Enchiladas, Queso Fresco & Olive

By • January 7, 2012 • 16 Comments

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Author Notes: Growing up, enchiladas were a side dish tradition at our Italian Thanksgiving table. Hold the phone! How does this connect?
Hmmm, well it all started with my dad’s side, the Spanish side and my wonderful California aunts who we would visit once a year, every summer. My Italian mother learned to make enchiladas their style and later, back in Washington State, a few times a year we would indulge an enchilada feast. My uncle (mom’s brother) loved them so much he asked for them to be a side dish at Thanksgiving. The rest is history and they actually they made a good side, a spicy, corn taste!
This enchilada recipe is an updated version in more ways than one; back then, unless you made your own tortillas the only ones to be found, in our little town, came in a can and the only cheese we could get was some funny American cheese stuff. Seriously! My mom’s written enchilada version is in an old spiral bound fund raising Catholic Church cook book…instructing to buy a can of tortillas and American cheese stuff. By the late ‘60’s we could finally buy packaged tortillas although there was only one brand on the shelves, and finally choose from a larger variety of cheese.
Needless to say (but I will) my recipe has been tweaked a few times since those days. This recipe is my standard version. NOTE: These are great served with Apple Jalapeño Slaw, also posted on Food52.
lapadia

Makes 5-8 large enchiladas in an 11×8 inch baking dish (depends on tortilla size), recipe easily doubles

ENCHILADAS

  • 1 – 10oz pkg. Queso Fresco Cheese, crumbled
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olive
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion – for topping
  • 5-8 large corn tortilla – or homemade
  • 1 recipe enchilada sauce (see below)
  1. In a large bowl; crumble the Queso Fresco Add the cheddar & olive to the Queso Fresco; gently mix, set aside until needed.
  2. Preheat oven 325?.
  3. Coat the bottom of a baking dish with cooking spray and some enchilada sauce.
  4. Coat each tortilla with sauce. Depending on the texture of the tortilla you may need to slightly heat them to be able to roll easier, I heat in the microwave, 4 at a time, sprayed with a little cooking spray and placed between two paper towels.
  5. Place 1/3 cup cheese/olive mixture onto each tortilla, roll up. (Reserve remaining cheese mixture for topping the dish, may not need to use it all). Place rolled up tortillas in the sauced baking dish seam side down.
  6. Generously spoon sauce over each rolled tortilla; make sure the sauce goes between each roll. Top the enchiladas with chopped onion. Top the onion with the remaining cheese mixture.
  7. Spoon another line of sauce over each roll. Cook @ 325? until it starts to bubble throughout (about 1 hour). Let sit for 20 minutes minimum. I let it sit covered in the oven on warm and hold for up to 2 hours.

ENCHILADA SAUCE – note, my mom would use store bought canned enchilada sauce and each can was combined with an equal size can of tomato sauce. This recipe makes about 16 ounces which is more than enough for one recipe above

  • 4 tablespoons ground chili powder – Penzeys (I like the ground Ancho)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground oregano – crushed between fingers
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch of ground clove
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil – extra virgin
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • Tap water on hand for when needed.
  • 1 -15oz. can crushed tomatoes or tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  1. Combine chili powder, sea salt, oregano, cumin, cayenne pepper and ground clove – set aside. Sauté the onion with olive oil and vinegar, cook the onion mushy – add a tablespoon or two of water when/if needed to keep it mushy.
  2. Stir in the dry mixture; add water one tablespoon at a time to create a medium thick chili paste – takes 4-6 tablespoons.
  3. Add the tomatoes or puree, honey, garlic and 1/2 cup water to the paste, stir and simmer 1 hour. Taste test for salt and pepper to your palate.
  4. Cool to a temperature that is easy to handle and roll the enchiladas.
Jump to Comments (16)

Comments (16) Questions (0)

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over 1 year ago Trena

I made this for dinner tonight and these are the best homemade enchiladas I've ever made! Thank you for sharing such a delicious recipe.

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over 1 year ago lapadia

Hi Trena! This recipe is a family treasure I was happy to share and I am thrilled to get your feedback on it, you've made my day! :) Hope these can be a nice tradition for your family as well!

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over 1 year ago chef lew

It's the sauce. The flavors here make every measurement, chop and slice worth the time. Had to use a can of diced tomatoes because I didn't have enough puree, but after cooking the sauce for over an hour, he texture was fine but the taste...even better. Wonderful recipe.

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over 1 year ago lapadia

Hi Chef lew, Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, I was having a bit of trouble with my F52 notices for a while. I am so happy to finally get your feedback on this recipe, and I hope you and yours will enjoy for years to come! :)

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over 2 years ago Anna "newbie"

Tried 'em. Loved 'em!

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over 1 year ago lapadia

ya ya....sistah!!!!

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over 2 years ago Crispini

I made this last night. Didn't have olives, but used leftover roast chicken with diced green chilis and some green onions. Turned out fabulous! I really wanted to try this mainly for the sauce, and it was a winner. Definitely going into the recipe box as the go-to easy enchilada sauce recipe. Thanks for this!

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over 2 years ago lapadia

Hi! Thanks so much for your feedback; I'm so happy you enjoy the sauce, I love your addition of chicken, chilis and green onion!!

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over 2 years ago Crispini

Hey there! LOVE your intro- that was a scream! Great story about the evolution into food for today. Now I'm going to try the recipe. Thanks so much for posting.

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over 2 years ago lapadia

Hi Crispini! Thank so much for stopping by. Enjoy...I hope you will enjoy these as much as we do :)

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over 2 years ago Bevi

Yum. I have been of the canned sauce ilk when making enchies,, but your sauce looks so easy and delicious that I will have to give it a whirl!

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over 2 years ago lapadia

Yay & thanks Bevi! Can't wait to hear back after you have made the sauce...which can be used for other type of recipes, too :)

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over 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Now I really really want some enchiladas

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over 2 years ago lapadia

Cheers to power of suggestion through a recipe and photo, hope you will get to try my version sometime, aargersi! Happy New Year...

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over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Yum! Love enchiladas, and your version sounds especially delicious.

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over 2 years ago lapadia

Thanks for checking them out, hla, I hope you will get to try them someday when you are in an enchilada mood!