Enchiladas, Blow by Blow

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Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Ordinary Times. Relapsed Lawyer, admitted to practice law (under his real name) in California and Oregon. On Twitter, to his frequent regret, at @burtlikko. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

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8 Responses

  1. Avatar Kazzy says:

    I recently used Tod’s Cheap Ass enchilada recipe, to good effect. I found the sauce there a tad bland, but Zazzy loved it and since I was going to add hot sauce to my share anyway, it worked out well. At Zazzy’s request, I will repeat the recipe, albeit using some fish this time for a change of pace.

    I’ll be sure to try this out when I have more time/ambition. But for now, Cheap Ass wins.

    However, I won’t object to more of these posts in the future. 😀Report

  2. Avatar Bert The Turtle says:

    Hooray for Sous Vide cooking! Though from a food safety perspective I feel obliged to point out that 122F isn’t quite hot enough to pasteurize all types of pathogens that might be present. Doug Baldwin has a good rundown on his website. Baldwin also mentions that the collagen begins to dissolve into gelatin above 122°F to 131°F, which may help to explain why it didn’t shred as well as you had hoped for.Report

    • Dr. Baldwin is the god of sous vide cooking safety studies. And you’re probably right that I kept the beef too rare to dissolve the connective tissues.

      Baldwin’s table does not list pasteurization times at the low temperature I used, but that does not mean it does not occur, only that it takes longer. Salmonella, listeria, and e. coli, the three contaminants we normally worry about for food safety purposes, all begin to die at 120 degrees. I won’t cook anything cooler than I did this roast, and when I cook at this temperature I cook for a very long time. I was also conscious in this case that the meat would be baked in the enchiladas and thus would therm up higher than the sous vide temperature.

      Still, the shredding was a big disappointment, and the meat comes out very tender even if it isn’t quite as rare as I might like. Enjoy your sous vide, Bert! I bet your guests are as happy as mine!Report

      • Avatar Bert The Turtle in reply to Burt Likko says:

        True, but he also mentions that Clostridium perfringens can grow at up to 126.1°F. That said, it’s primarily a concern for immuno-compromised individuals. I myself am perfectly happy to eat carpaccio or steak tartare by the truckload. That said, I’ve found that I generally prefer my meat to be medium rare when I use the sous vide but rare when it’s grilled/pan fried/etc.

        I built my sous vide a couple of years ago when I figured out that the parts for one were about a quarter of the cost of the Sous Vide Supreme, and that I could scale it up to hold a lot more meat. I’m super happy that sous vide machines are slowy moving into the mainstream. It makes it a lot easier to find new recipes online. I think my favorite compliment that I’ve gotten so far was on a flank steak. My friend commented that it was like eating a piece of “meat butter” and it even prompted him to build his own sous vide cooker!Report

      • Avatar J. Airch in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Perhaps we could persuade the other Bert to write a guestvpost on how to build a sous vide?Report

      • Avatar Bert the Turtle in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Awww, shucks. Given how much I lurk here, I’d certainly be up to contributing a guest post, but I think that MAKE magazine did a better job than I did when I threw mine together with a half-baked plan: Sous Vide Immersion Cooker.Report

  3. Avatar Michelle says:

    Great article Burt. You’ve definitely made me hungry for enchiladas. Yours looked delicious. I make them fairly often (vegetarian as The Russian doesn’t eat meat) and getting good Mexican cheese is essential. I also use the microwave to soften up the tortillas a few at a time.

    I confess I’ve never made the sauce from scratch. I’m much too lazy and your description of how labor intensive the process is doesn’t make me excited to try. I’ll save it for my husband, who enjoys doing stuff like that.

    I’d never heard of a sous vide before. Now I know.Report

  4. Avatar George Turner says:

    In Likko;s prose, in proper flow
    Enchiladas, row on row,
    That start to bake; and on the stove
    The sauce, still barely simmers by
    Scarce stirred amid the meal to go.

    We are the Main. Short hours ago
    He prepped, thawed meat, saw oven’s glow,
    Served and were loved, and now we lie
    In Likko’s john.Report