zyzyly (zyzyly) wrote,

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January 14-Where's that recipe?

Before she was married to me, my first wife was married to a Mexican guy from Denver. He loved chili gravy enchiladas, and taught her how to make them, using the old family recipe. She held onto that recipe, and once we were married, she made them for me. They were delicious. They became the favorite thing that she cooked for me.

She had the recipe written down in a red notebook, which had other recipes in it as well. She kept it in one of the kitchen cabinets with all the other recipes and cookbooks. I never really paid too much attention to how she made them, although I knew it involved a roux and some chili powder. She would always make two types--beef and cheese--one dish of each.

After she passed away, I went looking for that recipe book so I could make the enchiladas. 11+ years later I am still looking for it. It just disappeared. It's not the only thing she took with her. One of the great mysteries of life and death.

Anyway, a few years ago I decided I was going to figure out how she made them. I looked up some recipes on line, and started experimenting. I have the basics down. It is how much of which spice that perplexes me.

I tried again today, after seeing the notes for my last attempt magneted to the side of the refrigerator. Now that I am almost 60, I have learned that I should make notes about what I cook if I ever want it to be the same as last time. Not that I don't still change it up, but at least I have a baseline.

beef and onions

I saw one of those Facebook video recipe things where they sautéed some vegetables, and then put the meat in the middle. I didn't expect it to look like brains or something. In any case, it worked out pretty well. I added some of the spices to the meat as it cooked.

chili gravy

Here's where it gets tough. The chili gravy. Not the base itself, but how much of everything to add to it. I figured out that hers had a little less of a few things, but I liked the way mine tasted, so am at a crossroads of sorts. Interestingly, I bought this cookware set about 25years ago. It has outlasted the store I bought it from. It was while making the gravy that I decided I want a dutch oven.


This was the easy part. That was the big lesson from the last time I made these--use corn tortillas. My Spanish teacher friend told me a while back that, "there is no such thing as flour tortillas," and I believed her.

Ok assemble it all with some cheese and some more onions and some olives and cook it for a while, and you get:

finished product

The beef enchiladas were delicious, though still not quite. The cheese enchiladas were a different story--I took a bite of one and it took me all the way back to when I first tasted them.

I scribbled some more notes on my working recipe, put it back up on the refrigerator, and will try again one of these days.

I suspect she is amused, wherever she is.
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