Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Marfa and a plate of stacked enchiladas


“Oh Texas, rise and sing along, forever a part of you is gone. Oh Texas, say a word today in praise of the Old Borunda Cafe” From the song "Old Borunda Café" by Bob Campbell


Last week, I hungered for a big bowl of sky. Stuck in New York City, I decided to satisfy my appetite by looking at West Texas real estate web sites.

Enter an amazing piece of property in Marfa, Texas. The real estate agent (yes, I’d gone so far as to place a call) told me that it wasn’t officially on the market but with the right offer the owner would sell. I asked for a ballpark and she quoted me a figure a bit out of my price range, but very reasonable for what you get: an old adobe compound comprised of five buildings that could be filled with several living and work spaces. There’s also a gorgeous private yard with stone patios and pathways, a fire pit and a garden with one of the most impressive patches of lavender I’ve ever seen.

But here’s my favorite part: one of the buildings used to house a café. But not just any café. This building used to house the Old Borunda Café.

If you’re not familiar with the Old Borunda Café, former owner Tula Borunda Gutierrez is credited with the creation of the Tex-Mex combination plate—you know, the classic No. 1 dinner made up of an enchilada, tamale or a taco, refried beans and rice. This building is a historical monument to Texas' native cuisine!

Robb Walsh recently questioned the fate of vintage Tex-Mex. Sure, cuisines evolve and change. But should we ignore a cuisine’s roots even if our palates have learned to appreciate other tastes? Of course not! Tex-Mex was built on a foundation of refried beans, corn tortillas, brown chili gravy and orange cheese. And while there is room at the Tex-Mex table for other colors, say, more green, white and red, sometimes nothing satisfies a Tex-Mex itch more than a plate of cheese enchiladas nestled between refried beans and rice with a taco or a tamale on the side.

Over the past few days, I’ve tried to forget this building but for some reason it keeps calling me. I haven’t decided what I’d do with it, but one of the ideas I was bouncing around in my head was starting a cooking school for those wishing to learn more about Texas food in a majestic, desert setting (never mind that I’ve never taught a class, ran a business or been trained how to cook). Another is to pay homage to the building’s roots and use it to house some sort of Texas foodways organization.

Of course, you may say, the obvious thing is to open a café, but I don’t think that’s something I’d want to do, at least under the old café’s name. In Marfa, relatives of the former owner of the Old Borunda Café have a place called Borunda Bar & Grille, which is known for its stacked enchiladas. What are stacked enchiladas, you may ask. Well, in most parts of Texas, enchiladas are rolled tortillas stuffed with a filling, covered in a sauce. But often in West Texas (and also New Mexico) the filling and sauce is instead layered between flat tortillas. They look a bit different but the end taste is the same, not to mention stacked enchiladas are a heck of a lot easier to make.

Another feature of stacked enchiladas is the inclusion of a fried egg on top. I don’t know how this tradition came about, but it’s a brilliant addition. When the yolk mixes with the sauce, its creamy transformation takes the sauce from merely delicious to truly decadent. I was born and raised a rolled enchilada girl, but I can appreciate a plate of stacked ones. Especially those made with chile sauce. And if I squint, I can see in the stack the rugged terrain of West Texas with the egg standing in for clouds and the sun. It’s West Texas on a plate.

I don’t have any family or roots in far West Texas, but if you ever travel there you’ll agree that it’s both breathtaking and mesmerizing. And while my dreams for this building may not be what my future holds, for now they’re keeping me happy as I ponder a life filled with big sky above and lavender below.

West Texas stacked enchiladas

Ingredients:
10 ancho chiles (or New Mexico chiles) dried
2 chipotle chiles, in adobo
1 teaspoon of adobo sauce
2 or 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon of cumin
3 cups of chicken broth or water
2 tablespoons of lard (or peanut oil)
12 corn tortillas
3 cups of shredded cheddar and Monterrey jack cheeses
4 eggs

