When it comes to Mexican food in Ireland, there is always one massive bee in my bonnet: the twisted concept of an 'enchilada' which has been pushed by crappy commercial food companies that disguise themselves as Mexican Food experts. The yellow and red company who sells mass produced packets of enchilada kits in supermarkets across Ireland and the UK hasn't a clue of what an enchilada is, so I'm gonna set the record straight here. Basically, an enchilada involves a good quality corn tortilla which has been dipped into a nice warm bath of a cooked dried chili sauce (many versions of this sauce exist), then stuffed with a filling of cheese or meat and rolled. It is then topped again with some sauce, cheese and served with refried beans, lightly fried carrots & potatoes and salad. The word enchilada literally means 'covered in chili'.
An Entomatada (meaning covered in tomato), is a similar thing, however it is actually covered with tomato sauce that has been cooked with some fresh chili. So what people have been buying in those kits are definitely not enchiladas but some sort of entomatada with wheat wraps, which are awful and not Mexican at all.
So here's my homemade Entomatada recipe. I made mine with a cheese & onion filling, but you can also boil some chicken in water with a bay leaf and a full garlic clove, shred it when it is fully cooked and fill yours with chicken. Either way, they are quick to make, delicious and full of fresh wholesome ingredients. No sachets of dehydrated stuff, added flavours, colourings or preservatives: just pure lovely tomatoes and fresh chilies. Enjoy!!
Note: this sauce is very mild, if you like it hotter, add a bit more chili to it. If you're concerned about the heat, only use half the chili, make the sauce, taste it and add a bit more if you want.
Start by making the sauce:
Put the tomatoes, garlic, chili, water and vegetable stock cube in a blender or food processor and liquidized/blitz till you have a sooth sauce.
Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a non-stick pan, add the onion and cook for 2 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Pour the liquidized sauce and cook at medium heat, stirring occasionally until the tomato sauce has changed to a deeper colour and reduced and thickened a little, approximately 10 minutes. Season with salt and set aside. While the sauce is cooking, start making your filling.
To Make the Filling:
crumbled the Feta cheese into a bowl and mix it with the chopped onion. This will make a lovely vegetarian filling. Once the sauce is made and the filling is ready, you can start making your entomatadas.
Making the Entomatadas:
Heat half the vegetable oil in a small, non-stick pan at medium to high heat. Drop a corn tortilla into the hot oil for about 15 seconds and using an egg lifter and a fork, quickly, but gently turn it to the other side for another 15 seconds. Don't leave it too long or the tortilla will go crispy and it will be impossible to roll. What you are trying to do here is to heat the tortilla and make it flexible enough for rolling. Lift the tortilla from the pan and gently shake any excess oil. Repeat this step, topping up the oil every now and then, until all your corn tortillas are heated making sure to overlap them in the plate to keep them warm.
You are now ready to assemble the entomatadas. I recommend you assemble them directly into the individual plates you're going to serve them on, as authentic Mexican entomatadas do not require any baking.
Take one of the oily warm tortillas and place it into a warm plate. Take a generous spoonful of the cheese & onion filling and put it in the top half of the tortilla. Using your fingers, roll the tortilla carefully and move it to the edge of the plate to make room for the next one. Repeat the process until you have two plates of lovely, golden cheese tacos in front of you.
If you are worrried about keeping them hot, you can make the first plate and place it in a warmed oven while you get on rolling the next set of tacos. This works well when you're feeding loads of people.
When you are ready to serve, check that your tomato sauce is still hot, then take a plate of warm tacos and pour a generous amount of the tomato sauce over them. Make sure to crumble any leftovers of feta cheese on top and serve with a side of warm refried beans and some lettuce.
There you have it. A proper, authentic and delicious entomatada (not enchilada) from scratch: simple, healthy and super tasty! No more packaged stuff for you! Go native and try what the real dish tastes like.