Preparation / Directions:
PREPARE SAUCE AND FILLING: Brown ground beef and 1 chopped onion in a large skillet. There should be enough fat in the beef to eliminate any need for extra oil and also to saute the onions at the same time. While you are browning the beef (it should be completely cooked with no pink or red color left), be sure to break it up so that it is granular in texture, as opposed to chunky, when completely browned. Onions should be limp and translucent but not brown.
Add about 4 T of flour and saute until flour is completely incorporated into the meat mixture. Add the enchilada sauce. Heat over low heat. If the mixture is too thick, add a little water. The consistency should be that of a thick gravy, but not soupy. Simmer over low heat for 20-30 minutes.
PREPARE ROLLED ENCHILADAS: Rolled enchiladas are tougher to assemble, but more authentic. Have ready a large baking pan, we always use an oblong Pyrex pan. One at a time, dip each tortilla in the enchilada sauce just enough to coat and slightly soften. Lay the tortilla flat in the baking pan, spoon about 3 T of the enchilada sauce in a line down the middle, top with about 1 t chopped onion and about 3 T of grated cheese.
Roll the tortilla tightly into a cylinder with the seam on the bottom, and position against the bottom edge of the baking pan. Repeat until the pan is full. This can get tricky (but it is possible) as the pan gets full. Assembling the enchilada outside of the pan is usually a messy disaster. Depending on the size of the pan and how tightly each enchilada is rolled, you can get 8-12 enchiladas in a pan. This recipe should make about 16-24 enchiladas.
Spoon enchilada sauce over the assembled enchiladas to thinly cover. Sprinkle generously with grated cheese. Bake at 425 degrees F. for 20 minutes.
PREPARE STACKED ENCHILADAS: This is the New Mexico style. It is much easier to assemble. Have plates ready. One at a time, submerge each tortilla in the enchilada sauce (which should be cooking on low heat during this process) and cook until limp but not falling apart, this may take a little practice to gauge the time.
Remove the tortilla from the sauce and place flat on a plate. Spoon a little sauce, including meat, over the tortilla, add about 1 T chopped onion and about 4 T grated cheese. Repeat the process until you have a stack of 3-4 tortillas on a plate, depending on the appetite of the person who will eat them. Top the last tortilla with a generous amount of sauce and cheese. Serve immediately.
The fundamental difference between these two styles is the method used to cook the tortillas. In the rolled style, the sauce is cooked into the tortilla through the baking process. In the stacked style, the tortilla is cooked directly in the sauce. Only the appearance differs, the taste is the same with either style.
* Central Texas style Mexican enchiladas -- We cook beef enchiladas in two ways, the traditional rolled enchilada and the easier-to-cook New Mexico stacked style. Both procedures are given. Also, we used to cook the enchilada sauce/chili from scratch but more recently began using a shortcut with canned Old El Paso brand enchilada sauce, since it is not only faster (20 minutes vs. 4+ hours) but also has a very authentic spice combination.
* I always use Old El Paso canned enchilada sauce, though it is possible to make your own.
: Difficulty: moderate. : Time: 1 hour. : Precision: approximate measurement OK.