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Chili Con Carne for Cheese Enchiladas?

j
jgradieoakes Aug 17, 2009 11:13 AM

I live in New York so I wind up making a lot of my own Tex-Mex at home. I have a basic chile puree down which I use as a base for chili gravy for enchiladas or as an add on to a Wick Fowler's kit which I realize might be heresy to some.

I want to make a chili con carne gravy to use as the sauce for cheese enchiladas. My normal chili recipe doesn't work...too thick/ just too much for the enchiladas.

The Form would be something like The Original in Fort Worth or the con carne you used to get with tamales.

On a related question: where do you guys come down on cheddar vs. American vs. Velveeta or some other cheese sauce in your enchiladas?

Thanks for any tips or suggestions.

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  1. Phurstluv RE: jgradieoakes Aug 17, 2009 12:09 PM

    The enchiladas in SoCal do not have a "cheese sauce" in them. And they will usually use shredded Jack or queso blanco, a mexican soft cheese.

    I like shredded cheddar and jack in my enchiladas. I guess for an Americanized version, velveeta would win out bc it melts so easily.

    Sounds like you want to make a ground meat gravy in which I would use probably less than a whole lb of ground beef, or a mixture of ground beef & pork, then use a potato masher to make the meat, well mashed, so the gravy is smoother than chunky. Is that what you're looking for?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Phurstluv
      j
      jgradieoakes RE: Phurstluv Aug 17, 2009 12:23 PM

      You're on it. I might just give it a shot by cooking up some meat like I would for a taco, mashing it, and mixing it in with the normal enchilada sauce.

      Thanks for the notes on SoCal. I lived there for a few years and realized the regional take on Mexican Food was long on sour cream and the fresh cheeses. And I want to say I remember more black beans than pinto beans. Thanks for the suggestion.

      1. re: jgradieoakes
        Phurstluv RE: jgradieoakes Aug 18, 2009 12:43 PM

        Yes, there are soo many different types of Mexican and Central American cuisines here, and they incorporate the frijoles negroes into everything. Not that that's a bad thing!!

        And, fwiw, I LOVE Tex-Mex cuisine. I love everything Texans cook - Yellow cheese sauce and all!!

    2. danhole RE: jgradieoakes Aug 17, 2009 12:25 PM

      What you want is Chili Gravy - not chili con carne. And as far as the cheese, I think it depends on your personal preferences. I have seen recipes for shredded cheddar, shredded american and velveeta. I think most of the tex mex cheese enchiladas I have had use the american, or should I say the tastiest ones use american, but it could be velveeta - not sure.

      Anyway here is a link to a recipe for the chili gravy and cheese enchildas:

      http://homesicktexan.blogspot.com/200...

      Actually this particular recipe is just like The Original one.

      1 Reply
      1. re: danhole
        shanagain RE: danhole Aug 17, 2009 12:51 PM

        In place of lard or oil, you can also use the drippings from browning 80/20 (or even 73/27) ground beef. Fat, & broth, all in one.

      2. k
        KiltedCook RE: jgradieoakes Aug 18, 2009 08:21 AM

        Where I lived in AZ, NM and CO enchiladas do not come with a meat sauce or cheese sauce. They may be in a pool of red or green sauce or mole poblano and topped with Oaxaca or other soft melting cheese - no yellow stuff unless you're in a gringo joint!

        2 Replies
        1. re: KiltedCook
          j
          jgradieoakes RE: KiltedCook Aug 18, 2009 12:26 PM

          Yeah...Tex-Mex is really it's own thing. AZ and NM have the good Hatch chilies which are amazing. In a lot of Tex-Mex you start with Gebhardt's or some other chili powder, add it to a roux and make what is essentially a chili gravy. And it's shocking...lots of people really prefer Velveeta or cheese that is orange. Diana Kennedy is not kind to this food but it's what I grew up eating.

          1. re: jgradieoakes
            danhole RE: jgradieoakes Aug 18, 2009 01:36 PM

            jgradie - do you have Robb Walsh's Tex Mex Cookbook? If you don't you really should get it. I got one on Amazon for a pretty small price. That is where the recipe I linked to above is from.

        2. r
          Roguewave1 RE: jgradieoakes Jun 3, 2014 11:32 PM

          Run from anything called "chili gravy." Run screaming if you must, but run. True Tex-Mex cheese enchiladas must have chili con carne, and rather thick at that. Bland goo won't do! The best cheese rolled in the middle of the corn tortillas is White American with a bit of the chili, some onions & Hatch Green Chilis mixed in. Chili, cheese and more onions on top, then the broiler. Your Wick Fowler is acceptable, but leave out the chili gravy mess.

