God's favorite Mexican food. Spicy without being painfully hot. Eat them and your friends will think you're a gourmet for even knowing you could make Mexican food without using red peppers or jalepenos.

The best of these I ever ate were at a truck stop outside of Clovis, New Mexico, but that was over ten years ago, and I was in the company of two beautiful women. Who knows if the taste would be the same now. The worst I ever had was at some dive in Canyon, Texas, where they just dumped a bunch of jalepenos over my enchiladas. Easy reminder: Jalepeno peppers =/= green chiles, my friends.

Green Chile Enchilada "Casserole"

I call it "casserole" because this is my home-style method for making a bunch of servings at once, rather than cooking it plate by plate and blasting each one with a salamander, the way it's done in restaurants. Green chile sauces vary: in Las Vegas, New Mexico the Rialto puts a lot of black pepper in theirs, and in Albuquerque they frequently extend and smooth the sauce with corn starch.

2 skillets, a 9X12 baking pan, a broiler.

Important: Beer must be consumed before, during and after cooking.

Thaw the frozen chile. Preheat broiler. Brown ground meat in a skillet. Chop the onion fine and brown it with the ground meat. (My wife doesn't like onion so I skip this step). Add spices, stir, and then add thawed green chile. Once you have added chile, just heat until warm: do not simmer or (sacre bleu!) boil. The mixture just has to be warm enough to help melt cheese. Set aside.

On a separate, clean and well-oiled skillet, fry each tortilla briefly until soft. Do not fry the tortillas until they are crisp like tortilla chips. If your skillet is good and hot and you mash each one down with a spatula (which also helps flatten out any bubbles) each tortilla will be soft in only a few seconds.

Take four (4) softened tortillas and lay them out on in the baking pan. Take about one (1) third of your chile mixture and spread it on the tortillas, then about a third of the cheese, and finally about half of the sour cream. Make another layer of tortilla, chile mixture, cheese and sour cream, and then finally a layer of tortilla, chile, and cheese. If you have different kinds of cheese, use the softer cheeses (like mozarella) on the inside layers and save the hardest to melt (cheddar) for the top layer. Stick the pan under the broiler for a few minutes: just long enough to melt the cheese on top.

Cut servings from pan and serve on warm plates with garnish, and whatever side dishes you like (refritos and rice are traditional).

Makes about four (4) nice-sized servings.

Note: In case of chile overdose, sopapillas (fried dough) and honey are the best cure, not water. (Capsaicin is fat-soluble).

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