Enchiladas Mineras or Mining Enchiladas are a traditional Mexican recipe hailing from Guanajuato, a mining town where the women took this dish to their husbands at the end of their work hours. These enchiladas are traditionally filled with onions, cheese, and a stew-like combination of carrots and potatoes.
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Guanajuato Mining Enchiladas
For the guajillo chile salsa:
- 15 guajillo chiles stemmed and seeded
- 1 garlic clove peeled
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp kosher or coarse sea salt
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 ½ cups chicken or vegetable broth
For the enchiladas:
- 2 cups crumbled queso fresco ranchero or cotija or farmer’s cheese, crumbled (about 8 ounces)
- 4 tsp finely chopped white onion
- 1 lbs red potatoes peeled and cut into small dice
- 1 lbs carrots peeled and cut into small dice
- 4 radishes rinsed thoroughly and cut into small dice
- 4 romaine lettuce leaves rinsed and thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp white distilled vinegar
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp kosher or coarse sea salt or to taste plus more to salt the water
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- pinch sugar
- pickled blond peppers or pepperoncini or pickled jalapeños
- On an already hot comal or skillet set over medium-low heat, toast the chiles for about 15 seconds per side. The inner skin will turn opaque and the outer skin will crisp. Place them in a medium saucepan, cover with hot water and set over medium-high heat. Let them simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until they rehydrate, soften and plump up.
- In the jar of a blender, place chiles along with 1 1/2 cups of their soaking liquid, the garlic, oregano and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Puree until completely smooth. In a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, pour the oil. Once hot, but not smoking, add the guajillo chile sauce and cover with a lid ajar, as the sauce will be jumping. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, add the chicken broth and cook a couple minutes more. Turn off the heat and keep covered.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the queso fresco with the chopped onion. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, bring salted water to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until cooked through but not mushy. Scoop out with a spider or a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. In the same water, add the carrots and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until cooked but still firm. Scoop them out, place in the same bowl and set aside. Once the vegetables have cooled a little bit, add the radishes and lettuce. In a small bowl, mix the vinegar with the oils, 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste, and a pinch of sugar. Whisk well and pour over the vegetables.
- When ready to eat, have the guajillo salsa warmed up. Place a comal or skillet over medium-low heat and wait until it is very hot. One by one heat the corn tortillas, about 15 to 20 seconds per side, until they barely begin to toast. With a pair of tongs, dip each tortilla into the guajillo salsa on one side and then the other. The tortilla will barely get “wet” and soften in the sauce. You don’t want to pour this sauce on top, as it is rather bitter, it should just be a light coating.
- On a plate, set the “wet” tortilla and place 2 to 3 tablespoons of the queso fresco in the middle. Fold the tortilla making a half moon shape. Prepare one by one, or all one after the other, and place on a platter.
- Garnish with the dressed potatoes, carrots, radishes and lettuce. Place pickled peppers on the side.
Guanajuato is a city and municipality in central Mexico and the capital of the state of the same name. It is part of the macroregion of the Bajío. It is in a narrow valley, which makes its streets narrow and winding. Most are alleys that cars cannot pass through, and some are long sets of stairs up the mountainsides. Many of the city’s thoroughfares are partially or fully underground. The historic center has numerous small plazas and colonial-era mansions, churches, and civil constructions built using pink or green sandstone. The city historic center and the adjacent mines were proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988.
The growth of Guanajuato resulted from the abundantly available minerals in the mountains surrounding it. The mines were so rich that the city was one of the most influential during the colonial period. One of the mines, La Valenciana, accounted for two-thirds of the world’s silver production at the height of its production.
The city is home to the Mummy Museum, which contains naturally mummified bodies that were found in the municipal cemetery between the mid 19th and 20th centuries. It is also home to the Festival Internacional Cervantino, which invites artists and performers from all over the world as well as Mexico. Guanajuato was the site of the first battle of the Mexican War of Independence between newly assimilated Mexican insurgent warriors and royalist troops at the Alhóndiga de Granaditas.
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