Foodie Friday

Enchiladas Tapas y Sopa de arroz (Mexican Rice)

The first cooking recipe I wanted to share is my mom’s Sopa de arroz, literally translated it means rice soup, but in ‘Murica we call it Mexican rice. The reason it’s the first is because it was the very first thing I cooked all alone, without supervision.

I was about ten years old. My parents had been divorced a while, and my mom worked really hard to keep us sheltered, clothed and fed, all on her own. I knew how tired my momma was after work, and I wanted to help her out. My love affair with cooking started before I could handle knives, and I spent countless hours sitting at the kitchen counter watching my mom cook. Sopa de arroz was something she regularly made, so I figured I could replicate it on my own.That afternoon, before my mom got home from work, I pulled out all the ingredients and made the rice. It was ready before my mom arrived. When she walked in I said, “I have something to show you,” and I lead her into the kitchen and lifted the lid off the rice. And then something unexpected happened; my mom started crying. At first I panicked, terrified I had done something wrong. My mom pulled me into her arms and said, “thank you.” It was then I understood that she was grateful and moved to tears from my help, and right then and there I decided I’d help her cook everyday. And I did.

While my friends were in after school sports, I was in my kitchen, slowly learning my way around pots and pans, how to chop more efficiently. I was mixing spices and recreating recipes I’d watched others make. I’d spend time pouring over recipes in magazines and creating new ones in my head. I made a lot of god awful food. I made a lot of messes. But I also learned to be patient and turn ingredients into palatable, and then, tasty meals.

By the time I was in high school I was whipping up meals every night before my mom got home. I loved every minute of it. I still do.

Now as much as sopa de arroz is near and dear to my heart, it isn’t a super substantial meal. The second recipe I’m sharing is enchiladas tapas. My mom’s best friend taught me this one when I was in middle school. She knew I was the main cook in our home, and one day I was telling her how I loved enchiladas but hated how my fingers stung from rolling the hot salsa dipped tortillas. She told me she’d teach me an easier way, and this was the base recipe for my enchiladas tapas.

Now, before we go further, if you’re looking for a super authentic enchilada recipe, this is not it. My mother in law makes AMAZEBALL salsa roja. She takes the dehydrated chiles and cooks them, with a ton of other ingredients into a stew, blends them, pushes them through a sieve and it is phenomenal, bless her heart. This is not that recipe. Maybe someday I’ll coerce her into sharing it with all of you, but today is not that day. Today I shall show you an easy recipe that starts with canned tomato sauce; what it lacks in authenticity it makes up for in ease and taste, I promise.

But first, the rice. You will need:

2 tbs. high smoke point cooking oil (I use grapeseed oil, but vegetable oil works well)
1 1/2 cups of uncooked rice
3 cups chicken broth (or water)
2/3 cup tomato sauce
1 tbs. chicken bouillon (or tomato bouillon)

Heat the oil in a 2 quart sauce pan. ounce the oil is hot reduce to medium heat and add the rice, and stir to coat.

Continue to move rice around pan as it toasts. The key to Mexican rice is toasting the rice without burning it. KEEP IT MOVING. If it is browning too quickly, reduce the heat and KEEP IT MOVING. I actually find the sound of the stirring rice relaxing, chickah-chickah- chickah. Once the rice is welll browned, it releases a sweet aroma.

Next you add the tomato sauce. I always remove the rice from the heat to add the sauce because it will bubble up and splatter. Once the rice is coated, return to medium heat.

My apologies for the quality of this photo, I’m learning and I’ll get better, promise!

Add the broth slowly and stir to combine.

 

Add the bouillon, and increase heat to bring to a boil. Once the rice boils, stir, and lower heat to a light simmer. Cover and allow rice to continue cooking for 15-20 minutes.

For the Enchiladas, you will need:

12 corn tortillas

Filling:
2 Tbs. cooking oil
1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey
1 small onion diced
1 4 oz. can diced green chiles
3-4 cloves garlic (I LOVE garlic, but if you don’t, you can use 1-2)
1 tbs. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tbs. chicken bouillon (or salt to taste)
1/2 tsp. pepper

1 pound queso fresco (crumbled)

Sauce:
3 cups tomato sauce (1.5 15 oz. cans)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbs. Gebhardt Chili Powder
1 tbs. Chili powder (or 2 tbs. chili powder if you do not have Gebhardt Chili Powder)

Begin by heating 2 tbs. oil in pan and add ground turkey. Once the turkey begins to brown add the diced onions and continue to brown until onions are translucent.

Add the minced garlic gloves, I actually use a garlic press because it’s faster.

Allow the garlic to brown about 30 seconds.

Add the diced chiles, and stir to combine.

Add the chili powder, cumin, pepper and bouillon. Stir to combine.

