#1 – 48 Recipe Challenge: Recipe 20 – Red Enchiladas with Homemade Flour Tortillas
This month’s recipe was inspired by my recent visit to Mexico, partly because I’ve never cooked Mexican food from scratch (I don’t think an Old El Paso Fajita kit counts) and also because I’ve certainly never made flour tortillas. I’d enjoyed red enchiladas in a restaurant whilst I was out there so it seemed a good choice.
The sauce was made up of some great Mexican ingredients: fresh tomatoes, garlic, chilli, coriander and onions – chopped, blitzed in a food processor then fried off to cook before sour cream was added. Apart from having to skin and deseed the tomatoes, which is never a job I like, this was straightforward. The sauce ended up rather pinker than I had expected but never mind.
The filling was chorizo – easy to slice and fry. Then came the more tricky bit; the tortillas. It was a bit like making pastry to start with – rub a quantity of fat into some flour and then add water to bring it together. The difference was that the proportion of fat to flour was very low. Once the dough had rested, it became very elastic.
In Mexico they make the tortillas in a tortilla press, but as I didn’t have one of those to hand I had to roll mine out. They rolled relatively easily and very thinly but that was when I ran into trouble. Normally at this point you’d just fry the tortillas but this recipe suggested coating them in the sauce before frying them. Disaster! Because they were so thin, the sauce made them heavy. They split then bunched up in the pan, making them rather thick and doughy.
Oooops! After that, I decided instead to fry them dry and coat them with sauce afterwards, which was much more successful. Whilst cooking they even puffed up a little bit, as they as supposed to:
With all the tortillas cooked, it was a simple case of filling them with the chorizo, arranging them in a baking dish, covering with the sauce and grated parmesan then baking. I was a bit disappointed with the ratio of sauce to tortillas so if I made this again I’d probably double the quantity of sauce.
Despite the paucity of sauce, they were still very tasty and authentically Mexican. I had thought about replacing the fresh tomatoes with tinned but this would have changed both the flavour and texture of the dish so despite the faff of skinning and deseeding, I think this does need to stay. I found that the tortillas hardened as they cooled, but baking them softened them up again so they tasted great in the finished dish. I just had to work quickly to coat them in the sauce, fill them and roll them before they became too crispy. Making the tortillas was actually quite fun too!
Scores for this one are:
Ease of prep – 5/10 (firstly, skinning and deseeding tomatoes is a pain and secondly between the sauce, filling and tortillas themselves there was a lot of washing up)
Flavour/taste – 9/10 (a real taste of Mexico and very good to eat. With a greater quantity of sauce this would be a 10)
Healthiness – 4/10 (some of your five a day but a fair bit of oil in the frying)
Both recipes came from one of my cookery books, entitled Best of Mexico from a ‘Cook’s Library’ collection. The ingredients and basic methods are listed below:
Tortillas (makes about 14):
225g plain flour
15g vegetable fat (I used margarine)
Rub the fat into the flour and salt and gradually add water to bring together. Cover with a cloth and rest for 15 minutes. Divide the dough into 14 portions and roll each out on a floured board. Cook each tortilla in a frying pan for about two minutes on either side. Don’t allow to over brown. Keep warm until required. (If you don’t keep them warm they become hard and crispy).
Red Enchiladas (serves 6):
Chopped Chili (to taste, I used one)
450g fresh tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1tbsp fresh coriander
250ml soured cream
4 chorizo sausages, skinned and chopped
18 fresh tortillas
50g grated Parmesan
Process the chilies, onion, garlic, tomato and coriander in a food processor. Heat some oil in a frying pan and add the puree. Stir and cook on a low heat for 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and and stir in the soured cream. Remove from the heat. In a different pan, heat some oil and fry the chorizo until lightly brown. Add some of the sauce and set aside. Fry each tortilla gently, then coat in the sauce. Slide onto a plate, top with the chorizo and roll up. Pack into a baking dish in a single layer. Pour over the sauce, sprinkle with Parmesan and bake for 20 minutes at 180 degrees C (Gas mark 4).