Monday, November 26, 2018

The Whole Enchilada

It seems that being a mom of a middle schooler is more demanding of my time than anticipated.  I've still been cooking, of course, but finding time for pix and writing has been a challenge.  But, I'm here now, so let's talk about Mexican food.

I'm willing to bet that Mexican is the most popular cuisine in America.  Everybody loves Mexican. Chances are that you have taco shells in your cabinet, cans of refried beans in your pantry and tortillas in your fridge.  Like everybody, so do I.  It's great to have these staples on hand, especially for those hectic week nights when you can whip up some tacos in the blink of an eye.

One of our favorites is enchiladas.  The beautiful thing is that they really aren't hard to make, you can create a filling out of anything and they freeze beautifully.  While canned sauce is convenient, I'm here to tell you that it's soooooo much better if you make it yourself.  (Refried beans too, but another time!) My daughter often finds the canned enchilada sauces too spicy, so making my own solves that problem.  And it's has a few steps, but they aren't difficult and the result is so worth your while.

 Place about 8 dried guajillo peppers in a saucepan.  Cover with water and bring to a boil.  Then, turn off the heat and let the chiles soak for about 45 minutes.

Then, you remove the stems and split them open to remove the seeds.  The seeds need to go because since they were dried, they are hard and yucky.  You don't want hard and yucky in your sauce.

Save the soaking liquid.  It is like liquid amber.

Next, place your chiles in the blender with a cup of the soaking liquid and give them a good whirl.  You want to let it run for a minute or two so that the skins get finely ground.  Then, strain the puree, using a spoon to press on the solids to get all the chile puree that you can.  Rinse your blender with another cup of the soaking liquid, then pour it over the solids in your sieve.  Press some more, then discard the solids. 

Heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium heat, add 1 garlic clove, halved.  When the garlic becomes fragrant, discard. Add 1 Tbsp flour to the garlic oil and cook for about a minute.  Next, add the guajillo puree to the roux and mix well.

This is 3/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp oregano, 1/4 tsp cumin and 1/4 tsp of garlic powder. Add these spices, along with 1 tsp white vinegar to the sauce.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce becomes slightly thickened.  Taste it and adjust salt to your taste. That's it.  Homemade enchilada sauce.  I use this sauce for my tamales as well.  

So, why is it so great to make your own?  First, it's easy.  Second, it's inexpensive.  Dried chiles are not a pricey item and you can even find them at places like Wal-Mart, if you're willing to sacrifice your humanity and enter a Wal-Mart, that is.  The rest of the ingredients are in your kitchen right now.  And third, it simply tastes so much better than the canned product.  No added sugar or excessive salt either. Give it a try and you'll find yourself doing the macarena right in your kitchen because you are so excited and pleased with yourself!  Ole!


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