Can you make decent enchiladas from corn tortillas?

My experience says no. The damn things are just too brittle to roll up without splitting, if not immediately then within 2 or 3 minutes of sitting there in the pan, all stuffed with goodies.

I’ve tried warming them up via a toasty skillet, a steamer, a microwave. I’ve tried chilling them in the fridge first. I’ve briefly dunked them in sauce; I’ve left them dry. I’ve rolled loosely, I’ve rolled tightly.

They always break up and when served, it’s just a pile of hash with tortilla fragments in it, unlike my nice, tasting individual flour tortilla enchiladas.

Is this just the nature of corn tortillas? What little I’ve been able to find on the internet suggests so. When comparing the corn product to the flour one, most tend to focus on their relative health benefits, but a few sites make passing mention that flour is preferred for enchiladas, burritos, and other rolled products, while corn is better for making chips and hard taco shells.

Have I merely rediscovered the basic fact that corn tortillas are not for the making of enchiladas? Or am I missing a secret?

This thread was inspired by me grabbing a bag of tortillas at the grocery yesterday in anticipation of a nice dish of chicken enchiladas, only to discover I’d grabbed corn ones when I got hom. :o

When I make enchiladas, some of them do split, but I can usually get 75% of them rolled without splitting.

To me, if it’s made with flour, it’s missing the fundamental taste of the enchilada. I’m an enchilada purist.

But how?

I am hardly ham-handed; I can repair jagged wounds with a delicate touch and get cosmetically good outcomes, and extract foreign bodies from a variety of orifices without causing significant damage. Yet I fail with corn tortillas, and I’ve tried a variety of brands and states of freshness, in addition to the earlier methods I’ve mentioned.

And how do you get them out intact, after cooking? Even my least split ones come out resembling nothing like an enchilada.

I appreciate this sentiment, but I’ve been told by more than one mexican cuisine expert that enchiladas developed in northern mexico, where wheat grew easier than corn, and is more traditional as a tortilla ingredient. Whether true or not, I don’t know.

I’m with** jsgoddess.** I like the taste of the corn, and mostly they roll fine.

I get several tortillas out of the bag and microwave them for 30-60 seconds with a wet paper towel over them. Mostly they stay intact, although a few might tear a bit. Torn ones still taste good.

That’s what I do, usually, too. If I want them to be especially pretty for some reason, I fry them very briefly in oil.

How about wrapping the corn tortilla with a flour one?

The corn one gets you the corn flavor. The flour one has the structural integrity to keep the thing together.

Yeah, I’ve never been impressed with corn tortillas either.

I dunk them in the (very warm) sauce and burn the #$%@ out of my fingers while rolling them. It works very well. Is it worth it? Only you can decide.

Tried that many different way, it fails for me. If anything they seem to get more fragile for me. :confused:

I’ve never had an enchilada made with a flour tortilla. If it’s in a flour tortilla, it’s a burrito.

That’s the way I do it. When I make enchiladas, I make eight of them because that’s how many will fit in the baking dish. Usually one will split, and I replace it. The trick is that you have to dunk the tortillas long enough to make them pliable, but not so long that the fall apart.

Tangentially, I often roll leftover turkey, chicken, or machaca into taquitos that I freeze for later consumption. I dampen the tortillas and arrange about six of them on a plate, cover them with a dampened paper towel, and put them in the microwave oven for 30 seconds or so until they’re pliable. I’ll make a couple dozen, and I have zero to two splits.

Flour?? For enchiladas??
Growing up along the border, enchiladas are only corn. I have honestly not heard of flour tortillas being used for enchiladas. Yes, flour tortillas are traditionally northern and corn southern, but even still, it’s always corn. I’m confused that any site would state the opposite.

Here’s what we do: heat up the tortillas to be warm, pan fry in oil until translucent (not crunchy). Place on paper towels to absorb extra oil. Fill and roll. Ladle sauce.
You can also skip the roll part and stack like pancakes (but you still pan fry). This style is called “Montadas” and is often served with a fried egg on top.

When I make enchiladas, I get very fresh, made that morning, tortillas from the Mexican grocery store. Those seem not to break as much as the who-knows-how-old tortillas from the supermarket. I think it’s a freshness thing. Even bread gets stiffer the older it gets; I think tortillas are the same way.

Homemade tortillas are probably even better, but…no. Enchiladas take long enough to make already!

You have the same problem with enchiladas that my college room-mate had with joints: you’re rolling them too tight. Flour tortillas have the gluten to be able to be stretched and wrapped with some tension. Corn tortillas do not. So it requires an easy touch and a loose roll - just enough to contain the contents. Otherwise I follow Johnny’s procedure. A few split, but not many.

It also helps if you get really fresh tortillas, which isn’t very likely where you are. Here I can stop at three places on the way home from work and get tortillas that were made within the hour, if not half-hour.

Living in South Texas, never use flour tortillas for enchiladas. Only corn tortillas. And try heating the corn tortilla with a bit oil, it rolls much easier.

Wow, I’m taken aback. I’ve never eaten an enchilada made with a flour tortilla. I asked my wife if she’s ever had one made with flour tortillas. Her response was “not at a good restaurant”. You’ve made both of our brains hurt with this question.

So, my response is that the enchilada made from anything but a corn tortilla is the one to hold suspect.

Yes, you must heat them before you roll them. Room temperature corn tortillas don’t roll well (but you can make stacked enchiladas with them flat). The paper towel/microwave method mentioned above is effective. Dipping in the sauce you’re topping them with is almost necessary.

As to getting them out of the pan after cooking them, I’m a complete and total bitch about this*. If you’re making more than a serving of enchiladas at a time, you’re making enchilada casserole. That’s an ok dish to fend off death by starvation, but it’s not the divine thing that well made enchiladas can be. You have to make them by the serving, usually 2-3 enchiladas at a time, on the plate you’re going to serve them on. Fill them and roll them, put the sauce and cheese on them, the put them under a broiler of some sort until the cheese melts and the filling is heated.

The difference between making a pan of 6-8 them (enchilada casserole) and making them 2-3 at a time is severe. When you make larger batches of them, the outer ones are over done by the time middle ones are hot, and the middle ones tend to be mush by the time they’re hot, anyway.

As much as I favor flour over corn, myself, I always understand that if I order an enchilada, it’s going to come in a corn tortilla. If you make them a lot, then maybe learn how to make fresh tortillas yourself. I can’t believe it’s that hard to do. Then make a big batch of enchiladas and freeze them.

I haven’t made them from scratch, myself; but when I was a kid we had a maid who came in once a month, and she’d also cook dinner. I’d come home from school hearing slapping coming from the kitchen as she made tortillas by hand. (Well, from hand to hand; hence the slapping. :wink: ) Seemed a bit labour intensive. From what I understand, most people who make tortillas at home use a tortilla press.

Yes, I was thinking of using the press. I have no idea how hard it is to make the dough. Is it called masa? I could be wrong, but dough isn’t usually that hard to make, especially if it doesn’t have to rise.

I’ve never heard of enchiladas with flour tortillas. Such a creation would be a smothered burrito of some type, not an enchilada.

The right way to do it is to lightly fry the tortillas in oil. If I’m lazy, I’ll hear them up in sauce instead.

There’s the old joke about Mexican food, where the novice goes in and asks, in succession, what is a taco, burrito and enchilada. Of course the answer is always: meat, beans rice and cheese, in a tortilla.

I’ve seen seafood enchiladas with flour, but it’s unusual to see others, in my experience. It’s definitely more common here in Maryland than it was in LA!