|Place of origin||Mexico|
|Main ingredients||Tortillas, chili pepper sauce, meat|
An enchilada (//, Spanish: [entʃiˈlaða]) is a corn tortilla rolled around a filling and covered with a chili pepper sauce. Enchiladas can be filled with a variety of ingredients, including various meats, cheese, beans, potatoes, vegetables or combinations. Originating in Mexico, enchiladas are a popular dish throughout Mexico and the American Southwest.
The Real Academia Española defines the word enchilada, as used in Mexico, as a rolled maize tortilla stuffed with meat and covered with a tomato and chili sauce. Enchilada is the past participle of Spanish enchilar, "to add chili pepper to", literally to "season (or decorate) with chili".
The idiomatic American English phrase "the whole enchilada" means "the whole thing".
Enchiladas originated in Mexico, where the practice of rolling tortillas around other food dates back at least to Mayan times. The people living in the lake region of the Valley of Mexico traditionally ate corn tortillas folded or rolled around small fish. Writing at the time of the Spanish conquistadors, Bernal Díaz del Castillo documented a feast enjoyed by Europeans hosted by Hernán Cortés in Coyoacán, which included foods served in corn tortillas. (Note that the native Nahuatl name for the flat corn bread used was tlaxcalli; the Spanish gave it the name tortilla.) The Nahuatl word for enchilada is chīllapītzalli [t͡ʃiːlːapiːˈt͡salːi] which is formed of the Nahuatl word for "chili", chīlli [ˈt͡ʃiːlːi] and the Nahuatl word for "flute", tlapītzalli [t͡ɬapiːˈt͡salːi]. In the 19th century, as Mexican cuisine was being memorialized, enchiladas were mentioned in the first Mexican cookbook, El cocinero mexicano ("The Mexican Chef"), published in 1831, and in Mariano Galvan Rivera's Diccionario de Cocina, published in 1845.
Mexican cooking authority Diana Kennedy cites an early reference from an American traveler from 1883 who remarked, "Enchiladas, a greasy tortilla sandwich containing chiles and a number of other uninviting looking compounds and other nasty messes, are sold everywhere, filling the air with a pungent, nauseous smell." Kennedy goes on to heartily disagree with that characterization, likely brought on by culture shock. Another early mention, in English, is a 1914 recipe found in California Mexican-Spanish Cookbook, by Bertha Haffner Ginger.
In their original form as Mexican street food, enchiladas were simply corn tortillas dipped in chili sauce and eaten without fillings. There are now many varieties, which are distinguished primarily by their sauces, fillings and, in one instance, by their form. Various adjectives may be used to describe the recipe content or origin, e.g. enchilada tapatia would be a recipe from Jalisco.
- Enchiladas con chile rojo (with red chile) is a traditional red enchilada sauce, composed of dried red chili peppers soaked and ground into a sauce with other seasonings, Chile Colorado sauce adds a tomato base.
- Enchiladas con mole, instead of chili sauce, are served with mole, and are also known as enmoladas.
- Enchiladas placera are Michoacán plaza-style, made with vegetables and poultry.
- Enchiladas poblanas are soft corn tortillas filled with chicken and poblano peppers, topped with oaxaca cheese.
- Enchiladas potosinas originate from San Luis Potosi, Mexico and are made with cheese-filled, chili-spiced masa.
- Enchiladas San Miguel are San Miguel de Allende-style enchiladas flavored with guajillo chilies by searing the flavor into the tortillas in a frying pan.
- Enchiladas suizas (Swiss-style) are topped with a white, milk or cream-based sauce, such as béchamel. This appellation is derived from Swiss immigrants to Mexico who established dairies to produce cream and cheese.
- Enfrijoladas are topped with refried beans rather than chili sauce; their name comes from frijol, meaning "bean".
- Entomatadas are made with tomato sauce instead of chili sauce.
- Enchiladas montadas, stacked enchiladas, are a New Mexico variation in which corn tortillas are fried flat until softened but not tough, then stacked with red or green sauce, chopped onion and shredded cheese between the layers and on top of the stack. Ground beef or chicken can be added to the filling, but meat is not traditional. The stack is often topped (montada) with a fried egg. Shredded lettuce and sliced black olives may be added as a garnish.
- Enchiladas Verdes are sauced with salsa verde and typically made with white corn tortillas, filled with poached chicken breasts and topped with queso fresco.
Fillings, toppings and garnishes
Fillings include meat (e.g. beef, poultry, pork, seafood) or cheese, potatoes, vegetables, beans and any combination of these. Enchiladas are commonly topped or garnished with cheese, sour cream, lettuce, olives, chopped onions, chili peppers, salsa, or fresh cilantro.
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- "enchilar". Diccionario de la Lengua Española, Vigésima segunda edición (in Spanish). Real Academia Española. 2015. ISBN 84-670-0317-0. Retrieved 9 September 2010.
- "whole enchilada - Idioms by The Free Dictionary". thefreedictionary.com. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
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