          12 Replies
          1. re: Roguewave1
            rudeboy RE: Roguewave1 Jun 4, 2014 10:28 PM

            Funny that you resurrected this ancient thread, because I was thinking about this very subject yesterday. I totally agree on the chile con carne - you gotta have the beef.

            Anyhow, my improved version might not be authentic, but I do love white cheese and poblano stuffed tortillas topped with chile con carne and then more white cheese. Some say that if it isn't yellow, it isn't TexMex. Maybe, but i don't care. I use a nuttier cheese than white american with good melting properties (I would use white american, too).

            But the chile con carne must be done right. The beef should be rendered of the fat that falls of and then ensconced in a good, thickened beef broth with garlic, cumin, chile, and whatever your secret ingredients are.

            1. re: rudeboy
              r
              Roguewave1 RE: rudeboy Jun 5, 2014 02:23 AM

              Unless your cardiologist' accountant smiles, your chili is not right.

              1. re: Roguewave1
                rudeboy RE: Roguewave1 Jun 5, 2014 07:17 AM

                Okay, can you tell me how you make yours? I render the fat so I won't have to consult my cardiologist. Plus, a bunch of grease doesn't add to the flavor like a deep beef base. My cholesterol is pretty high already.

                1. re: rudeboy
                  biondanonima RE: rudeboy Jun 5, 2014 08:15 AM

                  I render the fat from the hamburger and then use that fat to saute onions and make a roux - if I use 85/15 or 80/20 hamburger, I usually have just about the right amount of fat to do both. Using the beef fat to make the roux contributes greatly to the overall flavor, IMO.

                  1. re: rudeboy
                    r
                    Roguewave1 RE: rudeboy Jun 5, 2014 09:21 AM

                    I use a chili-grind of a cut of beef, mock tender, which has very little gristle and fat...a trick I learned in chili contests where your chili is judged with one bite and if that bite has gristle in it you loose. A bit of suet while browning the meat is best.

                    Of course, competition chili and enchilada chili are very different. Competition chili must "knock your socks off (with flavor, not heat)," and enchilada chili needs to be creamier and milder, but the choice of mock tender, if your butcher will supply it, is optimum. Chuck is what many use (always chili-grind; never simple ground) and rendered in that case is a must. In any case, true beef chili makes cardiologist' accountants smile, but not as big as my own smile. Chili con carne...food of the gods. I would rather die eating it than die wanting it. Sadly, its use in restaurant enchilada prep is almost a lost art. Now, even in San Antonio, where I now live, the orangey chili-gravy goo is what is ubiquitous for the dish. Reprehensible.

                    1. re: Roguewave1
                      biondanonima RE: Roguewave1 Jun 5, 2014 09:34 AM

                      Oh, sorry, I think we were talking about two different things. The method I posted was for making chili gravy, specifically for Texas-style enchiladas and for no other purpose. For an actual chili con carne that I would eat by the bowlful, I have an entirely different approach.

                      1. re: biondanonima
                        rudeboy RE: biondanonima Jun 5, 2014 01:05 PM

                        Yes, biondanomina, I thought that the OP was asking about carne gravy for enchiladas.

                        1. re: rudeboy
                          biondanonima RE: rudeboy Jun 5, 2014 01:27 PM

                          Yes, the OP was asking about chili gravy, but Roguewave was referring to a chili con carne recipe that he prefers for enchiladas and when you asked about his recipe, I thought you were looking for a chili gravy recipe that includes the fat from the ground beef, rather than his chili con carne recipe. That will teach me to read too fast! I hope my reply re: chili gravy was helpful though!

                          1. re: rudeboy
                            r
                            Roguewave1 RE: rudeboy Jun 5, 2014 02:33 PM

                            I disagree with what I take for biondanomina's point. For my tastes, chili for cheese enchiladas is basically the same as what you eat from a bowl. Making a "chili-gravy" and adding some taco piccadillo to it and calling it "chili con carne," as so many Tex-Mex restaurants are now doing, is giving lip service to the real thing and is beyond regrettable.

