A few years ago when my Dad was sick, the community held a HUGE benefit for him. I wanted to contribute, so I volunteered to make enchiladas for the program/dinner Deanne had put together.
“Let’s do enchiladas,” she said, “They’re simple and delicious.”
I volunteered based on that knowledge because -confession: I’d never actually ever made enchiladas before. But I REALLY wanted to help, and Deanne SAID they were easy, so…
I cracked open my faithful, falling-apart Pioneer Woman cookbook and flipped to her recipe, “Simple, Perfect Enchiladas.”
SEE?! Even The Pioneer Woman says they are simple!
I bought all of the ingredients with gusto -it felt so good to have something to DO other than worry about Dad. I came home and chopped green onion, browned ground beef (Dad’s home grown fresh beef!) and heated up oil to dip the tortillas in so they’d be soft. I had all the right pans and all the right brands of cans!
Not counting shopping time, it took me FOUR HOURS start to finish.
By the time I’d sprinkled cilantro on top of the second pan, I kicked my feet up and decided that even though it took so long and wasn’t as simple as I’d pictured in my mind, it was for DAD. And if something takes that long, SURELY it would taste like Christmas at Disneyland.
After I’d let some blood flow back up my legs, I took a bite of those enchiladas and was alarmingly UNDERWHELMED.
I took another bite, sure that the first bite had been a mistake.
I delivered them to the benefit with a heavy heart. I’d followed the directions EXACTLY. Or as my Dad likes to say, “Ezzactly.”
That was two years ago. I hadn’t bothered with them after that because
1) They are NOT simple
2) They don’t taste good
3) I’m surrounded by Mexican restaurants that make YUMMY enchiladas.
But sometime in May, I had a hankering for some Mexican Food. I didn’t have the money or energy to go to the store for enchilada sauce, so I googled how to make homemade green enchilada sauce… the Pioneer Woman uses red, and the amazing little restaurant in Snowflake, AZ called Eva’s has divine green, so GREEN was my game plan.
I had all of the ingredients, so I decided to give it a try.
At this point, I remembered that I didn’t need a cookbook to help me make enchiladas. I live in ARIZONA, people. Mexican food is what we DO. Why was I branching out for advice? Surely all I needed was my little gut, right?
I decided to do enchiladas MY WAY which meant I didn’t actually use any one recipe from start to finish… I threw that beauty of a dinner together in about 40 minutes, and it was so divine that my husband almost licked the casserole dish clean and WOULD HAVE had I not beat him to it.
I will say that for ME, making enchilada sauce from scratch is WAY WAY WAY easier than buying it because I live a good distance from a grocery store and I have three kids and if I go in for enchilada sauce I will come out with $55 worth of groceries.
$50 in groceries and $5 for the ice cream and chocolate I need after a trip like that.
Here’s the recipe for Green Enchilada Sauce:
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 C. finely chopped onion
1-2 garlic cloves, finely minced
3 Tablespoons Flour (I usually use about 5 Tablespoons of Gluten Free Baking Mix)
1 1/2 C. Chicken Broth (water + bullion works in a pinch)
1 C. canned green chilies (try using fresh if ya got ‘em!)
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper (I use a fancy spicy pepper blend my husband bought for his homemade jerky… shhhhh)
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1) Heat up EVOO in a large skillet, add onions and garlic. Sautee until onions are garlic are soft and fragrant but not toasty and brown.
2) Stir in flour. Slowly add chicken broth. The flour will clump up, just continue to stir until the texture smooths out.
3) Add remaining ingredients and stir. Simmer, stirring occasionally. Depending on what kind of flour you use and how much, you may need to adjust cooking time and the amount of broth you add. The texture should be silky but still runny. You can put the sauce in the blender if you want it VERY smooth -which I don’t.
Sauce will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge and can even be frozen (though mine never lasts past the dinner table).
How I assemble my enchiladas:
I add chicken to my enchiladas, though it isn’t necessary. I usually rip up some rotisserie (which is what I did the first time I tried this), but last night I cooked up some boneless chicken cut into squares. Add taco seasoning!
Use plenty of grated cheese.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15ish minutes, until the cheese is all nice and melty and slightly crispy.
NOTE: If you’re shy when it comes to messy cooking, just don’t make these. Because these involve a lot of finger licking and chicken taste-testing.
Lacy took care of setting the table. She busted out a table cloth and our fine wedding china.
This recipe usually makes about 11 enchiladas which is enough to feed our family dinner and have a couple leftover for breakfast the next morning -just crack a fried egg over that deliciousness!
This recipe is so loved in our house it was requested for Father’s Day and I happily made 4 pans for a huge crowd. It ACTUALLY WAS simple and the best part? I was able to feed Dad enchiladas! I’m happy to report he had seconds.
I’m also happy to report that I was able to finally get a grip on making enchiladas… I was starting to wonder if I’d have to divorce my state!
Green Enchilada Sauce recipe found and adapted from here