A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 06, 2008
Stacked Enchiladas (Enchiladas Chatas) or Mounted Enchiladas (Enchiladas Montadas)

Most enchiladas in Texas are rolled, but New Mexico is famous for its stacked enchiladas, resembling stacked pancakes. Stacked enchiladas (enchiladas chatas) are also a specialty of Sonora, Mexico.

Stacked enchiladas (also called “flat enchiladas” and “mounted enchiladas,” or enchiladas montadas) are cited in print from at least 1950.


Handbook of Texas Online
TEX-MEX FOODS. Tex-Mex foods are a combination of Indian and Spanish cuisines, which came together to make a distinct new cuisine.
(...)
Although traditional foods reveal the strong cultural ties between Mexican Americans in West Texas and those in South Texas, they also reveal the cultural differences. West Texas Hispanics are much more closely tied to the New Mexican culture. In West Texas and New Mexico, for example, enchiladas are typically prepared flat: the tortilla is dipped into hot grease and then into chile sauce, placed on a plate, and covered with grated cheese and chopped onions. The process is repeated until one has a stack of three or four tortillas, upon which a fried egg may be placed to make enchiladas montadas (mounted enchiladas). Beef or chicken is reserved for the rolled enchiladas originally popular in South Texas and now available around the world.

Food Network
Traditional New Mexico Red Chile Cheese “Stacked” Enchiladas
Recipe courtesy Nedra Valdez
Show:  FoodNation With Bobby Flay
Episode:  Albuquerque

6 corn tortillas
Oil (optional)
1 1/2 to 2 cups red chile sauce, recipe follows
1 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 small chopped onion
2 fried eggs
1 cup shredded lettuce
3/4 cup chopped tomato

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Each serving will contain 3 corn tortillas. Take the tortilla and dip it in hot oil or dip it in the red chile sauce and put on plate. Top this with cheese and onion and more sauce and put another dipped tortilla on top and repeat this 2 times. Heat in the oven or under the broiler until cheese melts and top with a fried egg. Garnish the plate with the lettuce and tomato. You can serve this with fried potatoes or pinto beans. (...)

Cooks.com
STACKED ENCHILADAS
1 dozen corn tortillas

SAUCE:
10 oz. tomato juice
1 tbsp. chili powder
Dash of garlic salt
1/8 tsp. basil
1 lb. hamburger, browned and drained
Salt and pepper to taste
1/8 tsp. cumin
1/3 c. cornstarch

TOPPINGS:
1 c. grated Cheddar cheese
1 c. grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 c. tomatoes, chopped
2 c. lettuce, sliced
1 lg. onion, diced

Simmer spices and juice with hamburger at least 10 minutes. Add cornstarch dissolved in small amount of cold water and stir while bubbling until thickened.
Soften tortillas by soaking in sauce one at a time. Place softened tortilla on individual serving plates. Top as desired with toppings, and layer until stack of enchiladas is desired serving size. Serves 6-8.

Cin’s Recipes
Stacked Enchiladas (Enchiladas Chatas)
Red chili sauce
1 pound ground beef
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup finely chopped white onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
2 cups shredded mild Cheddar cheese
2/3 cup chopped, pitted ripe olives
1 1/2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce (...)

eHow
How to Make Sonoran-Style (Stacked) Enchiladas
Introduction
This style of enchilada is less common but is very quick and easy. This should serve 4 to 6 depending on appetites.
(...)
Assembling the Enchiladas
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Cook the ground beef, chopped onion and salt in a large skillet. Drain on paper towels to remove excess grease.
3. Heat the remaining lard or oil in a small sauté pan. Using tongs, dip a tortilla in the oil for 2 or 3 seconds, long enough to soften it.
4. Spread 2 tbsp. sauce in a circle the size of a tortilla on a cookie sheet. Place the tortilla on the sauce.
5. Top the tortilla with some ground beef, onion, green olives and cheese. Repeat the dipping process with a second tortilla, and place it on top of the first to make a sort of sandwich.
6. Spread more of the sauce on top of the second tortilla.
7. Repeat this process with the remaining ingredients and sauce.
8. Sprinkle some cheese on top of the stacked tortillas, and bake for 8 minutes.
9. Garnish with the onion rings, cilantro and optional lettuce or tomatoes. Top each enchilada with the optional fried egg for an authentic Sonoran treat. 

8 October 1950, Corpus Christi (TX) Caller-Times, pg. 13C, cols. 1-4:
(Photo caption—ed.)
ENCHILADAS STACKED SANDWICH FASHION
...tortillas, onion, cheese, chili and lettuce
(...)
Although rolled enchiladas are more popular in Corpus Christi than the sandwich type enchilada, the latter is gaining in popularity. Both are served in Mexico. There are nearly as many recipes for enchiladas as there are salad recipes but one follows that is fairly representative.

