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Old 05-12-2017, 08:48 AM   #1
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Mushy corn tortillas in layered casserole

I have a top drawer Enchilada Casserole recipe that I love to do more like a lasagna, layered with corn tortillas laid flat between the layers of filling. (i.e., not rolled up like enchiladas).

Anyhow, I struggle to keep the tortilla shells from getting mushy. I have tried using them right out of the bag, and I have tried frying them just slightly on a grill before using them. I think the slightly toasted ones came out worse than just plain.

Any ideas for keeping some integrity in these things with all the filling and baking going on?

OK, I just thought of this while writing: You could argue that it doesn't need to bake like a lasagna, why not just heat/cook the filling, layer it with the shells and cheese, slice and serve (before they have time to sog).

Now another idea: maybe take another run at frying these things first but include a little oil to try to crisp up a slightly more protective layer (as opposed to just drying them out on a dry frying pan).

Any ideas, or feedback on these ideas, greatly appreciated!

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Old 05-12-2017, 09:02 AM   #2
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Corn tortillas are made with corn flour, i.e. masa harina. They readily absorb moisture, jus as do cookies, breads, cakes, flour tortillas, etc. If you are baking the tortillas along with the juicy filling ingredients, some of that moisture will be absorbed by the tortillas, especially as the liuids get hot and start to steam.

Even if you first heat the filling ingredients, then layer with the crispy tortillas, if allowed to sit for any time, the tortillas will get soggy.

About the only way I can think of, for you to get the results you want is to make your filling, and serve in small bowls at each place setting, and fry up hte tortillas in oil until crisp, and serve as chips to be used to scoop up the fillilng. The flavor will be the same, but with crunchy tortilla chips instead of softened ones.

HOpe this helps you.

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Old 05-12-2017, 09:20 AM   #3
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Arent the tortillas in a casserole supposed to be soft?

That's the way I like them. Otherwise it's just nachos ...
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Old 05-12-2017, 11:44 AM   #4
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Hi there and welcome to Discuss Cooking.

It's simple, if you don't like the tortilla texture in a casserole change your plan and go with the typical rolled Enchilada's. Yes, it's a little more work but it's the only solution.
For rolled Enchilada's I like to dip the corn tortillas in hot oil before laying them out to fill. If I'm using flour tortillas, I slightly blister them over an open flame before filling.
Hope this helps.
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Old 05-12-2017, 02:31 PM   #5
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Kay, I warm a bit of the enchilada sauce to dip the tortillas in to soften them enough to roll, then if there's any leftover, I just use it in the enchilada dish.

Otten, corn tortillas are tricky to use in a layered casserole. By the time the entire dish heats up, corn tortillas do tend to soften up 'too' much.

As Kayelle mentioned, it's a bit more work but I'd go ahead and roll them, top with some of the sauce and cheese, and heat just until nice and warm and the cheese is melty. I love corn tortillas for enchiladas, but flour tortillas hold up a bit better, especially if you want to make a layered casserole and have planned leftovers.
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Old 05-12-2017, 04:47 PM   #6
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I would love to hear the outcome of this... I have had the same experience.
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Old 05-13-2017, 11:38 AM   #7
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Super *super* helpful replies, thank you all so much!! I did make one more run at using corn tortillas, I drained the filling and then simmered it for an hour with the lid off, hoping to dry it out a bit without drying the chicken. I also tried oiling the pan that I used on the tortillas, .... overall just a bit better than last time. I'd say 'decent', whereas the last round I did was just mush. Next time I'll try flour tortillas. And after that, just roll them as suggested.

What a great set of people! Hope I can return the favor someday, even if indirectly.

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Old 05-13-2017, 11:47 AM   #8
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The flour ones will get mushy too, even fried, if they sit for very long. The chiliquillas (sp?) we make uses fried sliced flour tortillas. I usually save some for the top after everything has had a chance to melt and meld.
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Old 05-13-2017, 12:04 PM   #9
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You want the enchilada casserole to be layered like a lasagna. Lasagna noodles are soft when done. I'd either accept that or make rolled enchiladas as suggested.
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casserole, corn, tortillas

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