Method:
1. Remove stems and seeds from dried chiles.
2. Bring to a boil a pot of water.
3. While water is heating, cook dried chiles in a cast-iron skillet on medium high for about three minutes or until chiles puff up.
4. Place dried chiles in boiling water and turn off heat. Leave chiles in water until they’re soft, about 15 minutes.
5. Put softened chiles, chipotle, adobo, garlic, 1/4 cup of the diced onions, cumin and one cup of chicken broth in a blender and puree until everything is mixed together. It should be thick and smooth.
6. Heat one tablespoon of lard on medium in a pot and transfer chile puree to pot.
7. Fry puree for a couple of minutes, slowly adding remaining broth.
8. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
9. Heat at medium the remaining tablespoon of lard in skillet. Cook each tortilla for about 30 seconds on each side (or until soft). Keep warm in a towel or a warmer.
10. Place tortilla in a pan. Drizzle 1/4 cup of the sauce on each tortilla and then add 1/4 cup of shredded cheese and 1 teaspoon of onions. Add another tortilla, and add same amount of sauce, cheese and onions. Add the third and final tortilla, and again top with sauce, cheese and onions. Repeat until you have four stacks (can cook stacks individually or in a pan that will hold all four stacks).
11. Cook enchiladas for five minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbling.
12. While enchiladas are cooking, fry up four eggs to your preference.
13. When enchiladas are done, place fried egg on top.
Makes four servings.
Note: If you prefer, this chili gravy is also very, very good.

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74 comments:

class factotum said...

Oh, I miss Texas so much! I like where I live now in Wisconsin with trees and water (not looking forward to winter, though), but I miss that big blue sky and the wide open spaces of Texas. And the Mexican food.

Marfa is gorgeous and apparently has become quite trendy. You might be able to make a go of it. People will spend a lot of money on Authenticity and the trans-Pecos area is definitely authentic.

AK said...

I'm a Texan living in Virginia and just recently made stacked enchiladas for some friends with the chili gravy recipe from your Jan. 25, 2007 post. They had never heard of making enchiladas at home in any way other than in a casserole dish. They loved them stacked and the fact that each person could have personalized enchiladas. I don't know that they're quite ready for the fried egg on top, but that will be next!

HaVoCLaD said...

Ok, I'm going to Maudies for lunch.

Those pics put me in the mood for a Strait plate. (rolled enchiladas with eggs on top). Yum :)

--Pat

AT said...

Wow. Sounds like a story for a certain magazine I know... The history of the Borunda Cafe. Or, the story of the woman who left New York to buy it. :)

Johnny said...

"Hola" from Dallas! This looks yummy! I can't wait to try it! Also-- I can't wait to try your "how to render lard"! Thank you so much for this blog! Keep up the good work!

Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

Girl, you're killin' me.

I can't find enchiladas with chili sauce anywhere here in Georgia; I have to make my own, which is rare.

Your photography skills are top rate, by the way.

But you make me miss Tex-Mex like nothing else. (insert whine here)
Gotta go find something to eat.

jana said...

Ahhh...Beautiful. "West Texas on a plate."
Having lived in Abilene, El Paso and Albuquerque, I know exactly what that means.

Amy C Evans said...

you've got me hog tied with a taste for tex-mex...again. good stuff, this. i can see you in marfa. i can also see me paying you a visit!

Anonymous said...

My mother was born in Austin but moved to El Paso as a young girl and then Brownsville as a teenager. The enchiladas I grew up on and that my kids demand are these wonderful "pancake" ones.

In days BC (before children), I used a make the sauce very similar to this yours (sans chipotles -- I like yours better), but now I know why my mother always made it with the traditional Tex-Mex chili gravy: it was so much faster.

My father always insisted on the fried egg on top, which I believe is Spanish influence (early fusion).

I know what I want for dinner tonight!

Lee

lisa said...

Sounds very cool. Whether you make it a cooking school, cafe, or foodways organization, let me know if you need help.

Homesick Texan said...

Class Factotum--You can't beat that big sky. As for making a go of it, that's exactly what my dad said. Hmmmmm.

AK--The fried egg can be frightening if you've never seen it, but they can always take it off if they don't like it.

FaVoCLad--Mmmmm...that sounds awesome!

AT--Ahem...perhaps!

Johnny--Hola! And I hope the lard rendering goes well.

Chel--Thank you! And it's worth it to treat yourself with some chili gravy every once in a while.

Jana--Oh good! I'm glad that makes sense.

Amy--You're welcome to visit anytime!

Lee--I've never heard them called pancake enchiladas, but I love it! And I've never heard that it was a Spanish influence--very interesting.

Lisa--Thanks! I'll give you a holler!

