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Making enchiladas with flour tortillas

g
Gracemama Sep 4, 2012 04:15 AM

I was born in the US, and grew up in a low-income neighborhood, surrounded by Mexican families, where our next door neighbors sometimes sent over a steaming stack of fresh tortillas (and where hunch backed Mexican grannies often literally peddled hot, fresh, homemade tamales door to door without being able to speak a word of English, just to make a bit of extra income for their struggling families). These childhood memories probably have something to do with the fact that I still LOVE, and crave, my Mexican food....in spite of the fact that I now live in a small village in Central Europe. You can picture the situation; When I want a bean burrito, I have to make my own flour tortillas from scratch, and my own refried beans starting with dry beans. Etcetera. But it's worth it. Like, I said, I love and crave it. But on to my present dilemma.
I am making enchiladas for my husband's birthday tomorrow, but sadly there will be no corn tortillas. Masa harina is impossible to come by here. I have tried to do tortillas from corn flour made without slaked lime, but it's hopeless. So, yes, enchiladas with flour tortillas...
I know (from experience) that they will be a bit gooey/gluey. I am just trying to figure out a way to, at least, somewhat reduce that effect. And I knew chowhounds would be the right people to help me brainstorm.
So far, I was thinking about skipping the dunking of each tortilla in sauce before rolling, instead stuffing and rolling them up dry and placing them that way in a lightly oiled casserole, then pouring the sauce just over the top and sides. Would that work? Any thoughts on that? Or should I lightly fry my homemade flour tortillas in oil before stuffing +rolling. Any insights here would be much appreciated! Thanks in advance.

  1. d
    dkenworthy Sep 4, 2012 06:50 AM

    Oh, my heart bleeds for you. I had a friend from Texas who lived in New Zealand back in the eighties. He grew everything he needed to make Mexican food, because nothing was available there. Down to growing field corn, drying it, slaking it, and grinding it.

    Maybe something like Chimichangas would work? Fill the flour tortillas like a burrito, fry, and serve the sauce at the table? Not enchiladas, but could be good.

    If you are set on something truly "enchilada" like, I would dry griddle the flour tortillas rather than fry them. Fill them, sauce them bake them until just hot. Good luck

    1. p
      pine time Sep 4, 2012 07:15 AM

      Consider making an enchilada casserole instead. I've found that layering flour tortillas between all the fillings somehow negates a bit of the gluey factor--maybe there's less tortilla in each forkful? Just a thought...

      And I certainly feel for you--hubs is Indian, and we married long before ready-made chapattis were available (not to mention finding spices or cilantro). Used to make 'em from scratch nearly every day, along with from scratch wrappers for samosas. Oh, what we go through to make the food we want!!

      1. d
        Dirtywextraolives Sep 4, 2012 09:23 AM

        Yes, you are on the right track. Don't dunk the tortillas first and just stuff & roll them dry. I have done that before. I wouldn't fry them first either, that may make them too dry & split easily. I would just pour sauce or salsa on the top, but not around the sides. If they are swimming in sauce, they will get mushy.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Dirtywextraolives
          Crockett67 Sep 4, 2012 10:52 AM

          I second this. Some of the enchiladas we made at Don Pablos (hey while a chain we made almost every thing from scratch) were with flour tortillas.

          Best would be have your filling hot and your sauce hot and assemble a few per plate as you eat them rather than baking them ahead of time. Do not dip the flour tortilla before filling them.

        2. a
          AlkieGourmand Sep 4, 2012 10:28 AM

          For what it's worth, I like fresh flour tortillas more than fresh corn tortillas. I love the gluiness of fresh flour tortillas and think they are superior with melted cheese. Of course, sauce can make them a little soggy, but this hasn't stopped many a fine TexMex restaurant from serving burritos "ranchero style."