Enchiladas
12 cornmeal tortillas
2 cups enchilada sauce
1 small onion, cut fine
1/2 pound aged cheese, shredded
1 medium head of lettuce, shredded
4 fried eggs (optional)

Heat sauce in frying pan. Combine onion, cheese and lettuce. For each enchilada, dip a tortilla into the hot enchilada sauce and place it on a plate. Sprinkle with lettuce mixture. Cover with another tortilla dipped into the hot sauce. Sprinkle with lettuce mixture. Repeat with a third tortilla. Pour about 2 tablespoons of the hot sauce over the top and serve at once. If desired, place a fried egg on top of each enchilada.

Enchilada Sauce
1/4 cup oil
1 medium onion, peeled and cut fine
1 clove garlic, peeled and mashed
1 sprig parsley, chopped fine
1 can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons chili powder.

Heat oil in heavy skillet. Add onion, garlic, parsley and tomato paste. Simmer 3 minutes. Ad water, vinegar, oregano, salt, sugar, cayenne and chili powder. Bring to a boil. Simmer 15 minutes to blend flavors. 

14 October 1954, Albuquerque (NM) Tribune, pg. 38, col. 5 ad:
Tomorrow, serve tempting flat enchiladas (left), made with Ashley’s Tortillas, Enchilada Sauce, fresh cheese and onions. 
(Ashley’s of El Paso—ed.)

Google Books
The Royal City
by Les Savage
Garden City, NY: Hanover House
1956
Pg. 21:
Enchiladas were stacked like blue dinner plates beside deep Talavera dishes from which steamed the New Mexican smells of chile and onions and melted cheese.

28 September 1958, Las Cruces (NM) Sun-News, “Las Cruces School Menu,” pg. 10, col. 4:
Stacked enchiladas with beans, vegetable salad, bread and butter, pudding, cup cakes, one-half pint whole milk.

5 April 1960, Tucson (AZ) Daily Citizen, pg. 9, col. 2 ad:
ENCHILADAS CHATAS
(Flat Enchiladas)
Wonderful tortillas...drenched with rich golden cheese, stacked like pancakes, topped with a fried egg! Surrounded with lots of spicy enchilada sauce, garnished with shredded lettuce! Delicious!
CASA MOLINA

31 October 1963, Delta Democrat-Times (Greenville, MS), pg. 15, col. 5:
Stacked Enchiladas: Use the above fried tortillas, Chili Sauce and filling to make enchiladas. Stack fried Chili Sauce dipped tortillas and meat filling in alternating layers, having tortillas as the bottom layer and meat filling over the top, using 4 to 5 tortillas. Sprinkle with cheese. Heat only to melt cheese in a preheated moderate oven (350 degrees F.). If tortillas are not available, replace them with thin corn meal pancakes.

20 October 1966, Big Spring (TX) Daily Herald, pg. 8B, cols. 1-3:
One of the dishes that captivated Mrs. Ward is stacked enchiladas.

Mrs. Ward, who is assistant volunteer coordinator at the Big Spring State Hospital, describes her enchilada recipe:

“I got mine from a real Spanish cook, and it is ideal for family dinners or informal entertaining. The trick is to serve each plate when it is piping hot. If you are cooking for a crowd this means that some are eating while others are still waiting, but that just adds to the casualness.”
(...)
ENCHILADAS
(STACKED)
1 lb, ground beef
2 small cans enchilada sauce
2 cans, small, taco sauce
4 or 5 dried red (hot) peppers, crumbled
1 cup water

Fry ground beef, don’t brown. Add enchilada sauce and rest of ingredients. Simmer until sauce becomes barely thickened. (Approximately 30 to 45 minutes.)

1 medium sized onion, chopped
1/2 lb. or 1/2 moon of longhorn cheddar cheese, grated
2 to 3 cups chopped lettuce
12 tortillas

In another skillet with hot shortening, dip one tortilla very briefly, transfer to sauce (coating lightly), then to warm oven-proof plate, pancake style. Put two or three tablespoons of sauce - meat mixture in tortillas, then sprinkle with onion, lettuce, and grated cheese. Treat second tortilla in same manner until you have three stacked tortillas. As each plate is completed, place in pre-heated oven at 250 degrees. When cheese is melted and sauce slightly bubbly, top with a fried egg and serve immediately. Lettuce and tomato salad is the perfect accompaniment for enchiladas. Serves four.

23 August 1969, New York (NY) Times, “Santa Fe’s Expert Tinsmith, Caterer and Enchilada-Maker” by Jean Hewitt, pg. 18:
Main course plates were piled high with fiery-hot, tender tamales, crisp tacos, a wedge of stacked enchiladas and pinto beans.

20 December 1971, Denton (TX) Record-Chronicle, pg. 7B, col. 8:
STACKED CHEESE ENCHILADAS
1 can (18 count) tortillas
2 10-oz. cans enchilada sauce
Salad oil
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups green onions (including tops), chopped

Heat salad oil in one skillet, enchilada sauce in another.

