Saturday, 9 March 2013

Honduras - How I made Enchiladas Hondureñas

I've cooked a Central American dish before for this blog, when I made Tapado, a Guatemalan seafood soup.  This time I thought I would opt for something even more typical.  Although mostly associated with Mexico, enchiladas are found throughout Central America and the Honduran version I made is just one of the many Honduran versions of this classic dish.

I used a recipe book this time, Cooking the Central American Way (2005) by Alison Behnke - although I also looked at other online recipes, as I usually do and added an ingredient, crème fraîche, to the original recipe.

The ingredients

Enchiladas Hondureñas - the main ingredients

For the main meal

Vegetable oil - aceite vegetal

1/2 kilo minced beef - 1/2 kilo de carne picada

1 onion - 1 cebolla

1 green pepper - 1 pimiento verde

2 small tomatoes - 2 tomates pequeños

250ml vegetable stock - 250 ml de caldo de verduras

It's all about the avocado!

Served with

4 corn tortillas - 4 tortillas de maíz

Grated cheese (Cheddar) - queso rallado (de Cheddar)

1 avocado - 1 aguacate

1/4 cabbage (shredded) - 1/4 repollo (rallado)

Crème fraîche - crema fresca

2 eggs - 2 huevos

Salsa - salsa roja

How I made Enchiladas Hondureñas
Preparing the main meal was very straightforward and nothing that I haven't done before.  First I heated the vegetable oil in a heavy-base frying pan, then I fried the onion, adding the green pepper and the minced meat, which I fried until it had turned brown.

Prepare the onion, pepper and tomatoes
Fry the onion and peppers

Once I had browned the meat, I add the chopped tomatoes, then the vegetable stock and let the whole mixture simmer for about twenty minutes.

Brown the minced beef, then add the tomatoes
Add the vegetable stock and simmer for twenty minutes

The bits on the side

Enchiladas involve lots of 'bits on the side' - the range depends on where you get your recipe from! I followed Behnke's recipe by shredding some cabbage leaves.  I decided to steam the leaves, although I don't have a steamer, so I usually improvise by putting the vegetable(s) I want to steam in a collander.  I place the collander in a pot 1/3 full of boiling water and cover with the pot lid, so the vegetables are steamed, without touching the boiling water.

Shred some cabbage leaves - I did this by hand
How to steam when you don't have a steamer

I hard-boiled the two eggs and grated some cheese.  I took the cheat's option of buying salsa in a jar and then spooned this into a ramekin, to be added to the enchiladas later.

Surprisingly, this experience was the first time I'd ever opened an avocado.  Avocados originate in Mexico/Central America and are used a lot in local dishes and Mexican specialities, like guacamole.  

Prepare the avocado

It was quite easy really, I simply sliced the avocado down both sides, cutting it in half and removing the stone, which is quite large.  I then used a spoon to scoop the avocado pulp onto a saucer.  I then chopped the avocado pulp into smaller pieces.

Unlike Mexican enchiladas, which involve folding tortillas around the meat/vegetable mixture, Hondurans prefer to pan-fry their tortillas until they are crispy, then pile all of the meat/vegetable mixture on top.

Hondurans fry the tortillas until they are crispy
Tortillas ready for their topping

So this is exactly what I did - tortillas, topped with meat, then grated cheese, avocado, crème fraîche, slices of egg, shredded cabbage and a spoonful of salsa on top.

Almost finished - where's the cabbage?

Enchiladas Hondureñas with extra salsa on the side and a cold Mexican beer

As you can see from the photo, it was quite a feast!

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