Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Erin's Enchiladas, from TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST - #bookgiveaway

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: I always say that one of the secrets to a happy life is friends who cook well.

And nothing proves that better than my longggg friendship with Lita, whom I met during sophomore year of college. She married a man with a Hispanic mother and embraced Mexican cooking with both very strong arms. This is Lita’s recipe, which I think she based on one from America’s Test Kitchen. Admittedly, it’s a bit, oh, involved is the best word, and in TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, Erin admits that she occasionally grabs a jar of sauce from the Merc’s shelves when she craves enchiladas. Granted, she and the Merc are fictional—don’t tell her I said so—so this is the recipe in those jars.

TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, the 4th Food Lovers' Village Mystery, will be out officially on June 8. Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed copy!

Fill the enchiladas with chicken, shredded beef, or black beans---or a combination, as described below.

This sauce freezes beautifully, and can be used in burritos, tamales, tortilla soup, or other recipes. Double it some Sunday afternoon and stick a pan of unbaked enchiladas in the freezer for a night when even reaching for a jar seems like too much.

A NOTE ABOUT CHILES: After I posted this, a few comments asked about the California and Guajillo chiles in the sauce. Both are mild, red chiles. California chiles start out green and turn red as they ripen; they are apparently sometimes called chile seco del Norte or Magdalena chiles. Guajillo chiles are the dried mirasol chile. This guide has more details and pictures, as does this site. I've noticed that naming varies and is not necessarily consistent. If you can't find dried chiles with these names, look for a red chile with a mild flavor and try combining a couple; if you like more heat, you'll have more options. Remember that cooking is an art, not a precise science, and be willing to play -- if you're not sure whether a pepper will be too hot, try a small amount, and add more later if you'd like.

Enchilada Sauce

2 ounces dried Ancho chiles
2 ounces dried Guajillo chiles
2-3 ounces dried California chiles
½ large or 1 medium white or yellow onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of a knife blade
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
½ - 1 orange, sliced, including the peel (if the peel is thick, use half of it)
4 – 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed in your hands
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
1 tablespoon masa harina (corn flour) or very finely ground corn meal
½ lime, juiced (2-3 tablespoons of juice)

Using kitchen scissors, and optional gloves, stem and seed the chiles.

Heat a large skillet on high and quickly dry roast the chiles, in batches, 1-2 minutes, to darken the skin; do not burn.

Place the peppers, onion, garlic, carrot, and orange in a large pot, and cover with the stock. Cover pot and bring to a rolling boil, then turn off the heat and let mixture sit about 30 minutes.

Ladle 2-3 cups of liquid and vegetables, about half and half, into a blender. Puree about 3 minutes and place in another pot or a non-staining bowl. Repeat with additional batches till complete.

Return sauce to pan and add the cumin, oregano, and salt. In a small bowl, make a slurry of the corn flour and about 1/4 cup of the chile puree, to prevent clumping, then add to pot and stir in. Add lime juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and tasting to adjust the seasoning.

The Enchiladas

8 - 8 inch corn tortillas
1 pound beef (stew meat), slow cooked until it can be shredded with a fork, OR 1 pound chicken breast, cooked and shredded, OR 1 pound black beans, cooked (or a 16 ounce can)
2 ounces diced green chiles, fresh or canned
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
10-12 green onions, chopped
½ cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
sour cream (optional)
fresh tomatoes, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly oil the tortillas on each side and warm them in the oven to prevent cracking—you can warm them while the oven is preheating.

Mix your beef, chicken, or beans with the green chiles, and if you’d like, a few green onions and cilantro.

Pour ½ cup (about a ladleful) of sauce in the bottom of a 9X13 baking pan. Place a warmed tortilla on a plate. In the center, place about 1/4 cup filling and a tablespoon of cheese. Roll up tightly and place in the baking dish.

Ladle more sauce over the top of the tortillas and sprinkle with cheddar. Bake about 15 minutes, until cheese melts. Serve with chopped onions and cilantro, and optional sour cream and tomatoes.

Unbaked enchiladas freeze beautifully, in the pan. To serve, thaw and bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until thoroughly heated and the cheese is melted.

Makes 8 enchiladas.

Does your BFF have a favorite recipe you adore???

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed copy of TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #4 (Midnight Ink, June 8, 2017). (US and Canadian addresses only; winner will be chosen Thurs, June 1.)

From the cover:   

Erin Murphy, manager of Murphy’s Mercantile (aka the Merc), is tuning up for Jewel Bay’s annual Jazz Festival. Between keeping the Merc’s shelves stocked with Montana’s tastiest local fare and hosting the festival’s kick-off concert, Erin has her hands full.

Discord erupts when jazz guitarist Gerry Martin is found dead on the rocks above the Jewel River. The one-time international sensation had fallen out of sync with festival organizers, students, and performers. Was his death an accident?or did someone even the score?

Despite the warning signs to not get involved, Erin investigates. And when the killer attacks, she orchestrates her efforts into one last crescendo, hoping to avoid a deadly finale.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The past president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.


