Updated: May 21
The word "empalmada/o" means stacked/ stacking. We will be stacking lightly fried smothered corn tortillas on top of each other, uniting them with cheese and topping them with eggs (vegetarian friendly!) but you can top them with eggs & chorizo, sausage, bacon, ham cubes, machaca, carne asada, chicken or anything your heart desires!
There is 2 versions in the preparation of the tortillas only. The 1st version is more traditional and slightly more messier however this is my favorite version! I do use both versions, depending on how I am feeling at the moment (Is it a "make-a-mess" type of day?) Please follow either version 1 or 2, if there is a directive that does not specify either 1st or 2nd version, then it is meant for both!
The preparation for empalmadas begins exactly the same as preparing enchiladas, however I find empalmadas slightly easier to make since we skip the step of having to fill and roll them into a perfect little flute. With empalmadas you just stack each tortilla (like pancakes!) put some cheese in between each one and top with any of your favorite toppings! (For toppings try eggs & chorizo, sausage, bacon, ham cubes, machaca, carne asada, chicken or beef.)
If you've been following my recipes, you will notice I use and RE-USE a lot of ingredients to make different dishes. For example, 1st day- eat rotisserie chicken from grocery store, 2nd day- shred leftovers and make enchiladas. I'm very good at not throwing good food away! My mother was a sole provider and never learned to drive, she worked at the liquor store across the street and brought home $300 a week. She was constantly working to try to make ends meet and when she wasn't working she was at home prepping meals for the week, therefore we rarely ever went out to restaurants. We ALWAYS had a weekly pot of beans and rice in the refrigerator. My mother was pro at finding different ways to incorporate leftovers into a brand new dish. Empalmadas are a great way to embrace this idea! Fill or top empalmadas with any leftover meats, tofu or fried veggies you have left from yesterday's dinner!
Emplamadas made with Mountain Screamer Salsa
This recipe makes 4 empalmadas, each with 4 layers and enough sauce leftover to drizzle on top.
1- 16 Oz bottle of Mountain Screamer Green or Red Salsa (hot, medium or mild.)
18 white, yellow or blue corn tortillas
Small amounts of chicken broth or water (if the salsa needs thinning, don't use if not needed.)
Eggs, chorizo, ham cubes, bacon, sausage, chicken, shredded beef, ground beef, fried potatoes or any other topping you prefer.
Your favorite cheese. If no ideas come to mind try mozzarella, queso fresco, cotija, or Mexican shredded cheese.
Enough oil to lightly fry the tortillas, (about 2 cups.)
Let's get started!
2nd Version only: Prepare the sauce by pouring into a wide bowl or container, if the sauce is too thick, add small amounts of chicken broth or water to thin it out to a easily dippable consistency. (See images for visual.)
1. 1st Version: In an empty skillet pour the 2 cups of oil and heat at medium heat. 2nd Version: The whole 2 cups is not necessary all at once, only pour a small amount to coat the bottom of the pan, save the rest to supplement as needed/ when the oil starts to diminish. Both Versions: To test the readiness of the oil, pinch a piece of tortilla and place it in the oil. If the tiny piece starts frying the oil is ready and you can start placing the tortillas in it. Depending on how large or small your frying pan is, you might only be able to fit 2 to 4 at a time.
2nd Version: Dip the tortillas in sauce first and THEN fry them! This is personally my favorite method because they just taste soooo good when you fry them WITH the salsa but it DOES get messy because the oil will jump higher and more frequent with the sauce! Fry each tortilla about ten seconds each side. Place on the plate as they come out of the pan, top with cheese and continue to fry the remaining tortillas dipped in salsa until you have made 4 plates, each stacked with 4 tortillas, each layer filled with cheese. (Or as many as you need.)
2. 1st version: Fry the tortillas just enough to heat them up, not to get them crispy. They will still be soft or semi-soft, about ten seconds on each side. Quickly take them out and place them on a plate. If using 1st Version, line the plate with paper towels so they can suck up the oil.
3. 1st Version: While you fry the tortillas, intermittently prepare the sauce by pouring into a sauce pan in low heat so it starts to simmer. If the sauce is too thick, add small amounts of chicken broth or water to thin it out to a easily dippable consistency. (see pics above for example.)
4. 1st Version: Once all tortillas are fried, using your fingers or tongs dip each tortilla in the sauce so that both sides are fully saturated. Begin making layers of tortillas on each plate, filling them with cheese in-between each one until you have built 4 plates, each stacked with 4 tortillas, each layer filled with cheese. (or as many as you need.) Top with Mountain Screamer green sauce, eggs, cheese, sour cream, chorizo, sausage, bacon, beef, chicken, chopped onions or any other toppings you prefer!
Enjoy and let me know how it goes! Did you use version 1 or 2? What did you incorporate to make it your own?