Homemade Enchiladas

You don’t need to go to a Mexican restaurant to have good enchiladas. And they don’t have to be loaded with calories, eiither.

Just the other night, Therese made enchiladas (one of our grandson Rakeem’s favorites). Not only were the enchiladas delicious, they were very healthy, too. Instead of being loaded with refried beans and meat, the enchiladas were made with textured vegetable protein (soy), which I’ve found to be just as tasty as any made with beef or chicken.

After a cup or so of TVP is sauteed in a little oil with some water, onion, a package of taco seasoning and placed inside 10-inch flour burritos, Therese’s enchiladas are put in a greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish, topped with a can of Old El Paso enchilada sauce and some shredded Mexican-style cheese and baked in a 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes. Then, we add some chopped-up iceberg lettuce, beet greens or Swiss chard and homemade hot sauce.

I’m aware some people like to make their own sauce, so following are a couple of recipes for the red, green and white varieties as well as ones for two enchiladas.

Cheese Enchiladas with Red Sauce
2 teaspoons canola oil
½ cup minced white onion
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup mild to medium red New Mexico chili powder
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
½ teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
½ teaspoon salt
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and mashed
2 tablespoons low-fat plain yogurt
12 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
¼ cup minced white onion
Sauce: Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add half cup onion; cook, stirring, until it softens, about 1 minute. Stir in garlic and continue cooking until the onion is translucent and soft, about 2 more minutes. Stir in chili powder. Add broth, water, oregano and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until thickened and reduced about one-third, about 20 minutes. Sauce should be thick enough to lightly coat a spoon.
To prepare enchiladas: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 7-by-11-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Combine beans and yogurt in a small bowl. Spread about ¼ cup of the sauce in the baking dish. Arrange four tortillas in the dish, overlapping them to cover the bottom. Top with half the bean mixture and spread it thin. Scatter 2/3 cup cheese and 2 tablespoons onion on top of the beans. Top with 1/3 of the remaining sauce, four tortillas, the remaining bean mixture, 2/3 cup cheese and the remaining 2 tablespoons onion. Spread half the remaining sauce on top and cover with the remaining four tortillas. Top with remaining sauce and the remaining 1/3 cup cheese. Bake enchiladas until hot and bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes.
Yield: Serves 8.
Note: Whole dried New Mexican chilies can be used in place of the chili powder. Just grind in a spice mill. Ancho chili powder also can be used.

Green Enchiladas
2 teaspoons corn oil
1 onion, medium dice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup farmer’s cheese
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 cups shredded cooked chicken meat
2 cups quartered tomatillos
1 cup sliced scallions
2/3 cup chopped cilantro
2 roasted jalapenos, seeded, diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
½ teaspoon each, ground cumin and coriander
12 corn tortillas
6 ounces Monterey jack, shredded
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a small skillet. Add onion and garlic and saute until onion is a light golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove onion from the heat.
Puree the farmer’s cheese in a food processor until smooth. With the machine running, add the heavy cream in a stream. Remove the cheese mixture from the processor to a bowl. Fold in the chicken and sauteed onion.
Place the tomatillos, scallions, cilantro, jalapenos, mint, cumin and coriander in a food processor or blender and puree to make a sauce. Place in a shallow bowl.
Soften tortillas one at a time by toasting in a cast-iron skillet on medium heat for about 15 seconds on each side. Dip the tortilla into the sauce to lightly coat. Place a spoonful of filling in the center of the tortilla and roll up. Place the filled and rolled enchilada in a buttered baking dish. Repeat. Spoon remaining sauce over the enchiladas, sprinkle with cheese, cover and bake until the filling is hot, about 15 minutes. Remove cover and bake long enough for the topping to melt.
Yield: Serves 6.

White Enchilada Sauce
1 cup sour cream
½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
½ cup jack cheese, shredded
4 ounces butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon parsley, chopped
12 ounces heavy cream
Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan and warm until bubbles begin to form and the sauce is warmed to the touch and all the ingredients blend.
Yield: Make enough for 12 enchiladas.

Green Enchilada Sauce
20 fresh tomatillos
10 fresh jalapenos
3 garlic cloves

Roughly chop and then boil the tomatillos until they soften, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, toast the jalapenos by holding them with tongs over an open flame until the skin blisters. Cool and remove as much skin as possible.
Place the tomatillos, jalapenos, garlic and 1teaspoon salt in a small pan and cook for 20 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and the mixture turns yellow.
Yield: Make enough for 12 enchiladas.

Red Enchilada Sauce
6 dry pasilla chilies
12 California chilies
6 New Mexico chilies
6 Guajillo chilies
½ teaspoon oregano
4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
Soak chilies in 2 cups warm water for 30 minutes, and then boil for about 20 minutes or until chilies soften and begin to break apart. Cool mixture. Place the cooled mixture in a blender with a ½ teaspoon of oregano (Mexican preferred), the 4 garlic cloves and 1 teaspoon salt and process until smooth. Pour the contents of the blender back into the pan and cook for 20 minutes or until it thickens slightly. You should have about 1 cup sauce.
Yield: Make enough for 12 enchiladas.