Julie said...

Those online real estate sites can be so seductive but that really does sound like an amazing place. And a cooking school is such a great idea. Sort of exciting to contemplate.

Culinarywannabe said...

I would SO sign-up for your TX cooking class! You should do that!

Anonymous said...

The enchiladas sound amazing, they are definitely going on my "must-try" list!

You have such a love for your home state, it would just be awesome to see you living out your dreams back there in the environment you love best, homesick no more. Maybe the cafe is calling to you for a reason!

kkryno said...

I say go for it! If you do what you love, you're always a success! West Texas is certainly closer to Home than NYC. I have faith in you AND your dream.

Kim said...

Um... LISA... buy this place right NOW!! Like NOW. As in now.

If for no other reason than letting me stay there when I visit!

But seriously. You simply must do this.

NOW.

Kim

Anonymous said...

I don't get to go visit my family in West Texas this summer, but reading your blog is just about the next best thing. That and the enchiladas I'll make this weekend.

I keep thinking that you're going to run out of stuff that I love, but it just doesn't seem to happen. Every post is more emotional for me than the last.

Thank you.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

When some artist friends and I were planning a road trip to the Southwest US five years ago, we kept trying to wrangle Marfa onto our itinerary. We never did get there. So now, instead of going for the amazing art installations, perhaps we'll be coming to your cooking school instead!

CraftyCanadian said...

I only recently discovered your blog and I have to tell you I am THRILLED to have found it!! I was born and raised in British Columbia Canada but I spent a few months working in Austin and met my husband there. He spent much of his life in Southeast Texas and went to graduate school in Austin. We now live in Southern California - a place with no discernable 'soul' (at least not the sort we crave). Even though I only lived there for a short time, Texas dug deep into my soul and that is where my heart longs to be. I miss my childhood home of course but if we could choose to live anywhere, it would be Austin. We love it so much, we got married at the Salt Lick - YES we were proud to put those two words on our wedding invitation! We go back every year for our anniversary which just so happens to coincide with SXSW (totally NOT coincidence). With all the wonderful events and music happening, we revel most in the FOOD and your blog is just a jewel for me! Last year, I tried something I hadn't had before and I found myself craving it for weeks after we returned home - Tacos Al Pastor from Maria's Taco Express YUM!

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog through "Smitten Kitchen" and promptly bookmarked it. I am an east-coaster who spent 5 years in the Petroplex (Midland-Odessa) and am now in Colorado. I still miss Tex-Mex, the seasoning is different here. The cooking school sounds fabulous...add a B&B for students and travelers and you could really have a combination there...espesially with Ft. Davis, Alpine Big Bend in the area...

JLV

Olivia said...

How cool. Many years ago, my first Texas friend's husband's first posting as a town planner was in Marfa. I remember she used to complain about the sand all over the house (she's a Dallas girl and he's a former Canadian Mountie!)

I am sorry to say that I spent so long in TX without going further west than Austin. Of course, being away from a place makes you appreciate it more, so one day I would love to be able to afford the time and the money to explore that great state, and this great country. Maybe come out to your cooking school ;)

Cynthia said...

I think that you should get the place and teach the classes.

Paula said...

Oh man, now I want to move to Texas! My daughter's good buddy is going to move to Texas next year, as her parents are from there and miss it terribly. These stacked enchiladas look so amazing, and as if that weren't enough, placing that egg on top makes them my idea of bliss! Great, great recipe.

Anj said...

I was raised in Odessa and never knew enchiladas were rolled for a long time. I haven't had them in years. I live on the Texas Gulf Coast now. I just spent a weekend in Austin and the hill country and wrote about it on my blog. I love the way you write and make it seem as if you are there. Your blog is just awesome.

kkryno said...

Umm; does this mean you won't have time to blog for your loyal foodies? ;)

tripletmom said...

Oh My Goodness!! I have looked at that property online. Never been to Marfa, but it was my father's favorite West Texas town. He wouldn't recognize it now from what I've heard. For some reason my husband (not a Texan) says from time to time, "Let's chuck it all and move to Marfa". I think you should go for it. That would be my dream job. If you do it, count me as a visitor and customer.

Amy in Alabama

Weston said...