Dip tortillas, one at a time, in hot oil just long enough to soften them and make them puff. Then dip in heated enchilada sauce.

Place one tortilla in a small, shallow ungreased casserole and sprinkle with 1 or 2 tablespoons of cheese, about 2 tablespoons of onion and a little sauce. Preparing each layer the same way, make three stacks of filled tortillas.

Pour remaining sauce over the stacks and top with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until hot.

Cut in 4 pie-shaped wedges to serve. Makes 6 generous servings.

23 February 1974, Silver City (NM) Daily Press, pg. 5, col. 4:
STACKED ENCHILADA DINNER
(Tyrone Masonic Hall—ed.)

28 March 1975, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “N.M.-Style Mexican La Esquina’s Dish” by Patty Moore, section A, pg. 20:
Everything here is a la carte, and the style of cooking, rather than Tex-Mex, is indigenous to Taos, New Mexico. Enchiladas are stacked instead of rolled, sopapillas are served either as a dessert (with honey) or an entree (stuffed with beans, beef or pork) and there is a choice of red (mild) or green (spicy) chili sauce on most entrees.

30 August 1975, Dallas (TX) Morning News, section F, pg. 1:
LA ESQUINA, 2815 McKinney. Something different for Mexican food freaks—New Mexican style dishes with a choice of red or green chili, stacked enchiladas, sopapillas which are available for both entrees and desserts.

9 February 1977, Pasadena (CA) Star-News, pg. C1, col. 4:
A different kind of enchilada. From Rosarita.
When you pick up one of our frozen dinners, you’ll notice a new look.

Then when you open up our Beef Enchilada or Cheese Enchilada Dinner or our Combination Plate, you’ll discover a different kind of enchilada.

We call them Sonora-style enchiladas. Nobody else has them. They’re stacked, not rolled, so they give you more filling.

22 October 1977, Albuquerque (NM) Journal, pg. A8, col. 3 ad:
old fashioned stacked Enchiladas...$2.19
(El Bandido de Dillard’s—ed.)

8 November 1977, Tucson (AZ) Daily Citizen, pg. C1, col. 3:
On feast days she might prepare roasted beef or venison, or turkey, or tamales and enchiladas, stacked like pancakes, as preferred in Sonora.

8 February 1984, Casa Grande (AZ) Dispatch, pg. 6, col. 3:
STACKED ENCHILADAS
(Serves 4)
Ingredients: 1 package corn tortillas, 1 pound Longhorn cheese, 1 head of lettuce, 1 1/2 pounds ground meat; 1 medium onion; 1 medium can of tomato sauce; 1 medium can of enchilada or hot sauce; 1 cup of oil; stuffed olives (optional).

Method: Grate cheese, chop lettuce, chop onion. Brown meat, add flavorings to your taste. Heat oil in frying pan; sauce in separate pan. Dip tortilla in hot oil for a few seconds, then dip in sauce, then place on cookie sheet. (You will need two cookie sheets to make four stacks.)

Repeat above with another tortilla. Then layer each tortillas with a layer of meat, cheese and lettuce. Repeat above two more times with the exception that on the middle layer you put a layer of finely chopped onions. When complete, place in a 300-degree oven for about 20 minutes (just to melt cheese).

When ready to serve, remove with spatula and put on diner plates. Divide remaining sauce over stacks, sprinkle with remainder of lettuce and cheese and top with sliced, stuffed olives.

Note: Has all the ingredients of a taco, but a completely different taste.

Google Books
The Rancho de Chimayó Cookbook:
The Traditional Cooking of New Mexico
by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison
Boston, MA: Harvard Common Press
1991
Pg. 72:
Chimayó enchiladas were traditionally stacked rather than rolled, contrary to the Mexican style seen most frequently in this country.

Google Books
The Santa Fe School of Cooking Cookbook:
Spirited Southwestern Recipes
by Susan Curtis
Salt Lake City, UT: Gibbs Smith
1998
Pg. 74:
Enchiladas are probably the most popular dish served in New Mexican restaurants. They are on every menu. This recipe was one of the very first ones used at the Santa Fe School of Cooking. We have prepared this recipe so many times that you would think we would tire of it, but the aroma of the enchilada casserole is still mouth-watering. Traditionally, in New Mexico enchiladas are stacked rather than rolled, which is a much easier way to fix them and makes them a great choice for large dinner parties. (...)

1 October 2006, Nation’s Restaurant News, “The Enchanted Cuisine of New Mexico” by Ken Rubin, pg. 8:
Enchiladas can be either rolled or stacked. A steaming plate of stacked enchiladas, served with a single fried egg on top, is an especially popular New Mexican classic. 

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Wednesday, February 06, 2008 • Permalink