Story & Recipe Collected by Ana Ruiz, Summer 2017
Growing up in Mexico, eating enchiladas was a luxury because obtaining all of the ingredients could be very expensive. For a time, tomatillos and chicken became very expensive, which forced families to find other ingredients to replace them. Once, my grandmother replaced the tomatillo with tomatoes, which meant red enchiladas. They were good, but nothing compared to the flavor of the green tomatillo sauce. I also remember my mom replacing the chicken with ham and cheese. It wasn't until I was much older that I realized how challenging it must have been to my parents to prepare this dish. Nonetheless, they created new recipes with the food they had available to them.
This dish was particularly special to my brother and I because when we were growing up, our grandmother ( my Mom's mother) would make this dish for us on our birthdays. Although my time in Mexico with my grandmother was short before coming to the United States, she always made sure our birthdays included a special dish. After we arrived to the US, my mom requested this specific recipe from her mother. My grandmother was more than happy to pass it down, but she also taught her how to prepare everything. Every time that my grandmother would visit, my mom would make a very small portion of enchiladas for my grandma to try. After eating it, my mom would receive feedback about it until she perfected the recipe.
Here in the US, eating enchiladas is still a rare occasion. Thankfully, it is no longer because of the economic barriers; however, making them does take a long time. When we eat them now, I still get really excited about it. Especially because I know that this recipe has been passed down from generation to generation. It's really cool to think about all of the people that have prepared the same recipe, yet the recipe is constantly changing. I've often wondered how my enchiladas will look and taste like when I make them, or how my children will carry on this recipe to their children.
Sauce & Chicken
8 cups of water
6 jalapeno peppers or other hot peppers of your choice
Half an onion
Chicken broth cubes
2lbs of chicken breast
3 Dozen Tortillas
Lettuce or Kale
Step by Step
Wash all of your vegetables (tomatillo, onion, garlic, hot peppers, lettuce and/or kale). Also, make sure you wash your chicken.
Place 10 tomatillos in a pot with hot water and wait until the water boils.
Using another pot, place some onion, 4 garlics, and 5 cups of water. While the pot warms up, massage the chicken with oregano, garlic powder and salt. Place the chicken in the pot and let it boil.
After the tomatillos boil, place the tomatillos, half an onion, 4 garlics, 6 hot peppers and 1 cup of water in the blender until you have a thick paste. Taste a paste. If it's too spicy, add some sugar to the paste.
Place some vegetable oil in a pan, and wait until the oil is hot. Then, slowly place the paste in the pan and fry it.
Once the sauce is fried, allow the sauce to simmer at low heat. If the sauce is too thick, add some chicken broth or water.
While the sauce simmers, take your chicken out of your pot and shred all of it.
Start heating up some tortillas, and when they are warm, separate all of the tortillas.
Place the tortillas in the simmering sauce and flips them over once so the tortillas soaks up the tomatillo sauce.
Take the tortilla out, place some chicken on it and start rolling them into tacos.
Repeat until you have your desired number of enchiladas.
Then place whatever garnish you want on your enchiladas, and enjoy your enchiladas!