Enchiladas are definitely one of my favorite foods at a Mexican restaurant. And for so long, I just couldn’t figure out how they may the delicious sauce that turns a tortilla and filling into an enchilada. I used the Trader Joe’s enchilada sauce for a while, which isn’t bad, but then… Enter Nicki and Matt – they made delicious homemade enchiladas with homemade sauce for a party they once hosted, and I have been inspired since then. While these enchiladas have a number of steps, they are totally worth it and make about 16-20 enchiladas.
Here’s what you will need for the SAUCE:
1 26 ounce can tomato sauce
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1-3 canned jalapenos in escabeche (and of course you can adjust here for spiciness)
2-3 chiles in adobo sauce (this is a canned item, and you will use more of this for the filling – you can omit if you don’t want the sauce too spicy)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
2 tbsp fresh cilantro
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 cup sour cream (you can leave this out if you want to go vegan)
freshly ground salt and pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
Here is how you make the SAUCE (super easy):
1. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until fully combined and smooth(ish).
2. Put the tomato mixture in a saucepan and simmer over medium heat for about 20 minutes.
Here’s what you will need for the FILLING:
1 package extra firm tofu
2 tablespoons sauce from chile in adobo
1 + 1 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 can black beans
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 chiles in adobe, chopped
chopped carrots from your can of jalapenos in escabeche
2 ears of corn, kernels removed from the cob
1 cup shredded cheese (I did a combo of cheddar and jack — this can be omitted to make vegan) (plus more for the top if desired)
16-20 corn tortillas (soft taco size)
Garnish: sour cream, chopped chives, chopped cilantro, or additional cheese
Here is how you make the filling:
1. Slice the tofu into 7 thick slices. Place on a plate on top of paper towels. Top with paper towels and place a heavy bowl or plate on top. Allow the tofu to drain for at least 10-20 minutes. If the paper towels become soaked through, replace with dry ones.
2. Once the tofu is done draining, you are ready to marinade and cook. First, preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Next, mix together the sauce from the chiles with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Spray a pan with nonstick cooking spray. Take each slice of tofu, squeeze gently between the paper towels to release any remaining water, then roll the slice in the marinade and set in the pan. Repeat for each piece. Bake the tofu for 20 minutes, turning after 10 minutes.
1. Drain the can of black beans and pour into a large mixing bowl.
2. Add the zest of one lime to the mixture.
1. Pour one tablespoon olive oil into a saute pan. Add the diced onion, sliced garlic cloves, and chopped chiles and saute until halfway cooked.
2. Next, add the corn kernels and chopped carrots in escabeche to the mixture and cook until the corn turns bright yellow, about another 3-6 minutes. As the corn is cooking, squeeze the juice of the lime into the mixture.
1. Add the corn mixture to the beans. Chop the tofu into small pieces and add that to the beans/corn. Then, add the desired amount of cheese (I did about 1 cup.)
1. The key to making the enchiladas is ensuring that your tortillas are soft and won’t break. But, I am not into the concept of frying each tortilla, so I use this method. Turn your oven down to 350 degrees (you will want to do this anyway as this is the baking temp). Place about 8 tortillas on a cookie sheet and spray one side generously with cooking spray. Place in the oven for about 3-4 minutes, until warm and pliable, and then remove.
2. To make the enchiladas: spray the bottom of a rectangular baking dish (I ended up using two to make 16 enchiladas, and had some filling and sauce left over). Then, pour a few scoops of the sauce over the bottom just to cover.
3. Take a tortilla, put a scoop of the mixture down the middle, and then roll the enchilada over the mixture. Don’t worry if a little falls out the ends. Place the enchilada in the pan, folded side down. Repeat this process until you have used all the tortillas, all the filling, or filled your two pans. Make sure you put the enchiladas right up next to each other in the pan so they hold each other together.
4. Spoon the sauce mixture over the enchiladas so they are fully covered. Sprinkle extra cheese on top if you would like. Cover with foil.
5. Bake the enchiladas at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, garnish with cilantro, sour cream, chives and/or cheese.