Enchiladas in Mexico were a revelation. If you are an American, you probably know enchiladas as I do - tortillas stuffed with some usually meaty filling, rolled up or folded over, and baked in a dish, covered with a mildly spicy sauce. A topping of melting cheese completes the picture.
Growing up, Mom's enchiladas were flour tortillas filled with a mixture of ground beef browned with onion. The tortillas were dipped in Las Palmas mild enchilada sauce. They were topped with shredded American cheese. We loved them. A popular present to take when visiting sisters who had moved away from California was a case of Las Palmas, so they could make enchiladas just like mom's.
In Oaxaca, enchiladas were a different animal. Corn tortillas were dipped in a thick coating of enchilada sauce, folded in neat quarters like a hanky and served three to a plate. They were garnished with a tiny piece of fresh cheese and a few whispers of onion slices.
Similar dishes were enmoladas - tortillas dipped in one of the region's 7 famous mole sauces - or enfrijoladas, tortillas dipped in a thinned-down paste of refried beans. Are you starting to see a pattern? I guess you can pretty much en[dip]alada with anything.
At this time of year, I make an enchilada that bears no resemblance to anything traditional. They are delicious, vegetarian and easy to make. I have fed them to everyone from captains to kings (ok, maybe not kings, but my pre-teen nephews ate them happily) with compliments all around.
1 medium butternut squash, halved , seeded, and baked until soft
Cream cheese - from half to a whole package, depending on how fat-friendly you are
1 bunch green onions, sliced in thin rings, including some of the green part
Some shredded monterey jack or queso quesadilla cheese, amount to your taste
12 flour tortillas
1 large can Las Palmas mild enchilada sauce
While the squash is still hot, combine it with the cream cheese and onions. Stir until cream cheese gets melty.
Oil a 13x9 baking dish or spray with cooking spray. Use a lot - this WILL stick to the pan. Pour enough sauce in the dish to coat the bottom with a thin layer.
Put rest of sauce on a flat plate or pan. Dip tortillas in sauce on one side. Place them, sauce side down, in the dish. Put a blob of squash mixture on them. Roll up. Do this until you run out of tortillas or squash, which will vary depending on how crazy you get with the squash mix.
Pour any remaining sauce over the assembled enchiladas. Top with shredded cheese - as much or as little as you like. I like a little. Cotija cheese crumbles would also work, come to think of it.
Bake for about 25 minutes in a 400 degree oven, covered if you like them soft or uncovered if you like crispy crunchy edges.
Serve with rice and a nice green salad.