It has been a while since I last visited Oklahoma but oh how I love this southwestern state. Several years ago, my family was headed out for a family vacation out west. Cue: National Lampoons Vacation theme song. I had just turned 16 and had my permit. My dad let me drive several hours from Weatherford, Oklahoma to Santa Fe, New Mexico, our final destination. I was thrilled to drive plus I went through three states. The landscape was so vast and so different than the Kentucky and Tennessee landscape. I immediately feel in love with the long distance views, sage brush, and cattle ranches. I went back to Oklahoma City ten years lafter my first excursion to the southwest and took a group of students to a national competition. The city was vast and expansive compared to my earlier memories as a 16 year old. Isn’t it funny looking back at our perceptions of life compared to now? I am so curious how my 60 year old self will see this 40 year old.
While in Oklahoma, I made sure we tried the best of the best in the city. We went to museums and stockyards. We tried amazing steak houses, wild game, and some of the best enchiladas to this day.
Being a young teacher, competing in a national competition had my nerves going everywhere. We asked our hotel attendant where we could find the best Tex-Mex food near our hotel. Without hesitation, she told us of a small local restaurant that was once a home. We pulled into the gravel lot in the back of the house unsure if we were in the right place. Several folks were already there at 5 pm for supper which made me feel better. We sat down at mix-matched tables and chairs which by today’s standard is eclectic. However, in 2005, this was unique to say the least. The menu was a two sided sheet of paper and I ordered the house special, enchiladas. They were baked and stuffed to the brim with chorizo, onions, beans, cheese, and a homemade enchilada sauce. You know that feeling when you first bite into something delicious and you know that you just lost all internal control to stop eating. Well, I ate way too much and asked our waitress for the recipe of the enchilada sauce. When she brought it out to me, I had no clue how easy it was to make your own sauce instead of buying can. If you have these ingredients pictured below, you can make it at home.
It by far changed how I approached cooking sauces. I assumed it was so much easier to just by the can already done but most sauces are this simple.
Homemade Enchilada Sauce
1 can of tomato sauce
3 Tbsp of chili powder
2 Tbsp of cumin powder
1 Tbsp of garlic powder
1 Tbsp of oregano
Mix all ingredients on the stove top and bring to a boil, reduce and simmer. You can even do this in the microwave if you are running behind on time. One other tip – if you like your sauce to be thicker, you can add a bit of flour to thicken it up while cooking. We like ours thin.
I double this batch to make an extra one to put in the freezer
You will need a 9 x 13 pan and preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
1 lb of ground chorizo, pork, beef, or turkey (we like ground chorizo)
1 can, drained kidney beans (you can use black beans if you prefer)
1 red onion sliced
1 Tbsp of minced garlic
1 Tbsp of chili powder
1 Tbsp of cumin
1 tsp of oregano
1 Tbsp of fresh chopped cilantro (reserve some for garnish)
Homemade Enchilada Sauce
2 cups of shredded Monterey Jack and Cheddar Cheese
1 Tbsp olive oil
Start by spraying your 9 x 13 pan with a non-stick spray, pour enough enchilada sauce to barely cover the bottom of the pan. Next, put oil in your skillet and cook ground chorizo, garlic and onion together until done. Drain and place in a bowl. Add your beans. Add remaining seasoning. Add 1/2 cup of cheese and mix all ingredients together.
Get your assembly line ready, 9 x 13 pan, sauce, meat mix, and tortillas. Take the tortillas and add approximately 1/3 to 1/2 cup of meat mixture into the shell. Fold then two ends and then roll the sides together to create a pocket style tortilla. Repeat till you have filled the entire pan with the enchiladas. I do not stack them but instead line them up side by side. Next, add more enchilada sauce to cover the tortillas, sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
Take the remaining meat mixture and sauce, in a 9 x 13 freezer safe pan, coat with non-stick cooking spray, add enough sauce to layer the bottom of the pan. Next, layer two shells, add meat mixture, top with cheese, shells, more sauce and repeat until you have used the meat mixture. The top layer should be tortillas, sauce and cheese. Wrap in aluminum foil tightly. I always write the date, and instructions for this wonderful freezer meal.
Oklahoma is the place to be….and if you can’t be in Oklahoma bring a taste of Oklahoma to you. I hope you enjoy these enchiladas!