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Alert: the enchiladas in the recipe I posted aren't rolled at all. You simply lay the fried/sauced tortilla in the baking pan, fill it with the chicken/onion/cheese, and fold it in half. The fold stays toward the bottom of the pan, the open edges are facing up. It's way easier than rolling them.

 

The purpose of frying the tortillas prior to saucing them is to soften them, not to crisp them. If you allow them to fry for more than a brief moment, they will be too crunchy to fold, even after they're sauced.

 

These don't fall apart, they don't get mealy, and to be at their peak they should be prepared just prior to baking and not held in the refrigerator or freezer.

 

I know it's hard to do this kind of prep after a long day at work. The prep for the chicken and the prep for the sauce can easily be done a day or so ahead. However, if we're talking about authenticity in food preparation, it's important to remember that even today, many Mexicans don't have refrigeration. My friends in Michoacán who gave me this recipe don't own a refrigerator, a gas or electric stove, or an indoor oven. They still cook on the old-style clay stove that burns leña (firewood), or bake in the clay beehive oven outside. When Celia's sister wants to make tamales, she steams them over a wood fire built in an old oil drum in her 'outside kitchen'--a lean-to. Several years ago when I was there for a visit, a friend and I installed a plug for a blender in the indoor kitchen. My friend clapped her hands together, looked gratefully toward heaven, and exclaimed, "Look, we're all modern now!"

 

I'm not suggesting that we run out and find an oil drum or build a beehive oven in the backyard. But...there are times when the old ways are the best ways, and in the case of this recipe, I vote for old times.

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Enough of this sitting around watching telenovelas and licking cajeta from a spoon! It's time to get back to the cocina, muchachos.   There are probably as many enchilada recipes in Mexico as there

Uh oh. I'm pretty sure they're pickled. If they're pickled, could I use dried? I have some dried jalapenos I could use. They're not whole, though.   It sucks living in Japan sometimes! (But mo

What kind of tortillas do you all think are best for enchiladas?

hidalgobarbacoatortilla.jpg

I'm in agreement with you on this one. Homemade tortillas are problematic because of their thickness and absorbency. You have to make a major effort to press the tortillas thinly enough that they can be rolled without breaking. And, even then, the more absorbent tortilla soaks up more lard in the frying stage (making it unpleasantly greasy) and sauce in the baking stage (making it soggy or mushy).

 

Your average corn tortilla from a local manufacturer will do the job much better. It's also faster and easier.

 

Scott

Unless you are lucky enough to live in Mexico or in a neighborhood where there is a small scale tortilleria, going to one of the local markets like Fiesta, Danal's, La Michoacana, (these are here in Texas), etc and buying a bag of machine made corn tortillas fresh and steaming in the bag is probably the best way to go. If you are bound and determined to make fresh ones at home, wrap them in a towel and leave them overnight. The 'pores' will close up a bit and if you give them a second whirl on a hot griddle, they will hold up much better.

 

I personally suspect that the absorbency problem Scott mentions is why in Mexico you typically see enchiladas dipped into the sauce and quarter-folded like crepes. The chicken, more sauce, onions, crema, etc. is then scattered on top of the 3, 4, or 5 quarter folded, overlapped enchiladas.

 

Theabroma

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if the tortillas are relatively fresh, and foldable, is the oil step necessary at all?

You don't have to do the oil step, especially if the tortillas are fresh and pliable. Dipping them into the sauce softens them well enough to roll or fold. And of course, enchiladas in the northern Mexican states are often stacked, in which case they don't have to be pliable at all.

 

So I've left out the oil dip when I was on health kicks. But the sad truth is that they simply are not as good. It's really not even close.

 

Why don't you make half the pan with the oil dip and the other half without. That way you can compare side by side.

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Guest Bella S.F.

A question about the tomatillo sauce... Recipes always say to boil the tomatillos. When I make salsa verde, I char them in a cast iron skillet. I think that it gives them more flavor. Could the chiles and the tomatillos be chared for this recipe? Actually, why do recipes always say to boil tomatillos??

 

Thanks!

