Lemons Lemons are one of my favorite flavor enhancers but you need to be careful of the white pith. If you cook the pith, it turns very bitter. Cooking the rind or pulp is fine but never use the pith or seeds. I remember discovering this disturbing fact cooking chicken piccata for the first time. I thought I could enhance the flavor by cooking lemon slices in the sauce but instead I got a bitter taste I couldn't correct with sugar.
My Favorite Pan My favorite pan is a twenty dollar cast iron pan. I remember vividly how my step-father coveted his iron pan and warned us about not using soap to clean it. Seasoned and maintained properly, an iron pan can last forever. It is better than any non stick pan and far more durable. It's thick base holds heat better than any pan in my arsenal and prevents food from burning by dispersing the heat.
My stepfather taught me how to make these enchiladas. It's his mother's recipe and man is it good! I've tweaked it a little over the years by adding Fire Roasted Green Chiles but other than that, it's essentially the same. I could literally eat an entire casserole dish of these rolled up spicy, cheesy bundles of traditional Mexican flavor. Add some refried beans and rice and you have a complete meal that will fill up your family for sure!
An important step to the structural integrity of the corn tortillas is frying them in oil since they will be dipped in enchilada sauce and then rolled. If you don't deep fry them, they will fall apart. The trick is getting them just barely crispy so they can still be rolled without tears forming. You need just enough oil so the tortilla floats but you will need to add more as you cook because the oil will be absorbed into the tortillas. Set the burner to medium high and the process won't take long, maybe 20 to 30 seconds per tortilla, at most. When the tortilla starts filling with steam and puffing up a little on the surface, flip it. It should be a little brown around the edges. The second side will likely take less time so don't daydream. I like to get the next tortilla ready to go before the current one is done and then drain the cooked tortilla while it is cooking.
Once the tortillas have cooled, you are ready to roll them. Pour a thin layer of enchilada sauce on the bottom of the 10.25 by 14.75 inch Casserole Pan or the closest you have to that size. I prefer Pyrex dish ware myself but any type of pan with tall edges will work. I like the fact that Pyrex is so hard to break and you can see if the casserole is bubbling through the side. Everyone should have a few sizes of Pyrex casserole dishes in my opinion.
Submerge each tortilla in enchilada sauce so all sides are covered and pile all the ingredients along the center. It doesn't really matter what order you place the ingredients in the tortilla, just make sure you have the proper amount of filling. Too little filling and you have a tasteless tortilla. Too much filling and it's hard to roll. However, I would err on the side of too much since these enchiladas will be crammed together in a single pan and merge as they cook. No need to worry about the enchiladas remaining separate as this is a casserole.
I prefer Las Palmas Enchilada Sauce but, to be honest, I haven't tried any other brands. I guess we like what we grow up eating. The only way I can really gauge the the superiority of this sauce is by the reaction of the people eating my food. I've never really wanted to try another brand or even make my own sauce from scratch. It's really that good! Coming from a guy who dehydrates homegrown red chili, that's saying a lot! By the way, I prefer the medium but choose the heat profile that suits your taste buds.
Bake the enchiladas in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sides are bubbling. Serve with a garnish of sour cream. Other garnishes could include hot sauce and cilantro. A side of refried beans and Mexican rice would also be nice but those recipes are for another time.
Fry tortillas on medium high heat in a shallow pool of vegetable oil. Fry approximately 10 to 15 seconds per side till golden around the edges. Let cool.
Dip each tortilla in Las Palmas Enchilada Sauce and pile on cheese, olives, onions and green chiles. Roll and place in 10.5 by 14.75 inch casserole pan.
Bake the enchiladas at 350 degree Fahrenheit for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and sides are bubbling.
Even though the barriers between enchiladas have blurred, I still try to stay between the lines when scooping as it makes for a better presentation. Garnish with sour cream, cilantro and hot sauce. You can even add some avocado slices if you like.