Enchiladas en Casserole

Our buddy David D. Wronski posts photos of his awesome culinary creations on his Facebook page. And ... friends often request the recipes. We interviewed him on the subject of the above pictured Enchiladas, and here is the short and sweet.

An Enchilada is a Tortilla rolled around a filling and covered with Chile sauce. It's really the simplest thing.

A basic question you have to ask yourself at this juncture if you're going to make them at home is this: how much work do you want to invest?

The simple approach is to get all your ingredients off the shelf from your local market. Open some cans, assemble, heat through in the oven. Serve.

Cooky Cat cooks from scratch. So, it's none of the above. While Enchiladas are essentially the simplest of things, there are some considerations and steps to take. You decide how deeply you want to "scratch".


Tortillas, for example. Store bought are fine. Then, of course, there's the question of whether to select Corn or Wheat Tortillas. We prefer corn for that distinctive flavor. But, wait! Maybe you want to make your own. You can get Masa Harina (Corn Flour) and make a simple dough. Press out some Tortillas then bake on a heated flat pan. Or, if you want to go native, buy some dried Maize Mote (Hominy) and take these steps.

You can get a Tortilla press if you want. Not recommended, unless you're going for Tortillas in a big way; or, you're a moneybags and need to have a gadget for every step in the kitchen. A flat bottom of a stainless steel bowl and some elbow grease will get you a proper round Tortilla. As for grinding the corn, a food processor will do nicely. Traditionally a Comal is used to bake the Tortillas. It's just a flat pan with a handle. Wronski uses his Indian Tawa. Hear this!  A cast iron skillet will do the trick.

We suggest adding some good Lard into your Nixtamal-based dough. By "good Lard" we're talking about rendered Lard from a local butcher or a store selling cured Pork products. A well stocked Mexican grocery should also sell good Lard.

In the Southwest USofA freshly prepared dough can also be found in the refrigerator section at some stores. Or, go to your neighborhood Tortilleria and buy some fresh dough.

Had enough about Tortillas?

Hint on those store boughten Corn Tortillas. If you have a choice, give them a good old "Charmin" squeeze. Soft and fluffy is the word. Same with Flour Tortillas.

Chile Sauce

Here, again, some considerations. First ... Red? Or, Green? Or, both. That latter is quaintly called "Christmas" in the Southwest.

Muy Importante: DO NOT USE PACKAGED CHILI POWDER. That's what you use [rather, can use] to make a bowl of Red. Again, even for Chili Con Carne, make it from dried Chiles.

For Red: Get a selection of dried Chiles. Chile New Mexico, Chile Guajillo, Chile Passilla, Chile Ancho (dried Poblano) are a good basic range. Not too hot. Maybe canned Chipotle con Adobo, dried Jalapenos in sauce, for some kick. There are other Chile Peppers you may want to add for flavor and heat. Experiment. As you can tell, it's a subject in itself. Here's a link for a list of the varieties and their heat.

You make a basic sauce by first deseeding and toasting the red Chiles in a pan [What! You don't have a Comal?] over medium heat. Soak until soft off heat in water brought to a boil. Blend to make a sauce. Strain to remove papery skins.

Finish your sauce however you want. Chicken or Beef Broth. The sauce leftover from a braise. Go ahead, if you have vegetables in with the braised meat, puree the veggies into your sauce. Some sautéed finely chopped Onions and Garlic, Cumin, and Oregano. Salt, Pepper. There's your sauce.

For Green: Green Chile Sauce is from fresh green Chiles. If you can get your hands on some Hatch Green Chiles ... do it. Roasted right there on the side of the road in Hatch, NM. You can hunt for some canned. You will not be disappointed. Great flavor. Chile Pablano is a good alternative. Be careful. Sometimes you get a hot one in there. Roast over an open flame, or on a fire grill. Peel blistered skin. Remove seeds, chop and add to sauce. Anaheim's are also a possible variety. Same as above: blister skin over heat, peel, chop. Seeds can stay.

Green Chile sauce is best kept ... green. A clear sauce with water or Chicken broth. Onions and Garlic. Cumin and Oregano. Salt and Pepper. That'll do ya.

The Filling

Meats: The filling in Mr. Wronski's superb creation pictured above is centered on braised short ribs of Beef. The key understanding for whatever you put inside that rolled Tortilla is to be sure it's ... "tender". Chicken, Beef, Lamb/Goat, Pork. You choose. Braise, buddy, braise! Roasted meats will do nicely. Just ... "tender". OK?

Seafoods? Maybe. But, let's not go there now.

Wronski likes to make Refried Beans at home. Very simple. Sauté fine chopped Onion and Garlic, add a can of Frijole Pintos (or whatever bean you may have a desire for to use), bring to heat, let liquid evaporate, then mash. Salt and pepper. Bring some heat if you want. Voilà! Refried beans. He likes to use good Lard in this dish too.

Queso: Here you have some more choices. Inside with the meat(s) and refried Beans goes some cheese(s). Wronski likes the Velveeta. Don't quibble. Any melty cheese will do. Also maybe some crumbly plain white cheese. The Mexican store has more than a few choices. Wronski used Feta! (He's so fusion.) Or, why not try some drained small curd Cottage Cheese? Do you get it? Do your thing, baby. 

Also, some melty cheese for on top of your assembled Enchiladas en Casserole. You like the Parmesan? Do it!


Put some sauce in the bottom of the baking pan. Fill, then roll them up. Arrange them nicely, flaps down. More sauce on top. Cheese. 


Really, just to heat through. Bake for 15 minutes at 325 F.


Put 2 or 3 on a plate and dig in. Crema or Sour Cream. Sprinkling of fine chopped white Onion/Scallion. Cilantro leaves chopped. Maybe some roasted or pickled Jalapenos. And ... whatever the heck you may also like to accompany.

Like ...

Salsa Ensalada

Coarsely chop sweet Onion/Scallions, Tomato, Cucumber, Jalapeno Chile (with or without the seeds and veins depending on how much heat you want), Cilantro leaves. Pulse in food processor until minced. Salt, pepper. Fresh Lime juice. A little good Olive Oil.