New Mexican Style Enchiladas - Need Southwesterners Opinion
I want to make a layered New Mexican Style Enchiladas casserole. I remember having a layered enchilada dish in AZ that I really liked but cant remember the specifics. I am going for a roasted tomatillo/pepper sauce, carnitas (cooked confit style), and some type of cheese. What I need to know is how wet these things should be, should they be oozing with cheese in between layers, what kind of cheese (oaxacan?). Anything that you remember from your favorite new mexican enchiladas dishes is what I am after.
Most enchiladas in New Mexico tend to be very saucey. They're usually just topped with cheese, rather than cheese in every layer (unless it's a cheese enchilada, obviously).
re: Chimayo Joe
+1 "New Mexican" would be either red or green chile sauce, made from New Mexican chiles, certainly not tomatillos. The amount of cheese is really up to you, it should balance and complement the sauce, not be over the top. How wet too is a matter of choice, I don't like mine dry, but then again enjoy cutting the cold left overs into pieces that are easy to eat by hand. Just as important is using good corn tortillas and dipping them in the sauce (both sides) as you build the dish
I'm a bit confused by your use of the term "casserole". New Mexican stacked enchiladas aren't what I would call a casserole at all. They are made somewhat like rolled enchiladas, in that you soften the tortillas by passing through hot oil and then through the sauce. You then would layer tortilla, meat and whatever else you want, sauce, then tortilla again. Cheese would go only on top. Use what you want, but I would choose a crumbly one. Also, a fried egg, sunny-side up or over easy, on top of the whole thing, is sublime.
The way you assemble the whole thing is to have your filling hot, your sauce hot, and do this quickly. You can put the stacked enchiladas on an oven-proof plate, and stick them in the oven to make sure they are heated on top. Or you can assemble in a skillet with a lid, and once assembled, cover the skillet and heat for a bit. But they aren't cooked all together like a casserole. They should be cooked one stack (serving) at time.
I feel like I really have not done a good job of explaining this the way I want to. Hopefully someone else will fill in the gaps.
I'm thinking what you had may have been more Sonoran than New Mexican, which is reasonable, given that you had it in Arizona. I believe that cuisine also does stacked enchiladas(which may be something that was borrowed from New Mexico.) I know you're more likely to find tomatillos in Sonoran food. White cheeses are more common, too.
Was there much heat in the enchilada dish you had in Arizona? Proper New Mexican food runs pretty hot compared to Sonoran.