|4 Generations - My Grandma the youngest.|
Once a month on a Sunday all of our families would get together and make our Great Grandparents enchilada recipe. My Grandmother manned the stove, My Mother and her sisters the passing of plates, the oven and the managing of the girls. Then us, the girls, as we grew old enough to sit at the table and roll hot tortillas filled with seasoned meat, tomatoes and cheese. This is the way it was for as long as I can remember. I have fond memories of watching the older ladies talk amongst themselves, sipping hot coffee while they made our family tradition a dance on kitchen tiles. I could barely look over the table standing when I first got to roll the tortillas with them, an initiation of sorts into the secret society of our family's women.
The tradition almost died with my Grandmother, years ago, although my Mother and her older sister still try to carry it on. We once were able to get three generations at the table with my Mother in my Grandmother's place at the head of the stove. It takes a family to make the enchiladas, no one person can do it alone. It's simple, nothing restaurant fancy, just something passed down from generation to generation for over half a century. I cannot give you my families secret spice to make them as we have all these years, but I can give you the basic form to which you can include your own family's touch and perhaps carry them down the long road of history with you.
What You Need
1 lb of Hamburger
2 tiny cans of Green Chilies
1 large white Onion
3 Cans of Whole Tomatoes
Lots of Cheddar Cheese ( at least 2 bags shredded)
3 Bags of Tortillas
1 cup of Canola or Vegetable Oil
Pre-Heat the oven to 350'.
Brown the hamburger with the 2 cans of green chilies and 1/4 of the large white onion. Once the hamburger is browned pour the contents into a large bowl.
In another large bowl pour the bags of shredded cheese. Or you can shred the cheese yourself as we had. You want at least half of a large bowl of cheese.
Chop the rest of the onion and place it into another bowl and set all three bowls on the table.
Have plates ready to pass between the stove and the table. Have cake pans or baking dishes ready to place the enchiladas in and move into the stove. You need at least three people, one to work the stove, one to pass the plates to the table and one to roll.
Heat 1 cup of oil in one skillet and in a second skillet squash the whole tomatoes with the juice until it is soupy. You should have both the skillet with the oil and the skillet with the tomatoes side by side.
Once the skillets are simmering take one tortilla and place it into the oil, count to three and flip it, count to three and then take it out and set it into the tomato skillet. Pat it down on each side, turning it over once, and then place it on a plate. When you have done three tortillas have the person pass the plate to the table and get a new plate. You can't roll them if there are any more than three to a plate. You also cannot make them all and then roll because they will cool and the tortillas will be impossible to roll as they will break apart.
Once the person at the table receives the plate of three tortillas they must roll quickly. They're steaming hot but if they cool down they'll fall apart. We always used our hands so these measurements are a little odd. (Make sure you wash your hands.) Add a palmful of Hamburger to one tortilla, a pinch of onion and a palmful of cheese then roll the tortilla tightly without breaking it. Place the tortilla into an ungreased cake pan and then repeat. Once the cake pan is full set aside and fill another.
Once all the cake pans are filled, top the enchiladas off with the leftover tomatoes from the skillet, the hamburger, cheese and onion. Bake them for at least 30 minutes or until the cheese is thoroughly melted. Cool and serve.
Happy Cinco De Mayo!