Veggie Mexican Enchiladas: The Platonic Ideal

I am proud to announce that German and I have perfected our recipe for enchiladas. My contributions are negligible – this recipe is based off German’s mom’s recipe and it is delicious! Essentially, my only contribution is as a guinea pig cook. I was capable of making it multiple times with nothing but verbal directions, which should give all of you a reasonable shot at being able to duplicate this. First, collect a few key ingredients:

2 cans of El Pato Salsa de Chile Fresco/Tomato Sauce

2 cans of Trader Joe’s Tomato sauce

6 – 10 cloves of garlic

1 medium yellow onion

Bag of Guerrero corn tortillas

5 large red potatoes

2 medium zucchinis

1/2 lb of Monterey jack cheese

Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Saute in a pan with canola oil. Once the onions are translucent, add the cans of El Pato sauce and Tomato sauce. Simmer for several minutes until the flavors are good and melded. Set aside. Peel and cube the red potatoes. Cube the zucchini as well. Put the potatoes in a pot and put enough water to cover with about an extra two inches of water. Sprinkle in a 1/2 tsp of salt. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, drop in the zucchini cubes. Boil for a few minutes – until the veggies are soft, but not mushy. Drain in a colander in the sink. Grate the jack cheese.

Start heating a sauce pan. Give it a few minutes so that it’s piping hot. Proceed to heat up about 25 tortillas – once warmed, put them all in a tortilla warmer or in a tea towel to keep them warm. THIS IS IMPORTANT. If you use cold tortillas, they won’t sop up the enchilada sauce very well, they will not be pliable and will break when you go to roll them. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

This is where you need a kitchen buddy. Set up your assembly line, which at my house, goes from stove to table. On the stove, I have the hot pan on the left and the sauce pan on the right. Then I have a glass casserole dish on the table, then the bowl of potato and zucchini. One person is the dipper, the other is on spoon duty. The dipper should grab a warm tortilla, dip it in the sauce, flipping a few times to make sure it is good and sauced up. Put it at the edge of the glass dish. The second person should get a good scoop (2/3 cup) of the potato/zucchini mixture and put it along the length of the sauced tortilla. Tightly roll it and press it against one side – you’ll want all of these tightly packed so that they hold closed. Fill the whole dish. I usually end up putting 4 the opposite direction to fill the space at the top of the pan. Pour the extra sauce over the top. Sprinkle half the shredded cheese over the top, cover with tin foil and pop it in the oven for 10 minutes. When you take it out, sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top and let it melt. Ready to serve in five minutes. I like to serve beans and rice on the side. Garnish with sour cream (or crema), black olives, diced onion and cilantro.

A note on El Pato: It does not take an advanced student of the Spanish language to deduce that “Salsa de Chile Fresco” does not translate to “Tomato Sauce.” I have no idea what inspired this peculiar translation – the thing to focus on is the color yellow. El Pato also has a sauce with jalapenos that it sells in a red can (there’s a green can sauce too). These are not good substitutes. Look for the yellow! People, Las Palmas will NOT cut it. To put it in California parlance, Las Palmas is weak sauce – literally. El Pato has a great kick – too strong to be used alone, but dilute it with tomato sauce and it’s just right. I have no idea if El Pato is widely available at all Mexican markets – based on a Google search, it looks like it is available at Walmart, so keep an eye out. If you find it, load up, because I can guarantee you’ll want to make these ones again.

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5 Comments

Filed under Los Angeles, Mexico, Recipes

5 responses to “Veggie Mexican Enchiladas: The Platonic Ideal

  1. Joni Angel

    Love this. A couple questions: how did you come up with the choice of filling? I’ve never used potatoes, but it seems like they would hold up better than the mushier vegetables that I usually use, so the potatoes would give the enchiladas a better texture. Do you ever use other vegetables? What about . . . tofu?

    • I can’t even remember exactly how we came up with this filling combo – I’m a big fan of the potatoes just for that reason – they really hold up. Definitely have never tried tofu, but I think you should! And tell me how it goes!

  2. Pingback: Don’t Try This at Home | Sooooo….Cal.

  3. Wonderful website you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any community forums that cover
    the same topics discussed in this article? I’d really love to be a part of online community where I can get responses from other experienced people that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Many thanks!

    • I don’t have a regular go-to site. I’ve used recipes from all sorts of places. I like 101 Cookbooks and often use About.com to get a baseline for a recipe, then look at recipes on other sites to decide what variations to do. On the eating side (as opposed to the cooking), I definitely like the forums on Chowhound. Folks are genuinely passionate about food and have lots of opinions to share! Let me know if you find a good cooking forum!

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