What the world needs is the Texas equivalent of the Southern Foodways Alliance (southernfoodways.com). I can't think of anybody more qualified to start it up than you. Marfa - great location. Hey, if Terlingua can draw the foodies, why not Marfa!

matthew said...

Please buy the property! The universe is pushing you there, so just give in. Find a partner, someone with a love of business, and split the cost. How many great opportunities will you see like this in your life?

Mike said...

".... ideas I was bouncing around in my head was starting a cooking school for those wishing to learn more about Texas food in a majestic, desert setting "

Brilliant. If you were "waiting for a sign"....

Janna said...

My tummy is grumbling and this looks flat out amazing. YUM!

Homesick Texan said...

Julie--It is fun to contemplate--we'll see what happens.

Culinarywannabe--Really? All right then!

Anon--The enchiladas are indeed delicious--enjoy!

kkryno--OK!

Kim--I'm booking a plane!

Anon--You're very welcome. Thank you for reading!

Lydia--Marfa is very, very cool. You need to visit!

CraftyCanadian--It's funny how Texas grabs hold of your soul and doesn't let go, isn't it? I love tacos al pastor, too! They're hard to make without one of those rotisserie spits, but I need to figure out a way to do it in a regular oven.

JLV--Thanks for stopping by! And that's one of the appeals of the property, there are several living areas so that would definitely be on offer.

Olivia--How interesting your friend's husband was a town planner in Marfa--it's such a small town I wonder what there was to plan! And now that you're here--you definitely need to explore our great country. It's so vast, however, it could take a lifetime.

Cynthia--Thanks for the vote of confidence! I'll have you come as a guest instructor on island cuisine!

Paula--Yep, the egg takes the over the top and makes them truly decadent!

Anj--Aw, thank you! And it's funny, growing up in Houston I didn't know you could have stacked enchiladas!

Kkryno--Heck no!

Tripletmom--Isn't it cool?

Weston--That's what I was thinking--there's certainly plenty of things to discuss when it comes to Texas food.

Matthew--I'm trying! There's another buyer looking at it next week and I can't get out there until the end of August. If it's meant to be, it's meant to be.

Mike--I don't know if it was a sign or my overactive imagination, but for whatever reason it (still) has a hold on me!

Janna--Thanks! It is good!

Mike said...

I was looking thru Texas Monthly yesterday...towards the back are loads and loads of property listings....most in the hill country...those always make us think "what do we need to do to live in a place like that ?"

..peace

Frank said...

Got a friend in Marfa who is building a bar. He decided the only way to get something done was to run for city council. He won, so if you need some political assistance...
I love me some breakfast enchiladas!
FM

Jerry said...

Now I want to see the big blue sky of West Texas, too! Well, at least at sunset when the sun hits the "mountain" just right! I often times wonder why I ever left, but I guess going back and sitting down to tacos at Las Manitas or any other mexican restaurant is going to be that much sweeter. J

Maryn McKenna said...

You must, must, must buy this place.
If you can. If it's, you know, meant.
And we will all come eat there. Or book classes. Or whatever you need!
(Texan relocated to Minnesota. Sad.)

molly b. said...

I usually dismiss my urges to do something really cool, and then regret it when someone else comes along and restores a Route 66 landmark or a stainless steel diner that I had my eye on... even if it's not very successful, I envy them for trying.

I would love to see you do this, not least because you have plans to honor its history instead of tearing it down and building a McMansion (or two) on the lot.

Lous group said...

Always good to see a story devoted to the wonders of Tex-Mex cooking. There is nothing as soothing to the senses as a good plate of Tex-Mex. The names alone are a treat. Sonia's favorite, the Monterrey, the Saltillo, the No. 2. I could write a book about the names of good Tex-Mex plates I have enjoyed. I grew up in deep South Texas where Tex-Mex is a way of life. If you are ever travelling down I-35 toward Laredo, south of San Antonio, stop at Pacho's in Dilley. The guacamole is authetic-- just avocados and lime and maybe some serrano chopped in. Can't beat it... with chips and cold Modelo Negro...
lou W

Sarah said...

Brown Chili Gravy Question:
Did you include it in this recipe? I grew up in teh central valley of California, not exactly west texas, but burritos, when i was a kid in the 70's & 80's were small affairs with stewed beef with onions and chilis with a brown chili gravy. I did have it again about 10 years ago, but they called it ranchero sauce, but all of the recipes I've tried come out too much like enchilada sauce, and not much like brown chili gravy. Gravy is just in a class by itself.

