I feel the same about Cinco de Mayo as I do about St Patrick’s Day. Both have become perverted by the alcohol industry in America (particularly the beer industry). What started as a celebration of ethnic pride has in many cases just turned into an excuse to go out and drink heavily. Ugh! So, am I selling out by sharing some Mexican recipes? Probably, but there is a slight irony to today’s recipe.
First, let’s clear up the misconception that Cinco de Mayo is Mexican Independence Day. That is September 16. Cinco de Mayo marks the anniversary of the unlikely victory of the Mexican Army over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.
This recipe is from my grandmother. Nope, not the Texan, the one of FRENCH heritage. Yup, here’s a French woman’s recipe for Enchiladas for Cinco de Mayo. Well, I thought it was funny!
Anyway, these do take some effort but are definitely worth it. You can speed things up by using store bought tortillas, just heat them a little before trying to roll them. For chicken, substitute thickly sliced boneless chicken breasts or thighs and shred with a fork before serving. For cheese enchiladas, omit the meat filling and add shredded monterey jack (or your favorite cheese).
1 quart water (Or 1 quart beef or chicken stock and omit bullion cubes)
3 cubes bullion
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
cornstarch (as needed)
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
The time can be deceptive since the filling should simmer for an hour, but you will make the tortillas during this time. Overall it should take 75-90 minutes total working and cooking time combined.
Brown the ground meat (or chicken) and drain off the fat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until they are translucent. Add the other ingredients and simmer for one hour.
Simmer all gravy ingredients for half an hour and thicken with cornstarch.
Mix and sift cornmeal, flour, cornstarch and salt. Beat eggs until light. Add milk and oil. Beat into dry ingredients. Pour into a pitcher.
Heat 8-inch skillet and cover bottom with oil or cooking spray. Pour 3 tablespoons of batter into center of skillet. Grasp handle and twist and turn until bottom of skillet is evenly covered with batter. Flip when light brown. Store cooked tortilla between paper towels until all are cooked. Oil or spray pan between tortillas.
assembling the enchiladas
Dip each tortilla in gravy and fill generously with meat sauce. Roll with the ends on bottom. Place on individual serving plates. Cover enchilada with gravy and sprinkle with Monterey jack cheese and chopped ripe or stuffed green olives.