If there is an easier way to get a homemade, hand-rolled, red-sauced enchilada in my mouth I would want to know what that is. Homemade enchiladas are so good! But also so time-consuming, which is why I rarely make them.
But then I had an epiphany, one that made me so happy I didn’t even give the lady who is always trying to spread her “strictly homeopathic remedies” advice around at Hiro’s ninja class the stink eye last Tuesday when I thought of it. You know the type, let’s just call her “Annoying Mom” we all know one. By the way, did I tell you Hiro is taking ninja class? It is so stinking cute, he’s all smiles, somersaults, and thumbs-ups.
My epiphany, which is really nothing new—more like a “duh” moment than an “ah-ha”—was that the next time I go to the effort of making enchiladas I should make two pans. One for the freezer and one to eat right away. Why have I not been doing that every single time? I ask you.
I adore enchiladas of all sorts but these particular enchiladas are the king of comfort food. Stuffed with picadillo (read: ground beef, potatoes, carrots, spices, even a little beer) and covered in homemade red sauce, they are exactly what you want on a chilly, late-winter’s night. Knowing a pan of that is in your freezer is better than a shot of tequila to calm your stressed and tired soul. Which brings me to the freezing part.
Tips For Freezing the Enchiladas
How you freeze and defrost these picadillo enchiladas is going to depend strictly on your baking dish. If you freeze them in a glass baking dish (like the Princess House one I used) you have to thaw them in the refrigerator or microwave before baking. The temperature change will make the glass shatter and you don’t want that. I’ve exploded glass pans before, it’s not the slightest bit cool. After they are thawed, follow the recipe’s baking instructions as written.
However, if you have a ceramic or stainless steel pan you can bake the enchiladas straight from the freezer which is pretty darn handy if you forgot to take them out to defrost them and are like, I don’t know, super starving. Bake them for 15 minutes covered, remove the plastic wrap and foil and bake for another 15 uncovered or until hot all the way through and crispy on the edges.
Now On To Storage Containers
As I mentioned above, I have been thoroughly enjoying my new Princess House storage containers. I use recycled dairy-free butter containers as much as the next person, but I know that they are not the best health-wise for heating stuff up in the microwave or using after a few too many runs through the dishwasher which is why I love that these containers from Princess House are made from thermal shock-resistant glass. They can go in the freezer, refrigerator, microwave, and even the oven (up to 450°F) and pretty enough to serve at the table too. Princess House was nice enough to offer a giveaway: All three storage containers shown below (a $99 prize!) which I am hosting over on Instagram from 2/16-2/23 so go check that out!
Freezer-Friendly Picadillo Enchiladas
Making a large-batch of enchiladas means you can make two pans and freeze one for later! The picadillo filling of ground beef and potatoes is pure comfort.
For the Filling:
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 medium red potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground chili powder
- 1/2 cup beer
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 heaping tablespoon chopped epazote (or same amount fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves)
- 3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
For the Sauce:
- 4 dried pasilla chiles
- 8 ripe roma tomatoes
- 1 yellow onion, quartered
- 4 serrano chiles
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons salt
For the Enchiladas:
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 24 corn tortillas
- Crumbled queso fresco or feta, for serving
- Sour cream, for serving
- Thinly sliced chiles, for serving
To Make the Picadillo Filling:
- Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add ground beef, potatoes, and carrots, and season again with salt and pepper. Cook until beef is browned.
- Add measured salt, cumin, paprika, beer, chicken broth, and epazote and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, until liquid has cooked down and vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, stir in the mint leaves. Picadillo can be made up to a day in advance.
To Make the Sauce:
- Set a small pan of water over high heat and bring to a boil.
- Remove stems from the dried chiles and remove as many seeds as possible. Rinse chiles under cold water removing the rest of the seeds.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet or comal over medium-high heat. Place chiles on the hot, dry pan and toast until all the water has evaporated off the chiles and they are beginning to smell fragrant (about 4 minutes), turning frequently. Transfer chiles to the pan of boiling water, submerge under the water, and remove from heat. Set aside until very soft, at least 15 minutes.
- Place tomatoes, onion quarters, and serrano chiles on the hot cast iron skillet over medium-high heat (you may need to do this in batches depending on the size of the skillet). Char the vegetables until they have blackened on all sides and are slightly softer, about 10 minutes. Remove stems from serrano chiles and remove seeds if you don't want the sauce to be spicy.
- Pour chicken broth into blender then add drained dried chiles, and charred vegetables (you may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your blender). Add salt and blend on high until smooth. Sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance.
To Make the Enchiladas:
- Heat oven to 400°F. Have 2 large plates and 2 (at least 7-x-11in) baking dishes near by.
- Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Using tongs, add tortillas, one at a time, and lightly fry each tortilla until slightly soft and a bit crisp on the edges, about 15 seconds per side. Transfer tortillas to one of the plate until all have been fried, adding more oil, 1 tablespoon at a time, if the pan becomes dry.
- Once all the tortillas are fried there should be about 2 tablespoons of oil left in the pan, if not add enough to make 2 tablespoons or pour any extra into a heatproof container. Carefully add enchilada sauce to the pan (it will spatter) and stir until the spattering dies down. Let simmer about 5 minutes then turn the heat to very low.
- Spoon enough sauce in the bottom of each dish just to coat.
- Using tongs, dip one tortilla into the sauce and flip to coat in sauce. Transfer to the other large plate and place 2 tablespoons of picadillo on one edge. Roll tortilla around the filling then roll up to close. Lay enchilada in the baking dish and repeat with remaining tortillas and filling, coating each tortilla with sauce before filling and rolling it up.
- Place twelve enchiladas in each baking dish then divide any remaining sauce over the two dishes, spreading it over the enchiladas.
- If you are going to freeze one dish, cover the top tightly with plastic wrap, then cover the plastic wrap with foil. Place in freezer for up to one month. See post for instructions on how to bake from frozen.
- To bake the enchiladas, place, uncovered in the hot oven until crispy on the edges and warmed through, about 15 minutes.
- Serve immediately with a sprinkling of cheese and sour cream if you'd like and a few sliced chiles on top.
One More Thing
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