerated enchiladas or 40 minutes if frozen.
3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 10 ounces)
1 cupvegetable oil
24 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 cup finely chopped white onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Evenly coat the bottom of two 13-by-9-inch baking dishes with 1 cup of the gravy each. Mix the cheeses together in a large bowl until evenly combined, and line a baking sheet with paper towels; set aside.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking, about 5 minutes. Test the oil temperature by carefully dipping the edge of a tortilla in the oil—it should bubble vigorously. Once the oil is hot, use a metal spatula to carefully submerge the tortillas one at a time until bubbles form around each, about 5 to 10 seconds. Flip and fry an additional 5 seconds or until the edges of each tortilla are slightly crisp but not browned. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, separating the layers with paper towels.
Blot the tortillas with paper towels to soak up any excess oil, then fill each with 2 heaping tablespoons of the cheese mixture and 2 teaspoons onion. Roll to enclose the filling and set the tortillas in the baking dishes, seam side down, placing 12 enchiladas in each dish. Evenly distribute the remaining 1 cup gravy over both baking dishes and top with the remaining 2 1/2 cups cheese.
Bake until the enchiladas are hot and bubbly, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool about 10 minutes before serving.
Beverage pairing:Pyramid Hefeweizen, Washington state. A light, bright wheat beer such as this will help heavy Tex-Mex like these enchiladas go down more easily and sit more comfortably once you’ve eaten. The beer isn’t going to be a major force, taste-wise, but its buoyancy and texture are perfect.