If you are in the mood for tasty Mexican enchiladas,
you will find everything you need to know about
how to cook enchiladas right here.
Enchiladas are basically filled corned tortillas covered with a savory sauce. The basic ingredients are tortillas, of course, then meat and chili pepper sauce.
The filling can consist of a large variety of ingredients. Besides meat, it can have cheese, potatoes, beans, or any other vegetable.
The sauce can also be chili, salsa, mole marinade, cheese, chili peppers queso, sour cream, guacamole, chopped onions, avocado, lettuce, olives, salsa, etc.
The most common combination is corn tortilla with meat covered with a savory chili pepper sauce. The rest is left completely to your imagination or your favorite ingredients.
History of enchiladas
Enchiladas are, as many of you already know, a product of the Mexican cuisine.
The base of the dish is corn tortilla. The Mexicans have a thing for rolling tortillas and it goes as far as the time period of the Maya.
This Mexican dish is very popular not only because it is delicious, but also because there are many variations to suit everyone’s taste.
The word itself is the past participle of the word “enchilar“. To enchilar means to “add chili pepper to” or “to season with chili pepper”.
The first time enchiladas were mentioned was in the 19th century. In 1831, the first Mexican cookbook called “The Mexican Chef” (or in Spanish “El cocinero Mexicano”) was published.
Enchiladas were a part of the first Mexican cookbook and therefore, an important part of their culture.
The first enchiladas were, surprisingly made with fish filling. But today, there are recipes including beef, pork, chicken, fish, shrimp, and others.
There are even vegetarian and vegan enchiladas that don’t contain meat at all.
The corn tortillas
Wrapping ingredients in the corn tortillas go way back. And how about the corn tortillas? When were they first made?
Corn was first used for eating ALSO in Mexico, about 7000 to 9000 years ago.
Some even consider that corn was even milled 9000 years ago. Some records indicate that corn was combined with chili peppers at this time in history. So, the combination of the two ingredients has been popular for a long time.
Today, enchiladas are popular worldwide. Enchiladas have their own National Enchilada Day, which is on the 5th of May (alongside Cinco de Mayo).
Many people wonder if enchiladas are healthy. Well, since every part of the dish can be heavily modified, it just depends on the ingredients you put in.
Usually, an enchilada with beef meat and cheese contains about 300 calories. But you can replace the beef with chicken or fish. And you can choose low-fat cheese and make the whole meal a lot healthier.
Different variations of enchiladas
As we mentioned before, enchiladas have been here for a long time so there are a lot of variations. Here are some of the most popular:
- Enchiladas suizas – with béchamel white sauce
- Enchiladas montadas or stacked enchiladas – tortillas are softened and then stacked on top of each other with the filling in between
- Enchiladas San Miguel – with guajillo chilies
- Enchiladas con Chile Rojo – sauce with red, dried chilled peppers
- Enchiladas poblanas – with poblano peppers
- Enfrijoladas – with refried beans instead of chili sauce
- Entomatadas – with tomato sauce rather than chili sauce
- Enchiladas verdes – with salsa verde
- Enchiladas con mole (Enmoladas) – with mole sauce instead of chili
- Enchiladas placera – with poultry and vegetables
There are also vegetarian and vegan versions of the dish that can contain tofu, spinach, bell peppers, vegan sauce, all sorts of beans, etc.
People often wonder should they cover the enchiladas when baking. Our advice would be to cover them so they can bake evenly. If you like enchiladas when the edges are crispy, you can take off the cover a couple of minutes before you take them out of the oven.
There are a lot of manufacturers that make frozen enchiladas. So, all you have to do is heat them. But, the homemade enchiladas are way tastier and, of course, healthier. Especially, because you can choose your own ingredients.
In today’s fast-paced world, we always wonder if we can make something ahead, can we freeze it, or put it on the fridge and use it later?
This way we can plan several meals ahead, making our lives much easier. If you are a fan of making food ahead and hen freezing it, we have good news for you. You can freeze your enchiladas and you can keep them in the fridge for a while.
You can cook enchiladas and keep them in the fridge before baking. Just cover it with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. And then, when you want to bake it, just remove the plastic wrap and bake it the usual way.
If you want to freeze enchiladas, cover it with both plastic wrap and aluminum foil. You can keep it in the freezer for up to 90 days. When you want to bake it, you can leave it to defrost in the fridge overnight and then bake it the usual way.
When it comes to already cooked enchiladas, you can also freeze them. You can freeze the whole meal or the leftovers. Either way, you must wait for the enchiladas to cool down.
Once they are cool, you can place them in the container and cover them with the lid or plastic wrap and aluminum foil.
If you are freezing individual pieces, place them in the plastic wrap very tightly so the sauce doesn’t spill. Wrap further in aluminum foil and then place it in the freezer.
When you want to reheat the pieces or the whole dish, leave it in the fridge overnight. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 25 minutes. Don’t forget to remove the foil before you heat it.
How to Cook Enchiladas
Before you start to cook enchiladas, make sure to read the following tips if you want to avoid the most common mistakes.
Let’s admit it: if your tortillas are soggy, the enchiladas are pretty much ruined.
To avoid this soggy mess, you should quickly fry them in hot oil. Fry them for about 10 seconds on each side and then you can move on to filling them. This will prevent tortillas to absorb too much sauce when you cook enchiladas.
Too much sauce
Believe it or not, there is such a thing as too much sauce. The tortillas should not swim in the sauce and you should limit yourself to half a cup for 1 enchilada.
Super Easy Chicken Enchiladas with Cheese
Take a look at how to cook enchiladas with chicken meat. This great recipe might seem to have a lot of ingredients, but don’t let that fool you. It is easy and simple to make.
- 16 corn tortillas
- 1 1/2 lbs chicken breast (skinless and boneless)
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tsp cumin powder
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp Mexican Spice Blend
- 5 canned whole green chiles – seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic – minced
- 1 cup frozen corn – thawed
- 1/2 tsp all-purpose flour
- 4 canned chipotle chiles – seeded and minced
- 1 cup Cheddar and Jack cheese – shredded
- 28 ounces can tomatoes – stewed
- 1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce – canned
- Scallions – chopped
- Tomatoes – chopped
- Cilantro leaves – chopped
- Sour cream
- Season the chicken breasts with some pepper and salt. Take a large pan and pour the oil in it and heat up at medium level.
- Cook the chicken for about 7 minutes on each side, until it changes its color.
- Take garlic powder, cumin powder, Mexican spices blend, and sprinkle over both sides of the chicken.
- Take the chicken out of the pan and leave it to cool down on a plate.
- Add chopped onions and minced garlic into the pan. Cook until the onion is crystalized and add thawed corn, chipotle chiles, whole green chiles, and stewed canned tomatoes. Stir very well and cook for about 1 minute.
- Pull the chicken apart with your hands or chop it up with a knife (whichever you prefer) and add it into the pan.
- Add the flour to the mixture and stir well.
- Soften the tortillas in the microwave for about half a minute.
- Take two pan dishes and pour approx. 1/4 of the enchilada sauce in each of them.
- Dip the tortillas, one by one into the enchilada sauce. They should have a light coat on them, so don’t overdo it.
- Take a cup to measure the chicken mixture.
- Pour 1/4 of a cup of the chicken mixture into each tortilla.
- Roll the tortillas and start placing them (seam side down) into the pans, so that each pan has eight tortillas.
- Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over the tortillas.
- Cover them with Cheddar and Jack cheese.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake for about 15 minutes until the cheese melts.
- Decorate with chopped tomatoes, chopped scallions, chopped cilantro leaves, and sour cream.