Janet said...

What a fantastic blog! I wish I'd found you sooner.

Hope you don't mind, but I'm going to link to you on Lord Celery.

My British husband and I try desperately to duplicate my favorite Tex-Mex dishes, and I have to say he does a bang-up job given the ingredients we have to settle for some times. Your recipes - and thoughts - will make a welcome addition to my life!

Janet

La Becky said...

I just love this blog. I am born and raised in SoCal, but my mom was from Marfa. I still have family there. This recipe brought back fond childhood memories. My mom also added shredded lettuce on top of the stack as well as the fried eggs and queso of course. Last time I was in Marfa was in February,but am usually there on labor day weekend. I have been going to Marfa since I was a child in the '50s. I can just hear that sweet drawl and the sound of mexican music. Ejole!!

Anonymous said...

I grew up on a very similar recipe of stacked enchiladas, I had never seen a casserole dish of rolled enchiladas until I moved to Illinois and I thought people here were crazy. When we first moved here I complained so much about the lack of Tex Mex that we had to have a party and introduce these mid-westerners to really good food. I remember one poor man who didn't believe us when we told him one dish was hot and another was not...poor fellow must have drunk a ton of water that day.

As for the egg on top, I grew up very poor, very. The men in the family got an egg on top, mostly the women did not and certainly the children didn't, so it's a real treat for me to put those eggs on top today.

BTW, go for it, while reading your blog is absolutely wonderful and your recipes outstanding, I'd come for the hands on experience in a flash.

Yoyo

Anonymous said...

I say go for it. What's the worst that can happen? Besides if you don't you'll think about the 'what-if' for the rest of your life.

JigsawJones said...

Can I just say that I love your blog? I was born and raised, and thankfully still live in, Texas, and I love reading your musings about how much you love Tex Mex and Panchos. It made me happy. You are awesome, I will definitely visit your blog a lot now that I've found it!!

Leslie said...

I moved to Austin in the mid 90s, then back again in 2004. I love Texas--the spirit is like nowhere else. I love your site. While I have enjoyed lots of TexMex food, and my husband is 3rd generation Mexican American from southern California, I don't always have great success recreating our favorites. Thank you for your site! I think you have willed yourself a cafe/cooking school in Marfa, girl!

Sara said...

Oh my word...I LOVE your site! Thank you!

Margaret said...

Oh, Marfa! If you start it, we will come.

ann said...

Do I feel a mail-order biscuit-shipping operation in your future? Perhaps... Either way I want me some stacked enchiladas now! Sweet god those sound good! I've learned so much about Texas history from you Lisa!

Bee said...

I'm fascinated by the thought of you in Marfa! I think that you could definitely find a niche there.

I look at property wherever I go, and last week was entertaining ideas of moving to Portsmouth, NH. New terrain; new possibilities.

BTW, speaking of traditional Tex Mex, I ate some stuff that hearkened back to my childhood when I was in Saratoga, NY. An ex-jockey from Mexico has a restaurant called Leon's. Even though he is supposedly from Oaxaca, the food tasted pretty Texan to me.

Homesick Texan said...

Mike--Ahh, the Hill Country is another dream...

Frank--Good to know!

Jerry--Distance does make the heart grow fonder!

Maryn--Thanks for the encouragement!

Molly--This building is nothing without the history.

Lous group--And that would be a very enjoyable book!

Sarah--There's a link at the bottom to my brown chili gravy.

Janet--I don't mind at all--thank you!

La Becky--How cool you have family in Marfa--it's really a fascinating place!

Yoyo--Introducing the locals to our native cuisine must be a rite of passage for homesick Texans! And it never fails to amaze me how "tame" their palates are.

Anon--That's very true--life's too short for "what ifs".

JigsawJones--Awwww, shucks. Thank you!

Sara--Many thanks!

Margaret--Thanks for the encouragement!

Ann--Glad to have been some use around here!

Bee--You know, I've never been to Saratoga, but reading about it on your blog has made me want to take a trip soon. And I'll definitely have to check out Leon's.

Kelley said...

West Texas is Heavenly ...

Anonymous said...

