Larry’s Mexican Restaurant is frozen in time, as are many other things about the “Twin Cities” of Richmond and Rosenberg. You can still ﬁnd Spaghetti Mexicano on the menu at Larry’s and the cheese enchiladas are still made with American cheese, just as in the good old days. But the old-fashioned cheese enchiladas taste as good as, or better than, their modern yuppiﬁed counterparts. Be sure and have extra tortillas on hand to mop up the puddle of chili gravy and melted cheese left on the plate by these quintessential Tex-Mex enchiladas.
Makes 8 enchiladas (4 servings)
Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Using tongs, place a tortilla in the hot oil for 30 seconds or until soft and lightly browned. Place on absorbent paper and allow to cool before handling. Ladle 1/4 c. of the chili gravy onto an ovenproof plate. Place 1/4 c. of the American cheese and 1 T. of the chopped onion in the center of a tortilla and roll the tortilla around the ﬁlling. Put the tortilla seam side down on the gravy-covered plate. Repeat with another tortilla. Pour another 1/4 c. of the chili gravy over the top and sprinkle with 1/4 c. of the shredded Cheddar. Repeat for all four plates. Bake each plate in a 450° oven for 10 minutes or until the sauce bubbles and the cheese is well-melted. Remove from the oven and garnish with the remaining chopped onions. Serve immediately.
The lifeblood of old-fashioned Tex-Mex, chili gravy is a cross between Anglo brown gravy and Mexican chile sauce. It was invented in Anglo-owned Mexican restaurants like the Original Mexican Restaurant in Fort Worth.
Makes 2 cups of Chili gravy
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour and continue stirring for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it makes a light brown roux.
Add all the dry ingredients and continue to cook for 1 minute, constantly sitrring and blending ingredients. Add chicken broth or water, mixing and stirring until the sauce thickens.
Turn heat to low and let sauce simmer for 15 minutes. Add water to adjust the thickness.
From the July 2004 issue.