Thursday, August 9, 2012

Picture, Deconstruct, Construct, Eat.

A question I get asked sometimes is, "How do you come up with your recipes?" One of the ways is by working backwards; first I picture the completed dish in my mind's eye. Then I mentally deconstruct it via ingredients and cooking techniques. I write it all down, so as I now attempt to construct the recipe from scratch, I can make adjustments and notes. After the actual dish is completed, I eat it and see how I did. Nine times out of ten; it's a winner. Picture, deconstruct, construct and eat.

So it went with this latest recipe from my mind's eye, Ground Beef Enchiladas. I was originally going to be lazy and just make a simple meatloaf. No, I couldn't do that, as I knew I needed to keep trying out new recipes to keep this blog fresh. Next thing I thought about was having Mexican, but what to make? Then the picture in my mind came and a recipe was born.

For the enchilada sauce, I used the recipe from my Chicken Enchiladas, but I increased the tomato sauce to 30 ounces, the cream to 3/4 of a cup which made for a redder in color, not as creamy sauce.

Oh, little hint here; don't forget to spray both dishes with the nonstick cooking spray. In my haste, I forgot to do one of the dishes; happily only one of the enchiladas stuck badly. What a relief!

Ground Beef Enchiladas


2 lb lean ground beef (90% or leaner)
1 cup diced onion
2 Tbsp crushed dried cilantro
1 tsp crushed dried Mexican oregano
1 Tbsp mild New Mexico chili powder
1 ½ cups canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 ½ cups canned whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed
3 cups canned diced tomatoes; drained and divided in half
½ cup diced chile peppers (mild, medium or hot)
10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
4 cups enchilada sauce
1 (12 oz) bag shredded Mexican cheese mix


In a large skillet, medium-high heat, brown the ground beef and onion together until meat is no longer pink; drain any excess fat. Mix in cilantro, oregano, chili powder, beans, corn, half the tomatoes and chile peppers; let cook together for 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F; spray a 4 quart and 3 quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spread one cup of meat mixture in center of tortilla.

Fold up two sides until they meet and overlap ¼ of an inch.

Fold up top and bottom over seam to make an almost square packet, being careful not to split the tortilla; place in baking dish seam side down. Six will fit in the 4 quart; 4 in the 3 quart comfortably. (Not one of them complained of overcrowding)

Pour 3 cups enchilada sauce over all the packets; spread cheese over evenly; pour remaining sauce overall.

Sprinkle remaining half of tomatoes overall. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for one hour. They will puff up slightly from the steam generated in the covered dish; and it's a beautiful thing to behold.

Makes 10 servings.

Mary Cokenour

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