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Sunday, August 28, 2011


These are Pioneer Woman's enchiladas because I forgot to take my own picture.  Mine looked just as good.

I'm from California so of course I love Mexican food.  It's in my DNA.  Despite my almost constant cravings for all things spicy and cheesy, I've never really mastered south of the border cuisine.  And living in Pittsburgh, it's not as though there's Mexican food on every corner like there is in L.A.  Needless to say, my hankering for Mexican food is rarely satisfied.

A couple of years ago I made enchiladas.  They came out gluey and as a result I've not attempted making them again.  All I recall of that episode is Ted valiantly choking down the gooey mess all the while telling me that they weren't that bad.  Not that bad isn't exactly what I was going for.

Lately I've been craving enchiladas so I decided to start simple.  The last time I made them I was really ambitious and used a complicated recipe from Diana Kennedy.  This time I decided to go with the visual approach and use a recipe from everyone's favorite cowgirl, the Pioneer Woman.

I have to start by saying that I don't usually cotton to PW's recipes, and more specifically to all the photographs.  I find her recipes to be somewhat distracting.  But for my enchiladas I thought maybe the pictures would help me to construct an edible casserole.

I have to tell you, there's something to all those photographs.  There's also something to be said for the somewhat less complicated version of this Mexican specialty.  This is not the most authentic recipe I've ever seen, but it's pretty foolproof and it tastes surprisingly good.

Because I found the step by step photos to be so helpful, here's a link to Pioneer Woman Cooks Enchiladas.  For those of you who don't need the pictures, here's the recipe.

Recipe:  Pioneer Woman's Enchiladas
From Pioneer Woman Cooks, 2009)


1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
1 Tablespoon All-purpose Flour
1 can (28 Ounce) Enchilada Or Red Sauce
2 cups Chicken Broth
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons Chopped Cilantro
1-1/2 pound Ground Beef
1 whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
2 cans (4 Ounce) Diced Green Chilies
1/2 teaspoon Salt
10 whole (to 14) Corn Tortillas
1/2 cup Canola Oil

3 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup Chopped Black Olives
1 cup Chopped Green Onions
1/2 cup Chopped Cilantro


Step #1 – The Sauce
In a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil and flour and whisk together to make a paste, cooking for one minute. Pour in the red sauce, chicken broth, cilantro, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30-45 minutes.
Step #2 – The Meat
Brown the meat with onions in a skillet. Drain off fat. Stir in 2 cans diced green chilies and seasoned salt. Set aside.
Step #3 – Tortillas
Heat canola oil in a small skillet over medium heat. One by one, using tongs, fry tortillas in oil until soft, not crisp – about 30 seconds per side. Remove to a paper—towel lined plate. Repeat until all tortillas have been fried.
Step #4 – Assembly
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour ½ cup red sauce in bottom of baking pan. Spread to even out. Dip each tortilla into red sauce, then remove to work surface. Spoon meat, a little grated cheese, a little black olives, and green onions in the center of tortilla. Roll up and place, seam down, in baking pan. Repeat until pan is filled. Pour extra red sauce over enchiladas. Top with remaining cheddar cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle cilantro over enchiladas before serving.

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