Mom’s Enchilada Recipe

(AKA:  Why every other enchilada I’ve ever eaten sucks.)


Two dozen corn tortillas

Sauce ingredients:

½ cup of vegetable oil

8 tablespoons of chili powder

8 tablespoons of white flour

6 cups of warm water

4 teaspoons of white vinegar

2 teaspoons each of garlic powder, onion powder, and salt

1 teaspoon of oregano leaf

Filling ingredients:

3 cups of refried pinto beans

1.5 pounds of jack or cheddar or mixed shredded cheese

1.5 pounds of cottage cheese

1 large red onion, finely chopped

2 cups chopped black olives

1 cup chopped mild canned red chilies


Pre-heat the oven to 350.  

Make the sauce:

1.     In a large saucepan, heat oil, chili powder, and flour into a paste (do not burn)

2.     Gradually add the water (heat it up first if you can) to make a smooth sauce.  (A whisk may be your best friend here.)

3.     Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for three minutes or so

Directions for filling:

1.     Cover the bottom of a large shallow baking dish with enchilada sauce, to prevent sticking.

2.     Dredge the tortillas in the enchilada sauce to warm them, and lay flat on working board

3.     In each, put a tablespoon each of everything in the middle of the tortilla

4.     Roll them up, and place in shallow baking dish, with seam side down, touching but not squashed together

5.     Repeat as needed

Pour the sauce over enchiladas, and sprinkle with everything that's left over.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until bubbly.  We serve with some simple rice on the side, as a nice contrast to the intense enchilada-ness (as well as a perfect way to mop up the sauce left on your plate).   And if you have some extra sauce left over, a bowl of rice, beans, cheese, and enchilada sauce is an awesome lunch of leftovers!

Note:  I’ve baked many a variation on this recipe, and always had success.  Really, as long as you have some type of tortilla, and some type of cheese, and some of the spices for the enchilada sauce, you’ll be able to make something delightful.  For example, I’ve made a version that was more like fabulous lasagna, with flour tortillas layered with cheese and sauce, and baked.  I’ve also frequently experimented with other spices for the sauce, as the crazy amount of chili powder often empties out my spice jar—replacing a couple tablespoons of chili with Penzey’s Taco Seasoning and a dash of cayenne works wonders!