Enchiladas

I’ve got a soft spot for enchiladas. I really flip for the flour tortilla tex-mex enchiladas that are slathered in cheese and some kind of weakly flavored watery tomato sauce.

When I saw some enchilada sauce cans at Big Lots for $0.50 a can, I snapped up a couple. They usually retail around $0.79 at their cheapest. Being a cheapskate food hoarder, how could I resist?

I couldn’t justify buying flour tortillas when I had tons of masa harina at home, so I made a bunch of corn tortillas, let them soften up, and made a filling.

Refried beans. They might look like some kind of alien goop here. Albany John made some kidney beans (from dried beans) a few days ago, and they were just sitting in our fridge. Hello, refried beans. I cooked them up with 3 chopped onions, a few minced cloves of garlic, some epazote, oregano, a can of turkey broth, and the last speck of powdered cumin in the pantry. I let that simmer for about half an hour or so.
Once the beans were really tender, I mashed them up. I added just a tiny splash of half-and-half, which added a pretty strong creamy flavor. It was okay, but a little more dairy-rich than I’d have liked. But since these were going to get dominated by enchilada sauce in a can, the subtleties didn’t really matter.

I dropped in a can of enchilada sauce, got my hands nice and messy while filling the tacos with refried beans and folding them, and soon discovered – wow, this enchilada sauce had some kick.
Actually, the random little cuts on my hands found that one out, thankyouverymuch.

I poured another can over the top, then covered the pan with tin foil and popped it in the oven for 20 mintutes.


Foil came off the last 10 minutes and I sprinkled with some feta. It was the only cheese in my fridge, but I think it works with Mexican food.

Overall, it was alright, but nothing I’m jonesing to make again. It was a little something different using the stuff in our pantry. Some meat filling would have made these way better.

Overall, I’d say this entire pan cost about $3.50 to make. It’ll last the two of us at least 2 meals.

Known Costs: turkey broth ($0.59), enchilada sauce (2 @ $0.50 ea), feta ($0.40)
Unknown Costs: Beans, onions, garlic, masa harina. Est $1.50 total

7 thoughts on “Enchiladas”

  1. Hi! I like your blog but this is the first time I have been moved to comment. I just bought a Rick Bayless cookbook, and I was wondering where you bought your epazote. Also, are there any good Mexican supermarkets in the area? Thanks, and please keep up the good work! You introduced me to Casablanca! D.

  2. So it's not lame to use enchilada sauce from a can? I have been holding off on making them because I thought I should make it from scratch. But if Albany Jane can do it, by gosh, so can I. Even though it wasn't your fave, it still looked good.

  3. I haven't had good luck with enchilada sauce from a can, I always find it to taste like tin. I'm a big fan of the Ortega enchilada sauce that comes in a jar, its a little expensive at $1.99 on sale and it only covers a 9×9 pan of enchiladas but it tastes like what I think enchilada sauce should taste like. I don't have the courage or want to make my own from scratch.

  4. p – nope, but they do sell it at Save-A-Lot. Maybe one of these days…

    Anon – Unfortch I found it in this small Hispanic grocery store in Florida, NY of all places. Haven't been able to find epazote around these parts.

    Small-bs & Chrystal- Well, I wouldn't say the tin is the best. I've never really noticed the tinny flavor. I'm kind of scared to make my own b/c all the recipes call for a LOT of dried peppers!

  5. well, every batch of any refried beans i've ever seen resembled alien goop, so you're fine there. taste is what's important, and your creation looks perfect.

  6. Eeek. Homemade enchilada sauce is so easy. Super easy.

    Big glug of cooking oil.
    One big diced onion – cook til soft.
    Bunch of chopped garlic (6+ cloves) – cook til fragrant.

    Add
    6 T chili powder.
    1/2 T ground coriander.
    1/2 T ground cumin.
    1/2 T sugar.
    1 t salt.

    Heat until fragrant.

    Add one large can of crushed tomatoes.
    Fill half the can with water.

    Simmer for as long as you can and strain.

    Besides measuring spices, the only thing you have to do is cut up an onion. It is so much better than what comes out of a can, you won't believe it.

    And you can be all creative with it too. Mix in some dried ancho chili powder, or some cocoa, or Mexican oregano.

    This is a loose framework, not a recipe, per se. And it makes a ton of sauce.

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