Tucumcari Enchiladas (a family recipe)

My family was originally from Tucumcari, New Mexico, going back at least to the mid 1800’s. I am the first of the family not born there. When I was a child, my grandmother would regularly make these enchiladas. This dish is all about the chile flavor, with nothing added to the meat base to detract from it – there are no additional spices like you find in many enchilada sauces, just pure, legendary Hatch chile.

Unlike the typical enchilada, in New Mexico enchiladas are served flat, not rolled. Depending on how hungry you are, you can stack them to make a larger meal. Toppings can include cheese, tomatoes, and onion. Some people like lettuce but we never used any. And traditionally, they are topped with a fried egg.

Since we are now carrying Hatch chile, I decided I would share the recipe with you!

Ingredients

Enchilada meat

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 cup Hatch Chile Powder (more or less to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • water (about 1-2 cups)
  • salt

Toppings and finishing

  • 3 corn tortillas (I recommend Chi-chi’s)
  • Cheese (to taste)
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/4 large red onion, finely diced or chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • oil for frying

Directions

Enchilada meat

  • Crumble the ground beef into a seasoned or lightly oiled pan. Crush the garlic into the beef. Brown the beef on medium to high heat.
  • When the beef is fully browned, turn down the heat. Move the beef to one side of the pan and allow the fat to flow to the other side. (You want about 2-3 tbsp of fat total, so if there is too much, drain first.)
  • Add the flour and mix it into the fat, forming a roux. Mix the roux completely with the beef.
  • Sprinkle the chile over the beef and mix it in. Add salt to taste and mix in.
  • Add water, about 1 cup to start, and mix in. Leave to simmer on low heat.
  • If the mixture gets too thick while finishing preparations, mix in some more water

Finishing

  • Lightly fry the corn tortillas to soften. Drain and place on serving plates
  • Cover the tortillas with 1/3 of the chile meat each.
  • Alternately, place the tortilla, cover with meat, then stack another enchilada and more meat on top.
  • Sprinkle cheese, onions, and tomatoes over the top.
  • Fry the eggs and place on top.

Serves 3

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