Thursday, March 10, 2011

A-lotta Enchiladas

Last Sunday, Lou's brother, Matthew, was in town. We had a dinner party in his honor and invited several friends over for the evening. We wanted to prepare something that was quick and easy, but would feed 9 or 10 people. Oh, yeah. And The Bean. This kid's appetite is huge these days. Grow, baby, grow.

The entree of the evening was Ree's Simple, Perfect Enchiladas (p. 176). We had made her Sour Cream Enchiladas before and thought this cookbook variation would be a good option. Plus, we were already pros at making Ree's delicious version of enchiladas. Alas, we were humbled. Quickly. Just because you've been successful in preparing the same recipe, or a similar one, does not mean you'll be successful every single time. Huh. Profound.

To accommodate our crowd, we doubled Ree's recipe. We started the sauce with a little canola oil and flour to create a roux.

Next we added five small cans of red enchilada sauce. Chicken broth, salt and pepper were added and brought to a boil.

We left this to simmer. Next we chopped an onion. Part way through the knife chopping, Lou decided her handy-dandy rockin'-awesome Pampered Chef food chopper was necessary.

Jo browned two pounds of beef and added the chopped onion and green chiles.

We allowed this to fully cook. Meanwhile, Lou chopped green onions and cilantro. Ah, the freshness of cilantro. Divine.

Next we heated some vegetable oil in a shallow pan. Yes, we really, really heated the oil. A touch too hot, as we later discovered. Corn tortillas are less pliable than flour tortillas. The purpose of the oil was to soften the tortillas before dipping them into the sauce and also allows for easier folding.

The other problem we experienced was Lou's lack of a good pair of tongs. She had big, plastic salad tongs, but not good corn tortilla tongs. A momentary crisis ensued as one tortilla after another ripped as Lou tried to move them from the oil to the sauce. Ah...ingenuity. Wooden spoons to the rescue. They sufficed quite nicely, actually.

After Lou dipped the tortillas in the sauce, Jo began to fill them with the meat mixture. However, the tortillas were so hot from our hotter-than-Hades-hot oil that Jo burned her fingers trying to roll them. We quickly figured out this was a job for more than just two people. Enter Al. She saved the day - and saved Lou and Jo from going into an existential funk. Fortunately none of the guys in the other room knew their supper was almost lost.

Al quickly assumed the role of sauce and filling liaison. Bless Al. She's wonderful. With her help, we finished dipping, filling and rolling the enchiladas. We did one pan with black olives and one for the olive-averse.

Lou added the chopped cilantro to the remaining sauce. Both pans were happily topped with the sauce and generous amounts of grated sharp cheddar cheese.

The enchiladas had a hot party in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

The results were a success, despite the foibles of the process.

Alongside our enchiladas, Lou whipped up Jo's quick recipe for guacamole.

Jo's Quickly-Gone Guac

6 medium avacadoes
1 can Mexican-style RoTel, drained
salt, to taste
Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce, to taste
lime juice, to taste

Peel each avacado, trashing the pit and removing the flesh into a medium bowl. Use a potato masher to smash the avacadoes to desired texture. Stir in the RoTel. Add several generous pinches of salt and combine. Give the guacamole a good dousing of the Tabasco, shaking it evenly over the top of the mixture. Then add a couple of good splashes of lime juice. Stir to combine. Taste the guacamole with a tortilla chip. Add salt, Tabasco or lime juice to your liking. Enjoy!

Happily full,


  1. Oooo...since he was there, did you put Matthew to work with a camera?? Good call! And I recognize the fabric in Lou's apron!! Love it! Looks like a fun meal and an extra fun time! Hugs!

  2. Awesome Pampered Chef food chopper - sounds like you need some awesome Pampered Chef tongs too!

    I really like your blog - interesting and funny reads!


  3. Vickie, yes, Matthew took these pictures for us! Isn't he handy? Lou got her apron for Christmas--she loves the colors and the fabric!

    Ashley, thanks! The tongs are definitely going to be a necessity (especially after this last incident). And we love the chopper--it does a great job...and it's a good stress-reliever!