Thursday, May 5, 2016

Beef Enchiladas for that Taste of Texas...but not for Cinco de Mayo

Tonight I cooked beef enchiladas for dinner, but not because it is Cinco de Mayo. My family and I chuckle about this holiday. We are from San Antonio, Texas, where we celebrate a week full of activities of Fiesta in late April, celebrating General Sam Houston's victory over Santa Anna, securing Texas Independence on April 21, 1836.
Many people think that Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican Independence, but there is no correlation. Mexican Independence from Spain was secured in 1821, and is annually celebrated on September 16.
Cinco de Mayo celebrates a mighty important battle in the Mexican town of Puebla in 1862 during the French-Mexican War. In this battle, the Mexicans defeated the French and thus it is annually celebrated, not in the entirety of Mexico, but in the town of Puebla...and in the United States.
As for us...this festive dinner has nothing to do with Cinco de Mayo. Instead it has to do with family. At last we are all home together under one roof. Everyone was at home, despite busy schedules between work and college. We had to celebrate being together! For Texans like us, that meant a taste of Texas...our favorite cuisine!
As I agonized to determine which favorite Tex Mex dish to make, I decided to be guided by the weather. It is rainy I'd rather not grill. It is cold out (another reason for me not to grill) oven use would be perfect to take the chill out of the air. That means...enchiladas! I had hamburger meat in the beef enchiladas it would be.

I made the sauce from scratch, seasoned and cooked the meat, fried the tortillas, and grated the cheese. Assembly time was ready!          

Beef Enchiladas1
Time to Assemble Beef Enchiladas

After a bit of oven time, it was looking almost Tex Mex. I am still finessing my own homemade enchilada sauce. I got a bit lazy and didn't measure the broth. I kept trying to boil it down, but I ran out of patience for it to thicken enough. The family was getting hungry! The sauce did get thick enough to start to coat the back of a spoon, but I should have given it more time. As I poured the sauce over the assembled enchiladas I realized my mistake.  However it tasted great so I knew the family would be forgiving! And they were. My son even finished off the leftover sauce in the baking dish. However it should look more red than this with the sauce coating the top of the enchiladas. I wish I had green onions or cilantro to top it with. Next time!  
Beef Enchiladas2
Beef Enchiladas

Seriously, I cook lots of Tex Mex! A special occasion is rarely needed, except that for more complicated meals I like to have the family available for us to eat and enjoy at the same time. However they would happily devour it if I had leftovers.

Black Bean Soup

Here you can see the perfect sauce perfectly coating cheese enchiladas! How we miss great Tex Mex now that we are in Northern Virginia. We have tried many restaurants, but they do not serve Tex Mex. In Texas, I didn't try to master cooking the cuisine, because eating at one of the many fabulous Tex Mex restaurants was not only easily affordable, but also easily available. Not so up here. The better restaurants are horribly expensive, beyond our price point. So I am now trying to master the cuisine in our kitchen! My family has enjoyed the adventure!    

Cheese Enchiladas
Cheese Enchiladas

One year when my kids were little, my mother-in-law was visiting and offered to take us out to dinner to anyplace we'd like to go. I suggested Tex Mex. She laughed and replied, "Even though you've served Tex Mex for nearly every meal we've had since I arrived?"  

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Chicken Tortilla Soup

This doesn't look very Tex Mex, but I used Tex Mex seasonings (cumin, garlic, chipotle pepper powder) to season the melted butter for the corn on the cob, to season the salad dressing, and as a dry rub on the grilled steak. 

Steak Corn on Cob
Steak, Corn on the Cob, and Salad Dressing all with Tex Mex Seasoning


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