I am sitting in Hotel Limpia in Ft. Davis as I read this!!! Too bad we didn't get to try the enchiladas but the recipe sounds divine and I will have to make it this weekend when we return to Austin. Off to the Star Party at McDonald Observatory.

Anonymous said...

too bad marfa has become what donald judd was running away from, what a pitty! rich gringos always have to ruin everything

Brian Edwards said...

In June my great-aunt passed away in Pecos, TX and I headed back home for the funeral - I had just been there a few weeks before for vacation. Her funeral was in Pecos and burial in Florence (near Belton). We drove from Midland to Belton and my plan was to sleep in my dad's backseat. It didn't happen, I couldn't sleep. I watched West Texas turn into the hill country - ate good BBQ at Hard 8 in Brady and a Dr. Pepper Flurry at Storm's in Lampasas. Six hours of good food and the most beautiful scenery in the world. I miss seeing the sky...and stacked enchiladas.

Janet said...

I live in West Texas in the desert..it gets up to 110 and 120 degrees in the summer...I grew up on stacked enchiladas with an egg on top..My father worked on a ranch in NM after ww2, and the Spanish woman that was a cook taught my mother how to make corn tortillas...they weren't rolled...the batter was thick..and cooked on a griddle...when done...stacked with red chile meat sauce, cheese and a fried egg on top...they were wonderful!! I like mine personally with a green chicken encilada sauce, lots of cheese and a fried egg...they are wonderful...
I love your site...and am so thankful to live in West Texas..where the sky and the friendly people are endless..

Miss Meat and Potatoes said...

Lisa - DO IT!

a) No one will love the building like you do.
b) Nobody deserves it more.
c) You don't want to slap fate in the face.

Panther City said...

I would come to your cooking school! I'm a Texan living in Washington, DC, and your recipes have definitely inspired me to learn more about Texas cuisine. Thanks for sharing all of these great recipes with us, and for making them come to life with history.

SteamyKitchen said...

OOOOHHHH....I cannot think of a more PERFECT food than the crispy lacy edge of a fried egg.

Mary said...

It makes my heart ache and my mouth water to read about the food and landscape of Texas. Glad to know that I am not the only one who misses that powerful something that is buried deep in the soul of Texans. I like to say they put "it" in the water since I can't explain it. Living in the NW, I miss the people and food most of all.

Marfa is a great place as are the neighboring towns. Being that close to magic of Big Bend is enough of a reason to go to Marfa and stay at the Thunder Bird Motel...they did a great job redoing it.

Thanks for the blog post!

tara said...

oh how i love being a west texas girl!!! yummy yummy food!!

Anonymous said...

As one poster eluded to, Marfa has changed and not for the better. The hip factor is sickening.....too much hype and too little substance.....and it's not all rich people either.

I know the building you are talking about and it is wonderful, but I always tell friends that living there and visiting there is completely different. I lived there before it changed and decided recently it was time to move on. I'd start your cooking school somewhere else and visit Marfa when you can....the town will always feel refreshing if you take that route.

Glad Pancho and Judy are still doing their enchilada dinners! Always tasty when they served it on a Friday night especially with the egg on top!

Rob said...

We're in not-too-far-away Odessa and there are still plenty of quaint small towns out West even if Marfa is getting a little too artsy for some peoples' tastes. And you can still find plenty of classic Tex-Mex out here!

ALittleGuitar said...

Thank you for sticking up for the basic enchiladas-refrieds-rice Tex-Mex plate. And thanks for bringing Tula Borunda Gutierrez into the light.

Mary said...

Old Borundas used to be one of my favorite places to eat back in the '70's and early 80's. I only lived in Marfa for 6yrs but sure do miss the great food and friendly people. Thanks for this blog post; you have brought back many fond memories.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Marfa, Texas. In the 60's, if you were one of Mrs. Borunda's favorites (my mother was lucky enough to be one) she would call you to let you know that she was cooking and would make sure that there was food for you. Otherwise, she cooked until everything was gone and then closed. She did this on a wood burning stove.

I am now planning a wedding for my daughter in Marfa. After spending a week in there (which included many plates of stacked enchiladas, green chili burritos, and West Texas style chili rellenos) we both did not want to leave.

I now live in Boerne, Texas and have found a cafe that will fix my enchiladas "Borunda" style, but the waitresses still shake their heads when I order....................

annstewart1@verizon.net said...

