Empanadas… kinda

I got some pretty craptacular news yesterday. Totally sucked, as in semi-life changing (or non-changing, as it currently is). Or maybe plan slowing and delaying. Oddly enough, I didn’t throw a tantrum, hold up a bank, or streak naked through the streets of downtown Albany in a fit of savagery.

But still. I was mega bummed out. Guess I celebrated too early. I wanted to hang out with some family so they could put me in a better mood. Maybe put on a jester’s outfit and do different funny things when I whacked them with my stick. Or just come over and eat some food and hang out. My sister and Ellsbells thankfully came over. My sister hardly ever answers her phone or calls me back, so I was really happy she decided to hang. I mean, it’s not like I called them and told them I was having a shitty day, that’s the kind of stuff I’d rather blather on about to people on the internet. I mean, sheesh.

I made a crapton of tortillas the night before, with the goal of making enchiladas, or some kind of sauced tortilla dish. I just left them in the fridge in a Ziploc bag overnight and reheated them in the microwave in the morning. I cooked the tortillas in a pan that had had steak in it and didn’t wash it out, so they would have been vegan except I was lazy. (Although I did eat the first steak glaze-coated tortilla, so really, that’s like 90% of it [gosh it was fucking good, too]).

I chopped up some leaves from the gigantic napa cabbage from my CSA and cooked them with whole cloves of garlic and coin slices of ginger. Just cook the garlic and ginger in some oil until the garlic browns and blackens slightly. Then toss in the chopped greens and cook until they’re at your desired texture. I prefer mine with some crunch to them.

Albany John made some pinto beans that came out very well. They kept their shape, but the insides were fluffy and tender. Yum. I forget what he seasoned them with, but I am going to go out on a limb and guess goodness and tastiness.

For the Enchilada sauce, I diced 2 small onions, pressed 4-6 cloves of garlic and cooked them in some olive oil in a big pan on the stove.
I added in a few tablespoons of chili powder and cooked to toast up the powder a bit.
Then I added in about 4-5 cups of crushed tomatoes and a cup of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15+ minutes to let the flavors merge.
Processed with an immersion/stick blender to smooth it out.
It was ok… still too thick. I was going for something like a slightly more spiced version of the enchilada sauce in the cans. So I think next time I will water it down some more, or use whole tomatoes instead.

But for what it was, good tomato-y sauce.

Before you fill the tortillas, you need to stick them in the warm enchilada sauce to soften them up so they become pliable and saucy. It might take up to a minute, but they’ll become bendy and yield to gentle folding. (Other recipes also call for first cooking/dipping the tortillas in warm oil, but in all honesty, that’s just something I couldn’t do in good health conscience. Neruotic, je sais)
Ok, enchilada assembly. I took some liberties here. Rick Bayless has this one technique where he says ‘real’ enchiladas are just sauced and folded filled tortillas, not rolled. Rolled are more tex-mex. To which I say “Sweet, I am so folding these so I don’t have to worry about breaking them when I roll them,” and I filled and folded them with Portobello mushrooms, onion slivers (pre-cooked together and generously sprinkled with Adobo), and cheddar cheese. Don’t forget to throw those mushroom stems in there to cook as well!

I just kind of laid them atop each other so all the filled and folded tortillas were overlapping and keeping themselves closed. Then I sauced the crap outta them, sprinkled more cheese on top, and covered it to bake in the oven for around 15 minutes, and 9 minutes uncovered. So this was kind of a Mexican-Tex-Mex fusion dinner.

Corn tortillas have this magical property of absorbing the sauce like a sponge and becoming tender and almost disintegrating in the best way possible. I think it brings out the corn flavor of the masa very well.

I want to work on thinning the sauce out some more and incorporating different seasonings (ohmanijustrealizediforgotcumin!), as well as trying my hand at making flour tortillas.
I am glad I’ve got some family to feed when I need some cheering up. The Blue Massholes helped (they would have been Blue Hawaiians, but I forgot to buy more pineapple juice…), but didn’t get me to ‘forget all your problems’ drunk. I know my goal for the weekend. Hopefully I will also feed some more family. I am a bit dumpling-ed out at the moment, anyone have any recipes that chills them out? Preferably something long and involved, as that seems to be my strong suit (much to the chagrin of folks I invite over for dinner… sorry!).
  1. Grace said:

    i make a pie when i'm stressed, and sometimes it doesn't work out so well and i just end up more frustrated and upset. usually, though, the final product is edible and delicious and my mood improves. hope things turn around for ya!

  2. boo to crappy news, but those enchiladas look good enough so cheer just about anyone up, o I hope they did the trick!!

    don't you just love rick bayless? he's pretty much my hero.

  3. Grace – Aw, I shoulda made a pie!

    lk – thanks, man.

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