This year Rose didn't want to go out for her birthday dinner. She had just gotten home from Chicago and she wanted homestyle cooking ... Tex-Mex style. She wanted Texas Enchiladas.
For the uninitiated, that means cheese enchiladas in a red sauce with some chopped onion on top.
Once again, as so many times before, I have been making a simple, yet flavorful, version of this from one of Matt Martinez's cookbooks.
To make it even easier, I stack the enchiladas instead of rolling them. I've been told that this is how they do it in New Mexico, but we'll keep it simple and just call this a casserole.
1/4 cup lard, shortening or vegetable oil
1/4 cup flour
In a large skillet, heat lard to medium hot. Stir in flour and continue stirring until it turns a very light brown (3-4 minutes.)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Add all and continue to cook for 1 minute. Constantly stirring and blending ingredients.
3 cups water or chicken broth
Add and stir until sauce thickens slightly, 1-2 minutes. Turn heat low and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add water if necessary to keep sauce very thin.
8 corn tortillas
Lightly brush tortillas on both sides with oil and heat briefly on a griddle until soft and flexible, stacking on a plate as you work.
2 cups (8 ounces) grated mild cheddar
1/2 cup finely chopped white onions
1 batch Enchilada Sauce, warm
Mix cheese and onions and set aside. Dip tortillas into sauce, fill with cheese, roll tightly and arrange in an oven-proof dish. Spread remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with cheese. Bake 10-15 minutes at 350° until cheese is completely melted. Serve immediately.
Casserole: instead of filling tortillas with cheese and rolling them, just dip them in the sauce, lay down a layer across the bottom of a baking dish, and sprinkle with some of the cheese/onion mixture. Continue making the layers (3 or 4 depending on the size of the dish), topping with a sprinkling of cheese. Bake as above and cut in squares to serve.