Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Wild Blend of Rice Makes All the Difference.

A new discovery. I always thought that enchiladas were just a bit mushy in texture and needed a little crunch. When I added home-made corn tortillas from my Painted Mountain corn it helped with texture and also flavor but not crunch. I had been having trouble with my corn tortillas being dry and breaking but this time I cooked them for a shorter period and they came out just right. I'm going to try whole wheat next and I bet the same can be said for them. 
This round of enchiladas had the goal of adding some more texture as I pondered how up popped into my head the idea to add this rice I had in the freezer. In the freezer because it helps keep brown rice longer. 
 It was an awesome choice. Yet I hesitated for fear it would be too crunchy so I add more plain brown rice but I won't next time.
 The meat I used was sausage Jimmy Dean's that I had purchased on a good sale. The other half of the package I used in the Bolognese sauce for the ravioli. 
Usually I use chicken with enchiladas but remembering WAY back when I bought refried beans in a can my favorite kind had sausage in it. Now I cook beans in my small crock pot and make my own refried beans or use some home-canned dried beans I have on hand, heat them up in a skillet and mash them. I haven't bottle any dried beans for the past year so the on hand presently doesn't exist. I've scaled down in a lot of areas in preparation for this move.

I never use Pinto beans, which is traditional, since I don't like them but I still have some in the basement I need to use up so I'll have to get creative one of these days. Maybe now with my advances in culinary knowledge I'll like them as refried beans since I think I can spice them up enough. 

I've used red, black, and navy beans for refried beans and I'm willing to experiment with others. This time I had some beans we bought from the Mennonites years ago. The name I can no longer remember. They are a white beans with a black spot. A bit bland and not the best choice since they don't want to mash very well but they worked. 

Rather than adding just heat to get a little flavor in my enchiladas I'd rather add other things to jazz them up. Traditional enchiladas have white flour tortillas, pinto beans, white rice, chicken, and some sauce. You just put together bland, bland and bland. BORING!!! So call me none authentic if you like because not even my tortilla shells are the traditional corn style but I'm betting if you aren't a traditionalist you'll like my enchiladas a whole lot better.

This time my bean sausage mix ended up a bit dry but I'll be using another kind of bean next time. With these it just took a little more sauce.
The enchilada sauce I used was store bought as I'm out of home-canned and I had some I got on a good sale. Yes, I could of made my own but the crock pot I would have done it in was occupied at the time with Bolognese sauce simmering. I try not to make a habit of using store canned goods but a few on hand is nice. I like my home-made enchilada sauce with lime juice in it and cilantro better than store, no surprise there, but that is just me. Once again I like a blend of complex flavors --- for this dish anyway.

The cheese of course was cheddar. I always spice my rice and beans a little different each time depending on what kinds I'm using. Bland white rice needs more help and bland beans too. 

Usually the rice has added fresh cilantro but this time I had to use dried. I'm not presently growing any fresh herbs. Sometimes I also add lime juice. This especially helps the white rice as it is so..... bland.  To my beans I add salt and pepper, always and garlic and a little of  my dried home-made hot pepper mix. When I cooked my sausage I added onion which also helps with flavor.

My enchiladas may not be made the same every time but what I can tell you is my enchiladas are never boring. No one around here needs to add hot sauce for flavor -- it's already there.

And yes, there are black olives on top. I'm rather fond of black olives with my enchiladas.

What is your favorite version of enchiladas?

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