One of my favorite meals to make ahead on a Sunday evening is enchiladas. Whether they are rolled, stacked, or in a casserole, the combination of corn tortillas, cheese, chicken or beef and a zesty sauce makes a hearty weekday meal delicious enough to please a hungry crowd.
ROLLED VERSUS STACKED The first time I experienced a stacked enchilada, was at Avila’s Restaurant in El Paso, Texas. Known for its Tex-Mex flair, their stack of enchiladas was served stuffed with ground beef, roasted corn, and black beans in between layers of flour tortillas; all foreign to someone who had been eating rolled enchiladas her entire life. I loved the look of the stack and the addition of ground beef but I just couldn’t get over not using corn tortillas.
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Throughout the years, I made several variations of stacked enchiladas. After many tries, my favorite version here combines the best of what I love from rolled enchiladas and the Tex-Mex version I first experienced years ago.
Stacked enchiladas are simple to make and freeze well for a quick mid-week dinner. Save time by making large quantities of the red salsa and storing in your freezer for later use. The canned variety works just as great. Don’t limit your enchiladas to red sauce. Use green sauce, mole sauce, or blended beans for a simple but flavorful variation to this Southwest favorite.
PICADILLO-STUFFED STACKED ENCHILADAS Serves: 4
Ingredients 1½ lb lean ground beef (sirloin) 1 tomato, chopped, reserve 2 TBSP for garnish ¼ onion, chopped, reserve 1 TBSP for garnish 1 jalapeño, chopped, reserve 1 TSP for garnish 15 cilantro sprigs, chopped, reserve 2 sprigs for garnish 6 corn tortillas 1½ cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese 1/3 cup plus 2 TBSP canola oil for frying ½ TSP salt 1/3 cup table cream 2 cups red enchilada sauce (recipe follows)*
Instructions In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over low-medium heat. Place ground beef and cook, breaking it up with wooden spoon until meat begins to brown. Add onion, tomato, jalapeño, cilantro and salt. Cook uncovered until onion is tender and all ingredients have combined. Set aside.