Recipe: 'Enchiladas Dan Jenkins'
Do it the real Tex-Mex way ... with Velveeta.
Laurie Smith © 2012
According to Dan Jenkins, a Fort Worth, Texas, native and former sportswriter for Sports Illustrated, cheese enchiladas made with Velveeta and topped with chili con carne — not a thin, meatless chili gravy or authentic enchilada sauce — are the hallmark of real Tex-Mex.
Makes 24 enchiladas (serves 8 to 12)
½ cup lard
24 yellow corn tortillas
1 pound Velveeta cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 large white onions, minced
6 cups Chili con Carne Sauce (recipe below)
1 pound cheddar cheese, shredded
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
In a small skillet, heat the lard over medium-high heat for 3 minutes, until it shimmers. Using tongs, place a tortilla in the hot fat. (If the tortilla does not bubble immediately, the lard is not hot enough.) Heat the tortilla for 30 seconds, until soft and lightly brown. Using the tongs, transfer the tortilla to paper towels to cool before handling. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
Have the cheeses, onions, tortillas, and sauce handy for assembly. Place a tortilla flat on a work surface. Spoon about ¼ cup of the Velveeta cheese in a line down the center of the tortilla and top the cheese with about 1 tablespoon of the onion. Roll up the tortilla, enclosing the cheese and onion, and place seam side down in two 9-by-12-inch baking dishes. Continue filling and rolling the tortillas until the baking dish is full, then repeat with the remaining tortillas and cheese, filling in the next baking dish. Pour an equal amount of the sauce into each dish, spreading it evenly over the enchiladas. Sprinkle the sauced enchiladas with the cheddar cheese, dividing it evenly.
Bake for about 10 minutes, until the cheese on top begins to bubble. Remove from the oven, top with the remaining onion, and serve immediately.
Variation: Top with a fried egg.
Chili con Carne Sauce
Heat the lard in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat, onion, and garlic and sauté, breaking up the meat with the side of a wooden spoon or spatula, for 5 to 7 minutes, until lightly colored. Add the tomato sauce, hot water, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and pepper sauce, stirring well, and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to a simmer and simmer for about 1 hour, until the meat is tender. As the sauce cooks, skim off any fat that forms on the surface, and add water if needed to maintain a good consistency.
In a cup or small bowl, dissolve 1 tablespoon or so of flour in a little warm water to form a thin paste. Add the slurry to the sauce and stir constantly until smooth and thickened. Season with salt to taste. Use immediately or let cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Makes about 6 cups
1 teaspoon lard or vegetable oil
2 pounds ground chuck
1 cup chopped white onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup hot water
1 tablespoon chili powder
½ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Several dashes of red hot-pepper sauce
All-purpose flour, for thickening
Recipes reprinted with permission from Texas Eats: The New Lone Star Heritage Cookbook, with More than 200 Recipes by Robb Walsh, © 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House Inc.