This is also an excellent taco filling, I like it for taco salad too. YUMMM! Keep stirring for an additional minute, then remove from heat.

For the sauce, pour tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and chicken bouillon and stir to combine over medium heat. Cover and simmer while you heat the tortillas.

For the tortillas, I like to toast them all in a row and stack them to make the assembly a little easier. My mom makes them one at a time, and either way works, but the stack method makes it easier on me.

You can use oil to heat/toast the tortillas, pour a small amount in pan and add the tortilla. Turn the tortilla after about a minute, the tortilla should be lightly browned.

OR you can use Pam cooking spray, which is what I do to make it go faster. Spray the pan, place tortilla in, spray back of tortilla.

This is the most tedious part of making enchiladas, to finish quickly, I use two pans at a time. Oil, tortilla down, flip, repeat until browned.

I stack them on a plate and once I have my desired amount, I’m all done with the pans.

Once you have all your tortillas browned, start assembling. Place one browned tortilla at a time into the sauce. Lightly coat and remove from sauce. This should be done quickly to avoid the tortillas from becoming mushy and tearing as you try to pull them out. I use a large turner/spatula.

Place two sauce covered tortillas in a 9×13 baking dish in a single layer.

Add a spoonful of the turkey mix on each tortilla, and spread evenly.

Next add a handful of crumbled queso fresco, spread evenly.

Cover with another layer of the sauced tortillas. Repeat filling, cheese, tortilla stack until you have 6 tortilla layers stacked.

Once the final tortilla is placed on top, pour any remaining sauce over the top, spread evenly and add more crumbled queso fresco.

Place baking dish in 350° preheated oven for 10 minutes. Queso Fresco doesn’t melt much, but it’s SO GOOD. I’ve also used grated pepperjack cheese, and that is pretty darn good, and the cheese melts like a popsicle on the fourth of July!

Allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing.

My family likes it with shredded lettuce and sour cream, delicious. Buen Provecho!


Recipe recaps:

Mexican Rice:

2 tbs. high smoke point cooking oil (I use grapeseed oil, but vegetable oil works well)
1 1/2 cups of uncooked rice
3 cups chicken broth (or water)
2/3 cup tomato sauce
1 tbs. chicken bouillon (or tomato bouillon)

Heat the oil in a 2 quart sauce pan. ounce the oil is hot reduce to medium heat and add the rice, and stir to coat.
Continue to move rice around pan as it toasts. Keep it moving to ensure even toasting. If it is browning too quickly, reduce the heat. Add the tomato sauce. Once the rice is coated, return to medium heat. Add the chicken broth and bouillon slowly and stir to combine. Increase heat to bring to a boil. Once the rice boils, stir, and lower heat to a light simmer. Cover and allow rice to continue cooking for 15-20 minutes.

Enchiladas Tapas:

12 corn tortillas

Filling:
2 Tbs. cooking oil
1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey
1 small onion diced
1 4 oz. can diced green chiles
3-4 cloves garlic (I LOVE garlic, but if you don’t, you can use 1-2)
1 tbs. Chili powder
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tbs. chicken bouillon (or salt to taste)

1 pound queso fresco

Sauce:
3 cups tomato sauce (1.5 15 oz. cans)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbs. Gebhardt Chili Powder
1 tbs. chili powder (or 2 tbs. chili powder if you do not have Gebhardt Chili Powder)

For the Filling:
Begin by heating 2 tbs. oil in pan and add ground turkey. Once the turkey begins to brown add the diced onions and continue to brown until onions are translucent.
Add the minced garlic gloves, allow to brown about 30 seconds.
Add the diced chiles, and stir to combine.
Add the chili powder, cumin, pepper and bouillon. Stir to combine.

For the sauce:
Pour tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and chicken bouillon and stir to combine over medium heat.

For the tortillas:
You can use oil to heat/toast the tortillas, pour a small amount in pan and add the tortilla. Turn the tortilla after about a minute, the tortilla should be lightly browned. You can use Pam cooking spray, spray the pan, place tortilla in, spray back of tortilla. Oil, tortilla down, flip, repeat until browned.

Once you have all your tortillas browned, start assembling. Place one browned tortilla at a time into the sauce. Lightly coat and remove from sauce. Place two sauce covered tortillas in a 9×13 baking dish in a single layer. Add a spoonful of the turkey mix on each tortilla, and spread evenly. Next add a handful of crumbled queso fresco, spread evenly.

Cover with another layer of the sauced tortillas. Repeat filling, cheese, tortilla stack until you have 6 tortilla layers stacked. Once the final tortilla is placed on top, pour any remaining sauce over the top, spread evenly and add more crumbled queso fresco.

Place baking dish in 350° preheated oven for 10 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing. Buen Provecho!

 

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