During the weeks we have the kids in the house, enchiladas are almost guaranteed at least one night a week. The filling always varies with whatever I’ve got on hand or had planned on ahead (usually the first option…). Last night I tried making tofu enchiladas, which seemed to go over well. Some other favorite fillings have been potato, corn, and cheese; spinach and cheese; roasted anaheim peppers and cheese; fresh tomatoes and sweet corn; veggie ground “beef.” I think most of the mystique about enchiladas in our house, especially for the kids, is the sauce. While I’ve made homemade enchilada sauce a number of times, we often have a pantry stocked with canned Hatch Red and Green sauces. They’re easy, quick, and with everything else being homemade it’s one less complicated step in making enchiladas for dinner.
I do get store-bought corn tortillas now and then, usually when I know I’ll be short on time or have a trillion other things going on as well. Homemade isn’t too difficult though, it just takes a little time. The taste, however, far exceeds any store bought variety I’ve tried. They’re easier to work with than the store bought types… and you also don’t need to flash-cook them in oil to soften them up. If you have the time, opt for making your own tortillas. It’s worth the effort.
3 cups masa harina *
1½ cups very warm water
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. sunflower or any light oil (optional)
* Masa is the traditional Mexican dough used to make corn tortillas. The corn ground into this particular type of flour has been washed in limewater. Masa harina is dried and ground masa. It can be found in Mexican markets… or here in Ashland, I can find it in the grocery store next to the other types of flour. Don’t confuse this with cornmeal. They aren’t the same.
Preheat a stovetop griddle or comal to high heat. Do not grease.
Combine the masa harina and sea salt in a large bowl. Mix in the oil. Using your hands, add in the water about half a cup at a time. Continue to add the water until it’s completely incorporated. The dough is ready when it’s soft and smooth, but not sticky.
For the following step, I use a half-gallon Ziploc bag that has been slit on the left and right sides, left intact at the bottom (so it opens up completely) but you can also use two pieces of wax paper to roll the tortillas on. Place a large golf ball sized round of dough on one side of the plastic bag. Fold the other side of the bag over your dough and press down lightly.
Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a circle, about 6½ inches in diameter, and ¼ inch thick (or slightly thinner). You don’t need to use a huge amount of pressure while rolling; the dough is very soft and malleable.
Peel the tortilla gently from the plastic bag (or wax paper). Place tortilla on the heated griddle. Allow the tortilla to cook for about 45 seconds to 1 minute. You don’t want to brown it, but you do want a light crisp texture on the outside. Flip and cook the other side also 45 seconds to 1 minute. Keep in a tightly covered container until ready to use (this will help to “steam” the tortillas as they wait and they’ll soften back up).
Yields about 14- 6½ inch tortillas
Tofu and Cheese Enchiladas
1- 14 oz. block of firm tofu
½ an onion, diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
1 tsp. sea salt
1½ tsp. ground cumin
1½ tsp. granulated garlic
¼ tsp. smoked paprika
½ tsp. fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
2- 15 oz. cans red enchilada sauce (I use Hatch’s Medium Red)
1½ cups shredded monterey jack cheese
¾ cup shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
12 – 16 corn tortillas (my homemade tortillas are often bigger than the store bought kinds, so I end up needing less of them…)
In a medium sized pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion and bell pepper until they’re both soft and the onion’s somewhat translucent.
Use your hands to break up the tofu into small crumbles and add to the onion/pepper mix. Add in the salt, cumin, garlic, paprika, cilantro, and pepper. Stir well and allow the mixture to cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The tofu will turn a light golden color and will firm up in texture. Keep on low heat while you are waiting to assemble your enchiladas.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Combine all the shredded cheeses together in one bowl. Either use a 9×13 inch pan, or two 9-inch square baking pans. Pour half of the enchilada sauce from one can into one of the 9-inch square pans, half into the other pan. (The whole can, if using a 9×13 inch pan.) Place one tortilla in the sauce and turn to coat it.
Place about 2 tbsp. of tofu filling in the center of the tortilla. Add a good-sized pinch of cheese on top of it. Roll the tortilla up. Continue doing this with all the filling and remaining tortillas.
Once you’ve got all the enchiladas rolled up, evenly pour the second can of enchilada sauce over the tops to coat them (make sure to get the edges really well, as they always tend to dry out quicker than any other part of the enchilada).
Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the tops of the enchiladas.
Bake for approximately 20 minutes. Serve with beans and rice, sour cream, and avocado slices.