Saturday, February 7, 2009

Veggie Enchiladas

I love enchiladas, and I tend to be a purist when it comes to what I enjoy -- a slightly spicy sauce, melted cheese with beans and maybe some onion wrapped in a fresh corn tortilla served piping hot. However, I know most people prefer a bit more punch to theirs so in this recipe I've added some more vegetables, feel free to omit them or add your own. I should also add that this is one of the few recipes that has turned out phenomenal on the first try; it is traditional but it's also hard to go wrong.

It's interesting to note that this is essentially one of the oldest foods in existence in the Western hemisphere. Way before the colonization and eventual invasion of North, South and Central America by the Europeans one of the staple crops was maize. They also heavily utilized various potatoes in regions of South America, but that's another entry. Corn has a complex nutritional structure and needs to be crushed to "activate" these -- the minerals the Native Americans (referring to all 3 Americas) in the stones used to do the crushing couldn't have hurt either. The practice of wrapping corn tortillas around fish originated in Mexico; the recipe for enchiladas also appeared in the first Mexican cookbook: El cocinero mexicano ("The Mexican Chef"). With basic staple ingredients and simple preparation, this traditional food has undergone very few changes since its invention centuries ago.


3 tbsp vegetable oil
6 corn tortillas
1/2 onion, finely diced
1/3c finely chopped mushrooms
1c enchilada sauce (you can make your own or get it from a jar, I get mine from the jar. Frontero mild to be exact!)
~1 1/2 c shredded monterrey jack cheese

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Using tongs, put a corn tortilla in and allow to heat for 2-3 seconds, then flip. Move to a paper towel and do the same with the rest of the tortillas. Mop up any extra grease with a paper towel. Do not turn off the heat.

Put the chili powder, mushrooms and onions in the skillet and cook, stirring often, until the surfaces begin to brown (5-10 minutes). Take off the heat and set aside.

Holding a tortilla in your hand, put some of the cheese and veggie mixture in the center of it. Fold one side 3/4 of the way over and roll it up. After a few tries this will come naturally. Transfer to a baking dish, repeat with the rest of the tortillas. Top with enchilada sauce and sprinkle with leftover cheese, if desired. Bake at 450 degrees until the cheese melts, around 5-10 minutes. Serve hot!

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