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Simple Enchiladas

A lot of us grew up with casserole or lasagne type enchiladas. They were smothered in a chile-tomato sauce and loaded with cheese and then baked until bubbly and gooey. This kind of dish still has a certain appeal but for a quick, easy meal, it's hard to beat what most Mexicans would recognize as an enchilada. Simple-enchiladas The dish starts with a chile sauce. If you love chiles, try making it without tomatoes. It's a particular, nostalgic flavor that I'm nuts for. Basic Chile Sauce Clean and toast on a hot dry skillet 4 ancho chiles and 2 guajillos. Soak in warm water for about 20 minutes and then place the chiles in a blender with enough of the soaking liquid to keep the blades moving. Add a small chopped onion, Mexican oregano and some garlic. Blend well and the fry in some fat for 5 minutes. Thin with chicken stock or water and cook another 15 minutes or so. Add salt as needed and a touch of sugar if the sauce is bitter. As you can imagine, this sauce can now be used in a lot of dishes. I normally have some leftover in the fridge and it's handy to make a big batch. For enchiladas, you need to heat up a small skillet with oil and when it's hot, dip a stale or day-old tortilla into the oil. Allow the extra oil to run off and immediatly dip it in the warm chile sauce. Lay the tortillas down and add some chopped raw onion and a little cheese. Roll it up and then repeat until you have a three or four. Pour a little extra sauce over the top and sprinkle with more cheese and onion. If the sauce is warm enough, the enchiladas are ready to serve. If you the dish is lukewarm, you can heat it up in the oven, but just until the cheese melts. If you have some leftover chicken or potatoes or something else appealing, you can add that to the filling, but keep in mind the stars of this dish are the tortillas and the chile sauce, not the cheese. A friend once decided to make shrimp enchiladas and we were all giddy with anticipation but she was a dietician and decided to make the enchiladas healthier by avoiding the dip in oil. What a shame! The dish was boring and lifeless and a waste of shrimp. I'm told that too-fresh tortillas absorb more oil. I do know the slightly stale one are much easier to work with.

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