  1. Fabulous enchilada recipe; and the book sounds awesome as well! My BFF and I have a favorite blondie recipe that we're always adapting and sharing variations on. EMS591@aol.com

  2. My BFF and I like home-made pecan waffles slathered with peanut butter. Thanks for the chance :)
    jslbrown2009 at aol dot com

  3. Thanks for the recipe! I'll be looking for the book! Dspinlexo@aol.com

  4. Do I ever. My family loves enchiladas. Linda knows this and we were getting together for lunch at her place. She really doesn't like to cook much. But decided to find a "lazy man's" version of enchiladas. She cruised the web and found just what she was looking for. Pour a bit of enchilada sauce into a 9X13 fill with taquitos from the frozen food locker at the store. Pour on some frozen whole kernal corn, sprinkle with canned sliced olives, pour on some more enchilada sauce sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese, repeat until pan is full. Bake. It really wasn't too bad. I was really touched. We are talking about a gal that prefers to pop in at the local diner for all her meals. Made from scratch is really the best. But I didn't tell her that. We expressed out delight with the meal and how good the enchiladas were. How can you not when someone has left their comfort zone to do something for you. The book and the recipe look great. Thank you for a chance at the book, and for the recipe Della at deepotter (at) peoplepc (dot) com

    1. Della, I LOVE this story! "How can you not be delighted when someone has left their comfort zone to do something for you?" The essence of friendship.

  5. We don't have many great Mexican restaurants here in Ottawa (Ontario), so thanks for this recipe. It is pretty long but maybe I will try to make the enchiladas when I have a huge craving. I can get dried anchos but two of the chilis though are not familiar to me: are there substitutes for California and Guajilo chilis?
    And thanks for opening up the giveaway to include Canadians!
    grace dot koshida at gmail dot com

    1. Good question, Grace -- I've added a note to the post with a link to photos and descriptions of different peppers.

  6. Thanks for sharing the sauce and enchilada recipes, looks absolutely amazing. Sadly, my BFF is a constant dieter. The one thing we diverge in is feelings about food and recipes.
    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

  7. Thanks for this delectable recipe. We would love to make this for the family. My BFF loves brownies. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  8. What are California chilies? I've never seen those in our supermarket.

    1. Peg -- see the note I added to the post on various chiles and alternatives.

  9. A perfect recipe which many would enjoy. When I get together with a friend we indulge in bruschetta. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

    1. Oh, excellent -- hand-held foods foster conversation and connection, don't they?

  10. Those sound delicious. I know my husband and I will definitely have to try those out. Thank you for sharing and also for the chance to win your new book. I love this series. frauenb(at)aol(dot)com

  11. Looks and sounds delicious. Now that I'm retired I have time for recipes that take some time. Will be trying this out. My BFF (of many years) is a fabulous cook. Among other things she makes the best scones and lemon curd.
    Looking forward to the release. Thanks for the giveaway.

    1. Oh, how lovely! I still mourn a jar of lemon curd a French hotelier gave us that we couldn't bring on the plane...

  12. Love this recipe and love the series! My BFF is across the country, so sadly we don't share a favorite recipe. We do share cooking tips from time to time. Congratulations on the new release!

    1. Thanks, Autumn! When my BFF and I were living hundreds of miles apart, when phone calls were pricey and email a Martian's dream, we'd make dates to have a drink or lunch together -- in our thoughts. Old-fashioned virtual dates!

  13. My BFF has an awesome recipe for oatmeal caramel brownies -- they are simply amazing! Making enchiladas has always seemed a bit intimidating for me, but with your recipe, I might just get brave enough to give them a try! bobandcelia@sbcglobal.net

    1. Oatmeal caramel brownies? Oh, I am on the hunt! These used to daunt me, too, but they turn out to be quite easy to make. And I don't mind at all if you substitute a canned sauce!

  14. Thru the years & many BFFs I have collected many food making ideas & recipes. This sounds really good & I love this book series. Thanks for the chance to win. doward1952(at)yahoo(dot)com

  15. Yum, those look so good! Thanks for sharing your friend's recipe and offering the giveaway! None of my friends have any special recipes that I know of, so I usually find mine online. I'm so excited to read Treble at the Jam Fest (though I need to read Butter Off Dead first... waiting for that to get here from B&N.com)!

    1. Thanks, Amanda! The pumpkin spice coffee blend in BUTTER was inspired by a Trader Joe's blend my BFF served me -- enjoy!

  16. I used to make enchiladas back in the dark ages but I never made the sauce from scratch. Looks yummy. I can't say my friends and I have ever swapped recipes. Although I did write some favorites down to give a friend's daughter when she married. Her mom has never been much of a cook.

    1. Erin and I don't mind at all if you use a favorite jarred or canned sauce. :) And how thoughtful of you to share your recipes with the bride.

  17. I like enchiladas but have never made my own sauce.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

  18. We are having enchiladas tonight! I love this! Thanks for the recipe, I've never made my own sauce before. It will be fun to try it. Congrats on the upcoming release. I can't wait to read it.

  19. We love making homemade enchiladas! We also make our on sauce but yours seems a bit more involved. I think I'll try incorporating done of the ingredients to ours a bit at a time. Thanks for the amazing recipe and t the opportunity to win your new book!