Sunday, March 06, 2005


I don't cook all that often, but every so often I like to make a huge batch of homemade enchiladas. If at all possible, I avoided canned enchilada sauce. It is much more fun to make my own, starting from those dried chili peppers. I didn't think of photographing this process until the peppers were no longer dried. Here's a photo of a chili ristra from Flickr:

Originally uploaded by Tandika.

The thing I like about this is that they don't even look edible in this state, but the end result is delicious.

So, we started with sixteen dried peppers of various kinds -- Pasilla, New Mexico, and Guajillo. It was a pretty much random mix based on what was available at the grocery store. The first time I made this sauce must have been about eight or nine years ago and I actually had a chile ristra like the one shown above that my parents brought back from New Mexico. But, I digresss.

The peppers soaked in boiling water overnight. By morning, they didn't look all that dried anymore:
Chili Peppers after Soaking Overnight

I took off the stems, removed the seeds and veins from the inside, then blended the peppers with garlic and some of the water they had soaked in. Then, I forced it all through a strainer.
Forcing Peppers Through Strainer

Next, I browned a little flour in oil, stirred in the puree, added various other spices and cooked it till it looked like sauce.
Cooking the Sauce

Meanwhile, Laura chopped and sauted the onions and got out the pre-shredded cheese (have to allow for some laziness here). Then it was just a matter of dunking each tortilla in the sauce, filling it with cheese, onions, and chopped black olives, and lining them up in a pan.

As you might imagine, this gets a little messy.
Rolling Sauce-Covered Tortillas is Messy

Two Pans of Enchiladas, Ready for the Oven

Bake until the cheese melts, then sprinkle a bit more cheese on top.

We had them for a late lunch. We'll probably bring some by my parents this evening as well.

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