In their simplest form, enchiladas are simply corn tortillas dipped into a chile sauce and eaten with a fork. They may or may not have a filling and are sometimes topped with a sprinkling of grated cheese or a drizzle of cream.
As enchiladas become popular across the southwestern United States, they came to be an oven-baked dish, as that appliance is used more commonly in North America than south of the border. Enchiladas evolved to be the classic casserole classic that we know today.
This recipe for basic enchiladas is so simple you can have them put together in about 10 minutes. You can prepare them simply with just cheese, or add a little bit of beef or chicken to appeal to the meat eaters in your household. The sauce can be a bit messy, so wear an apron!
For detailed and illustrated instructions, check out Enchiladas Step-by-Step.
Preheat your oven on to 400 F.
Pour the cup of oil into medium-sized saucepan and heat it, until it's hot, but not sizzling. You want to warm the tortillas in the oil, not fry them. Using tongs, dip each tortilla, one at a time, into the hot oil until it is warmed through and pliable. Remove tortilla from oil and drain it briefly on a paper towel.
Pour just enough sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish to cover it. Pour the rest of the sauce in a large bowl. Dip a warm tortilla into the sauce, and then place it in the bottom of the baking dish.
Place a little less than 1/4 cup of cheese down the center of the tortilla. If you are adding meat, use a little less cheese. Fold half of the tortilla over the cheese, then the other half, so that the tortilla is rolled around the cheese. Turn it over so it is seam-side down and the weight of the cheese will help keep it in place.
Repeat each of those steps for each of the tortillas, making two layers of enchiladas in the dish, if necessary. Pour any remaining sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Sprinkle the Cotija cheese over the enchiladas.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until enchiladas are hot throughout and cheese is melted.
Serve your enchiladas, 4 to a plate, with a spatula.
Edited by Robin Grose