          1. biondanonima Sep 4, 2012 10:39 AM

            My mom's recipe for enchiladas calls for flour tortillas - the slight gumminess is part of what I love about them. However, she doesn't dip the tortillas - she just coats the bottom of the pan with a little sauce, then places the filled, rolled enchiladas in the pan and pours more sauce over. Put them immediately into the oven and you're good to go. I make her recipe from time to time and I've found that by adding a thin layer of refried beans to the insides, you reduce the gumminess factor even further (although I still prefer the original beanless recipe!).

            1. chefj Sep 4, 2012 10:42 AM

              I would fill and roll the tortillas, lightly oil and bake till crisp on the outside. Have sauce already hot, sauce the "flautas" down the center, sprinkle with cheese and pass under the broiler till melted. Serve extra sauce on side.
              This way most of the tortilla keeps its texture and all the sauce will not be absorbed. It is important that the sauce not be in contact with the tortillas for a long time.

              1 Reply
              1. re: chefj
                tiffeecanoe Sep 4, 2012 12:04 PM

                This was going to be my exact suggestion! Good luck...I hope they turn out well!

              2. mucho gordo Sep 4, 2012 06:59 PM

                I've always used burrito size flour tortillas. Warm them up for about 30 seconds in the microwave, spread a dollop of sauce on them, add the innards and wrap.

                1. g
                  Gracemama Sep 5, 2012 12:49 PM

                  You guys are great!!! Thanks for all the timely replies.
                  Enchiladas came out marvelously, were a big hit.
                  For the record, what I ended up doing is detailed below.
                  Made a dry-sauce filling instead of a saucier one like I did ony last foray into making flour tortilla enchiladas.
                  Made a slightly thick-pouring sauce, nothing unusual really, in other words, just NOT the thin red vinegar water sold as enchilada sauce by certain pseudo-mexican brands in the US( which I suspect would have gummed up even my best attempts)...
                  Made my fresh flour tortillas. Did not dunk them in sauce pre-stuffing and rolling.
                  While they were still hot off the dry griddle, stuffed and rolled them, packed them snugly in a lightly oiled baking pan, and lightly oiled the tops.
                  Put them without sauce in oven preheated to about 425 F.
                  Checked them after 13 min and was appauled to find out the edges of the tortillas were aldready getting brown.
                  Panicked and ending up dousing them with far more sauce than I'd planned on. (I was worried the edges would burn if I left them dry while I waited for my cheese to melt, so I basically flooded them in true enchilada style.)
                  Sprinkled with cheese and returned to oven.(No broiler setting on our oven)
                  Removed after several minutes when sauce was bubbling and cheese was melted. Bit nails, thinking I'd ruined the situation with the major sauce drenching.
                  Not so! Thanks to the other precautions, they survived the sauce drenching wonderfully!(and were all the more enchiladas for it.)
                  Came out delicious(searingly spicy-the way we like them at our house) a little crispy where they had browned pre-saucing, and believe it or not, not at all, not even a little bit gumny or gluey. Thank you chowhounds! The only thing that wasn't perfect was the bottom, where there was the double layer of dry tortilla; that turned out a bit tough/leathery. I had imagined it getting golden and lightly crispy while baking in the oiled pan, but it didn't end up happening that way. I think next time I will try what someone mentioned their mother doing: spreading a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the casserole before filling with the dry-rolled tortillas. And that is the only thing I will do differently next time.
                  So, to break it down for anyone else trying to make non-gluey flour tortilla enchiladas, I think the two main points are:
                  -The not dipping the tortillas in sauce before filling +rolling up and
                  -The delayed pouring on of the enchilada sauce, just towards the end of baking.
                  A thicker sauce and a dryer filling probably help as well. Happy cooking!

                  PS
                  I liked hearing from those who like their flour tortillas gummy. Although enchiladas are not an example for me, I also have a soft spot for certain gummy/gluey foods, ie sticky rice, certain preperations of oatmeal, and various dumplings.
                  Also loved hearing about the kindred spirits trying to recreate the flavors of home though far from it- the poster married to a Desi, the guy in NZ growing, slaking and grinding his own corn to make a bloody tortilla!!!! LOL! That is awesome. Truly hardcore.
                  Thanks all.

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