I was browsing the Iternet for queso recipes and came across your site. Was thrilled to find your recipe for stacked enchiladas and your memories of the Old Borunda. I was born in Marfa and grew up a short distance away in Alpine. We made frequent trips to the Old Borunda, and even after we moved to "the big city," we went back often to eat Carolina's enchiladas and tacos until, sadly, age caught up with her and she had to close. We've never found an equal to the Old Borunda.

Now, if you could only come up with a recipe for those wonderful rolled chicken tacos with red sauce that Carolina made!

Granny said...

Well, it ain't the high dessert of Arizona but plenty close enough. How I do miss big sky and tortillas the size of cartwheels and chile - none of which can be had in Vermont. (Luckily I do know how to make those tortillas!)

Thanks for making me hungry.

Dawn said...

Chel's Leaving a Legacy--I know exactly what you mean! I'm a West Texas girl, now living in East Tennessee (Chattanooga), and so miss good ole Tex-Mex.

We found out quickly, that the natives in this area are not familiar with good Mexican food. And the restaurants look at you like you're from outer space when you ask if they have brown chili gravy for their enchiladas.

I love this site and have passed it onto other misplaced Texans in the area. We have used the fajita recipe several times. Tasted great and can't wait to make them again!

Like others on this blog. I truly miss my home state, the beauty and wonders of the great state of Texas. Like I tell people: you can take the girl out of Texas, but you can't take Texas out of the girl. -- It's a Texas Thing, They Wouldn't Understand.

Lucinda said...

I'm very late to this party, but I made these enchiladas yesterday and they were fantastic on a cold NYC night. I only made two stacks, though, and I'm left with lots of that gorgeous chile sauce. I'd appreciate any other suggestions of how to use it in the next week--which of your recipes call for the same stuff? Thanks!

Charming Char said...

This is probably going to sound ridiculus, but what type of pan do you use? When I think of "pan"...I think of a frying pan. I live in West Texas, and I've seen Enchilada "casseroles", (obviously made in a casserole dish), but I've never tried this particular recipe before. MUST TRY.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Charming Char--I usually put them in a 9x13 baking pan or a large cast-iron skillet.

Raymond Merrill said...

I grew up in El Paso but my family on both sides are from Marfa and Fort Davis. I grew up spending about one weekend every month or so in Marfa and we often timed our trips to make it down in time to eat at "Carolina's" as the locals called the cafe by then (60's & 70's). There was something very unique and special about her cooking on that wood-burning stove, how they brewed sun-tea in the window every afternoon. It was the best. And as one previous commenter said, they were open from 5:30 to about 8. You'd better be there on time or you might not eat. One evening as were flying down the highway from El Paso to Marfa at dusk, my father was pulled over by the state trooper just out of Valentine. When my father answered the obligatory question about why he was speeding, dad simply said "we're trying to make it to Carolina's before they close". 'Nuff said - we were waved on without further delay.

I loved that restaurant, Sra. Borunda, Stephanie the waitress, and most of all those wonderful red enchiladas with an egg!

One summer long after the cafe had closed, I stood out in the middle of HWY 90 with a tripod and Yashicamat and snapped this photo. http://m.flickr.com/#/photos/e5095/1469988373/sizes/o/in/set-72157602233499527/
My mom told me two weeks later the facade was whitewashed forever. Thankfully, Carolina gave my mom her chicken flauta recipe - for that I'll always be grateful.

Thank you for this wonderful post!

CraftyCanadian said...

I made this last night (the version from the cookbook) and LOVED it!! I added grilled chicken (seasoned with salt, pepper, ancho powder, and lime juice) that I shredded and mixed with sauteed onions. YUM!! The runny egg really does make all the difference.

WileyP said...

I was in my early twenties and had travelled extensively before I learned that some people actually served enchilladas rolled up and with no egg on top. Had no idea what that was on my plate when I ordered 'em at a restaurant in Colorado. I've heard stacked enchilladas called "New Mexico style" in some restaurants, but they are rarely on the menu outside of west Texas and southern New Mexico. Still, stacked enchilladas are the quintissential comfort food in my book!

BBQChick said...

I top just fried eggs with my red chili sauce. When that runny yolk mixes with that deep red flavor, i am in heaven.

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