This week SPACE 519's own Lance Lawson shares his family recipe for New Mexican Style Stacked Enchiladas. La Chamba Cookware is a central part of the his process. Lance first discovered the pottery while visiting his parents in Santa Fe almost 20 years ago. He fell in love with the quality and stove to table ease of La Chamba. Since then it has become a central part of his process and recipe.
I grew up in Denver Colorado and my father is a native of New Mexico. So I have been a devotee of Mexican Food pretty much my entire life. Twenty years ago my parents retired to Santa Fe. As I began to visit there regularly I learned to really appreciate New Mexican Cuisine. It is different than what you find in Colorado or California. And a very distant cousin of Tex-Mex (should anyone ever really put sour cream in enchilada sauce?). In Santa Fe it is all about the chilie - red or green. Back in New Mexico my family returned to making enchiladas the way my dad had while growing up on a ranch outside Tucumcari New Mexico. It's all about the stack vs. the roll. I also loved the way a local institution "The Shed" cooked their enchiladas in the same oven-safe baking dishes in which they were served.
That leads me to La Chamba Pottery - which I also discovered in New Mexico at the Santa Fe School of Cooking. The Columbian pottery works beautifully from oven to table. You can even use it in the microwave or on the stove top. And their small skillets and casseroles are perfect for making individual stacks of enchiladas. These are the skillets we sell here at SPACE 519.
One final note before we get to the recipe. Some chefs will recoil at the notion of using canned enchilada sauce. But Hatch Brand Sauce is different. It's almost all Red Chilie grown in Hatch New Mexico - with no additional primary ingredients like tomatoes. There is something magical about the soil and climate in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico that grows the worlds best Chilies. And just as it is not Champagne unless it comes from the Champagne Region of France - Hatch Chilies must be grown in the Hatch Valley. Hatch Brand is a company based in the region and their sauce is the best. It is available at most Whole Foods and at grocery stores in the West and California, And now you can also buy it by the case from the manufacturer. Before said options were readily available I used to mule the sauce back from visits to my parents by the trunk full. It really is that good. I also like to add a few tablespoons of New Mexico Ground Red Chilie Powder to the canned sauce it to enhance the heat and mouth-feel.
New Mexico Style Stacked Enchiladas
makes 2 servings
1 Medium White Onion in a Fine Dice
2 Cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese Shredded
Nonstick Cooking Spray
6 Soft Corn Tortillas
1 15 oz Can Hatch Medium Red Enchilada Sauce
2 T Red Chilie Powder (preferably New Mexican) Nonstick Cooking Spray
1/2 Cup Sliced Black Olives
1 Cup Quartered Grape Tomatoes
1 T Green Chilie Powder (preferably New Mexican)
2 Large Eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray 2 La Chamba Skillets (or other oven proof baking dish) with non-stick cooking spray.
Wrap Tortillas in a damp paper towel.
Dice Onions and Shred Cheese and place aside.
Mix Hatch Sauce with Chilie Powder and bring to a low boil in a medium skillet. Turn off heat.
Microwave wrapped Corn Tortillas for 1 minute.(Note in a traditional enchilada recipe you would run the tortillas through a bath of sizzling vegetable oil to soften them prior to adding them to the sauce. However this is a healthier and lighter alternative.)
To assemble enchiladas place a hefty ladle of sauce in the bottom of a La Chamba dish. Place a corn tortilla into the heated sauce for a few seconds and then transfer it to the bottom of the dish. Cover liberally with cheese and onion and repeat the process making another layer. Top it off with another sauce soaked tortilla the cover layer with shredded cheese and a sprinkling of onion. Repeat process for second serving. Drizzle any extra sauce over the completed stacks. Spray two pieces of aluminium foil with non-stick cooking spray and tightly cover the skillets with the coated side down.
Bake for 20 minuites
While the enchiladas are baking mix the olives, tomatoes and green chilie powder and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Remove the skillets from the oven and keep them covered while you prepare the eggs. While they are cooling fry an egg over easy for each stack . Top with the egg and surround with the tomato and olive mixture and serve.
* You can place foil back over the skillets to keep them warm after adding the egg - allowing you to fry others. But don't add the tomato and olive mixture until right before you are ready to serve.