                            I do agree that chili contests are fun, but the chili you find there is not what you really want to eat. For one thing, the rules allow only 1 1/2 hr. for preparation. Good chili takes longer than that, and is better the next day. As I pointed out above, competition chili is designed to impress with a single bite and a meal of the stuff will stun a palate, so chili you would sit and eat is different. I like a variety of good chili concoctions, and a bit heretical for a Texan, I even like some tomato sauce and pinto beans in a bowl of the stuff. Of course beans in the enchilada chili is not allowed, and in any case, kidney beans in any chili is a hanging offense - too sweet and the skin is just not right.

                            Now, I'm going to get really heretical. Here's something really easy if you have a Sam's Club near you. Go to Sam's and get a big jug of Original Chili Bowl© brand chili from Tulsa, Okla. out of their freezer. If the Sams near you does not carry it, get the manager to order it. It will sell like hot cakes. It is absolutely the best prepared chili around. About $9 for 5 lbs. Make a 2 lb. recipe of Wick Fowler's mentioned above with mock tender in my post above and mix the two. This will yield a big pot of chili suitable for separating into freezer containers for easy throw-down chili. Use for enchiladas as needed. The Chili Bowl chili adds body and smoothness and the Wick Fowler's adds robust flavor and savory chunks of meat to combine perfectly.

                            I like to make stacked rather than rolled enchiladas because I am glutinous for these things. Find an oven-proof bowl a bit smaller than a corn tortilla and cut three of them to just fit. Spray with Pam, and layer with chili, chopped hatch green chilies, onions (I like reconstituted dried onion flakes) & cheese. Bake at 350⁰ ~20 minutes.

                            Call the emergency room as you pop in the oven and make an appointment. Or, if you are near Dallas, you could just visit Tupinamba Restaurant on Inwood Rd. and have them serve you great cheese enchiladas.

                            1. re: Roguewave1
                              biondanonima RE: Roguewave1 Jun 5, 2014 02:45 PM

                              My point was not that chili con carne (that I would eat from a bowl) is wrong for enchiladas - I've had enchiladas in restaurants that were made this way and really enjoyed them. However, the enchiladas I grew up eating were made with chili gravy, and I love them that way too, and therefore I don't think of chili gravy as being inferior to chili con carne - just different. I would never serve chili gravy from a bowl, though - to me it's for enchiladas only, and a very specific type of enchiladas at that.

                            2. re: rudeboy
                              r
                              Roguewave1 RE: rudeboy Jun 5, 2014 06:24 PM

                              I disagree with what I take for biondanomina's point. For my tastes, chili for cheese enchiladas is basically the same as what you eat from a bowl. Making a "chili-gravy" and adding some taco piccadillo to it and calling it "chili con carne," as so many Tex-Mex restaurants are now doing, is giving lip service to the real thing and is beyond regrettable.

                              I do agree that chili contests are fun, but the chili you find there is not what you really want to eat. For one thing, the rules allow only 1 1/2 hr. for preparation. Good chili takes longer than that, and is better the next day. As I pointed out above, competition chili is designed to impress with a single bite and a meal of the stuff will stun a palate, so chili you would sit and eat is different. I like a variety of good chili concoctions, and a bit heretical for a Texan, I even like some tomato sauce and pinto beans in a bowl of the stuff. Of course beans in the enchilada chili is not allowed, and in any case, kidney beans in any chili is a hanging offense - too sweet and the skin is just not right.

                              Now, I'm going get really heretical. Here's something really easy if you have a Sam's Club near you. Go to Sam's and get a big jug of Original Chili Bowl© brand chili from Tulsa, Okla. out of their freezer. If the Sams near you does not carry it, get the manager to order it. It will sell like hot cakes. It is absolutely the best prepared chili around. About $9 for 5 lbs. Make a 2 lb. recipe of Wick Fowler's mentioned above with mock tender in my post above and mix the two. This will yield a big pot of chili suitable for separating into freezer containers for easy throw-down chili. Use for enchiladas as needed.

                              I like to make stacked rather than rolled enchiladas because I am glutinous for these things. Find an oven-proof bowl a bit smaller than a corn tortilla and cut three of them to just fit. Spray with Pam, and layer with chili, chopped hatch green chilies, onions (I like reconstituted dried onion flakes) & cheese. Bake at 350⁰ ~20 minutes.

                          2. re: Roguewave1
                            rudeboy RE: Roguewave1 Jun 5, 2014 01:08 PM

                            I'm not a big fan of food competitions. Can you share your preparation for chile con carne that tops a cheese enchilada in the TexMex fashion? I'm dying to know.

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