Dad, Mom, Me (check out the German Dirndl), Alan (nice Lederhosen, eh?) and Fred
While my dad was stationed in Austria, he met the woman who would become his wife, and mother to his children. My late father was born in Oxnard California. His father came from Spain, and married a woman of California-Indian descent. I'm still searching for my ancestry, but haven't discovered a lot about my Great-Grandmother. Dad's mom (my "Nana") passed away when I was in elementary school, and we didn't visit her often. (I suspect that the Mother-In-law & Daughter-In-Law wasn't the most loving.) However, I can vividly remember how she made homemade tortillas and refried beans. To this day, I cannot eat refried beans without flour tortillas. It's blasphemy! I'm thankful that Nana taught her daughter-in-law (that would be my "Mutti") how to make Beef Enchiladas that are out-of-this world good. I can make them, from memory, and they have become infamous among my family and lifelong friends as "DA's Enchiladas"...and, if I do say so myself, they are addicting!
So, I got to thinking-- why is it that I don't share more of the Mexican recipes that I have been making for decades? Mexican cooking has become so much of my cooking repertoire that I've never thought to create a recipe with measurements. As soon as the holidays slow down, I will start to do that.
Chili Gravy is an entirely new discovery for me. I don't like canned Enchilada sauce. I never have, and I make my own (yes, I'll post it). I bookmarked this recipe a while ago, when I saw on a blog that I have been following for quite some time, called "Eating Etc." I love Cheese & Onion Enchiladas, and I've been known to order this at a local Mexican take-out restaurant. After reading her recipe, I soon realized that I could make this very easily, because I have all of these recipes on hand. I decided to do a little research on Chili Gravy, and this is what I found:
Chili gravy” (or “chile gravy") has been called the soul of Tex-Mex. It’s popularly served with enchiladas (and is sometimes called “enchilada sauce"), but is served with tamales and other dishes as well. The brown gravy with Mexican spices has been described as neither truly American nor Mexican. Chili gravy is said to have been invented by Anglo-owned Mexican restaurants, such as those in San Antonio.
“Chili gravy” is cited in print from at least the 1890s. “Chili gravy” was sold in cans by the early 1900s.
-Source: The Big AppleDISCLAIMER: The few times that my California feet have touched Texas soil is making a flight connection through Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport. Decades ago, I drove through Texas on a
Add chicken broth, mixing and stirring until the sauce thickens. Turn heat to low and let sauce simmer for 15 minutes. May add
water chicken broth to adjust thickness, if necessary. NOTE: I added more chicken broth, as this gravy becomes surprisingly thick. See what I mean?
I present to you Chili Gravy in 20 minutes. Amen.
Pour 1 to 2 teaspoons oil in a small or medium skillet and heat tortillas, one at a time, on each side. Layer on plate and cover with paper towels (blot them) until all are heated. NOTE: We're not making taco shells, so you don't need a LOT of oil, and you aren't trying to deep-fry them. We're just softening them a bit.
TIP: I've been known to quickly wet corn tortillas and to steam them in the microwave. Pour about 1/2 cup sauce into the bottom of a casserole dish or 7x9 dish.
Here we go...That's right...cover the enchiladas with this tasty chili gravy
We're not finished yet! We need more cheese...and more onion.
I made a smaller casserole and used some pre-shredded cheese blend that I buy at Trader Joe's. What? Didn't I just denounce the virtues of pre-shredded cheese? Okay, I do buy these for pure convenience and I wanted to compare the results. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it. The oven should be preheated to 450F. Bake until bubbly. In my oven, that took about 20 minutes. Oh, look!
Our kitchen smelled like a local cantina. Corn tortillas and sauce... Mmmmm.
Rather than serving beans and rice, I did make a healthy Honey-Lime vinaigrette with a fresh Spring Mix and some grated Cotija cheese. I'll have to recreate that dressing, as it was worthy of guiltless second helpings.
...though I have to say that a side of beans and rice would be quite lovely.
My husband and I each ate
two three, F orgive help us.
VERDICT: Excellent! Easy. Perfect make-ahead meal to put together on a busy work night. Make double...triple the chili sauce. Freeze it. Can it. Sell it! So, um the next
morning day I had some chili gravy left over...
...and I made three more enchiladas and added some sliced black olives. I can clearly see the difference in using pre-grated cheese, though. It baked a lot drier and browned more. Minor details, though.
...but it tasted just a delicious. Maybe even more.
I think the chili gravy could easily be adapted for a vegetarian, by substituting vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. I have my sights set on slathering scrambled eggs with this gravy. I have visions of a breakfast-style casserole with tortilla chips, and cheese and.... well, I'm listening. Any other suggestions?
I have posted a printable recipe for the enchiladas and the chili gravy. If you try this, and I hope that you do, you will never have to order this at a restaurant. It's that good!