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I was told that the reason for boiling the tomatillos is to make it easier to peel them and to cook them slightly, but mostly for the peeling, somewhat like blanching regular tomatoes so that they can be peeled easily. In the past, I've usually cheated and bought Herdez salsa or Herdez tomatillos, even though tomatillos are readily available here, and there are plenty of tortillarias around here. I'm always shocked if I find myself in a place that does not have a tortillaria - it just doesn't seem civilized.

 

BTW, here is how I poach chicken for enchiladas:

 

Mexican Poached Chicken

 

Ingredients:

 

1 chicken

4-6 cups water (enough to almost cover the chicken)

2 lemons, sliced

2 oranges, sliced (optional)

1 onion, coarsely choped

8 cloves garlic

3-4 stalks of celery, coarsely chopped

2-3 Serrano peppers (optional), coarsely chopped, seeds removed

3 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp oregano

 

Directions:

 

Wash the chicken and leave whole. Place the some lemon and orange slices inside the chicken cavity and place in stockpot. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the oregano, and bring to a boil on high heat. Put the oregano in a teaball or bouquet garni and add to the pot. Reduce the heat to simmer and allow to cook covered for one hour.

 

After one hour, turn off heat and allow the pot to stand covered for about 30 minutes more while the chicken continues to cook. Strain off the liquid and reserve.

 

When the chicken is cool enough (you can refrigerate it at this point), remove all the meat for future use. Save the bones and discard all the rest. The bones can be returned to the stock and boiled for another hour with a new onion and more celery, if desired, to intensify the flavor. I generally cut the large bones in half before doing this.

 

This stock is good for use in tamales or enchilada sauce.

 

*The reason I add orange slices is that I have too many oranges on my tree, and I felt this would be a good use for them.

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When I was on my health kick I tried to not fry the tortillas. I tried steaming them or dipping them into hot chicken stock. In the end, it's better to make something else, I think.

That's a beautiful sentiment, my friend.

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Lars....thanks for adding your method of stewing the chicken. And of course, that meat would be good for anything... It sounds wonderful and I'm gonna try it next time I need some chicken meat.

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I've found myself in possession of a large amount of cooked chicken and am of a mind to make enchiladas. This recipe looks great- I'll go get the tomatillos and fresh tortillas tomorrow. But in the meantime, a question:

 

In a large saucepan, simmer the tomatillos, the chiles, and the garlic until the tomatillos begin to burst open. Some will burst faster than others; take them out of the pan with a slotted spoon as they burst and put them in your blender.

 

The recipe doesn't mention water: is that an omission, or am I meant to put the tomatillos directly in the pot?

 

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I've found myself in possession of a large amount of cooked chicken and am of a mind to make enchiladas. This recipe looks great- I'll go get the tomatillos and fresh tortillas tomorrow. But in the meantime, a question:

 

In a large saucepan, simmer the tomatillos, the chiles, and the garlic until the tomatillos begin to burst open. Some will burst faster than others; take them out of the pan with a slotted spoon as they burst and put them in your blender.

 

The recipe doesn't mention water: is that an omission, or am I meant to put the tomatillos directly in the pot?

 

Not sure exactly who you're asking but I use lightly salted water, just barely to cover. I do take them out of the pan with a slotted spoon and put them into the blender, reserving the water. When I process in the blender, I add some of the cooking water if/as needed to reach the right consistency for the sauce.

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Would using canned tomatillos be a really bad thing? I've got canned tomatillos I have to use, but absolutely no access to fresh.

You'll want to simmer the chiles and garlic (in water, yes) for about 10 minutes before you put the canned tomatillos and chiles in the blender. I'd drain the tomatillos into a bowl first and only add their canning liquid (rather than the chile/garlic cooking water) as necessary to achieve the thickness of sauce you want.

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Thanks! I'm pretty sure I can manage all that (except maybe the chiles. . . will probably have to use canned jalapenos, which means just simmering the garlic).

 

Now I just need to find some corn tortillas!

Wait! If those canned jalapeños are pickled (en escabeche), they won't work. If they're canned in water, they're okay. Make sure, please, before you start...

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