Those of you who know me know I’m kind of a sucker for Mexican food. Or Southwestern. Or Tex-Mex. When I saw these old school Tex-Mex type enchiladas pop up in an email from the New York Times, I was all over it. Enchiladas con Carne from El Real Tex-Mex in Houston.
I can imagine Enchiladas con Carne like this being served for decades down in Texas. The kind of meaty, cheesy comfort food cowboys and tourists alike would go for. And talk about going for it – my Dad was in heaven…he would have liked them hotter but we’ve amassed a whole collection of hot sauce just for him.
You’ll want to break out the beans (doctor up a can of refrieds if you want to) and rice (this recipe is excellent) for this meal, your favorite salsas and hot sauces, and what the heck, why not have a Margarita while you’re at it.
I’ve made this recipe a few times now (yeah, it was that good) but there were a few things I changed from the original. For one, the recipe had way too much flour and the simmering time was way off. I shortened it up a bit, but like any chili, it still takes a bit of time and like any enchilada, they still require quite a bit of work.
The one step that you shouldn’t skip is “conditioning” the tortillas. There’s a lot of comments on the NYT site about short cutting this – if you want enchiladas that are crispy and golden on the ends, soft and chewy in the center and that don’t crack, get soggy or fall apart, stick with the recipe.
And if you’re worried about dieting and fat, for goodness sakes, choose a healthier recipe – removing the bit of oil to condition these tortillas is not going to make this much healthier. As you can see in my pics, I’ve tried several different cheeses – just like Sam Sifton from the Times said, go with the Velveeta on the top. Yeah. Seriously.
Do shop carefully for your ground beef and watch for specials on cheese. Cheese can be chucked in the freezer where it keeps well for recipes like this, but can get crumbly and isn’t so good for just eating. If you have a Mexican market nearby, you can’t go wrong with picking up your tortillas much fresher and cheaper than at the grocery store. Consider doubling the Chile con Carne portion of the recipe and freezing half for another batch, later.
Enchiladas con Carne
For the Chili con Carne:
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 pound ground chuck beef, ideally 20 percent fat
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 medium white onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 jalapeño pepper or more to taste, seeds removed if you want it less spicy, stemmed and chopped
- 1 cup chopped or canned crushed tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons chile powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano, ideally Mexican
- 2 cups chicken stock, ideally homemade or low-sodium if store-bought; may need more
Prepare the chili con carne: Put flour in a large sauté pan set over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to turn golden brown and smell nutty, then pour it onto a plate to cool.
Wipe out sauté pan add ground beef to pan, and cook over medium high heat, breaking it up with a fork (or tomato masher), stirring until it is well browned, about 12 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then use a slotted spoon to remove meat to a bowl, leaving drippings behind.
Add onion, garlic and jalapeño to pan and cook, stirring to scrape up any browned bits of meat, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until vegetables are soft. Stir in tomatoes and cook until their liquid has evaporated, then add chile powder, cumin and oregano and stir to combine. After a minute or so, when mixture begins to turn fragrant, return browned meat to pan, along with toasted flour, and stir well to combine.
Lower heat to medium-high and slowly stir in chicken stock, 1/2 cup at a time, until mixture has thickened and started to simmer. Lower heat again and allow chili to cook slowly for twenty minutes to a 1/2 an hour, until meat is tender. Add more stock or water if needed. Use immediately, or let cool, cover and refrigerate for up to a few days. Freezes well.
For the Enchiladas:
- ½ cup neutral oil, like canola
- 12 yellow corn tortillas
- 3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, or 1 1/2 cups Cheddar cheese for the filling and 1 1/2 cups American cheese, like Velveeta, for the top
- 1 medium-size white onion, peeled and chopped (optional)
When you are ready to cook the enchiladas, heat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium sauté pan set over medium-high heat, heat 1/2 cup neutral oil until it begins to shimmer. Using tongs or a wide spatula, place a tortilla in the hot fat; it should start to bubble immediately. Heat tortilla for about 10 seconds a side, until soft and lightly browned. Remove tortilla and set on a rack set over a baking pan, or just on a baking pan if you don’t have a rack. Repeat with remaining tortillas, working quickly.
Assemble the enchiladas: Using a ladle, put about 1/2 cup chili in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and spread it out a little. Roll a few tablespoons of cheese into each tortilla, along with a tablespoon or so of chili, then place it seam-side down in the pan, nestling each one against the last. Ladle remaining chili over top of rolled tortillas and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Transfer to oven and bake until sauce bubbles and cheese is melted, about 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle chopped onions over the top, if using, and serve immediately.
recipe slightly adapted from the New York Times
|Amount Per Serving|
|% Daily Value *|
|Total Fat 34 g||52 %|
|Saturated Fat 13 g||67 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 4 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g|
|Trans Fat 0 g|
|Cholesterol 101 mg||34 %|
|Sodium 2045 mg||85 %|
|Potassium 97 mg||3 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 41 g||14 %|
|Dietary Fiber 52 g||209 %|
|Sugars 8 g|
|Protein 30 g||60 %|
|Vitamin A||26 %|
|Vitamin C||15 %|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|