I wish I could say that I timed this dinner to coincide with Cinqo de Mayo, and made celebratory margharitas (a virgin one for me) to accompany our festive feast, but I didn’t. But then, I don’t need a particular day to remind me how tasty South of the Border food options are. This is an old staple of mine but one I hadn’t made in years (the girls claimed it was their first time seeing this dish on the dinner rotation)… they are already clamoring for a repeat.
I have a big black photo album that serves as my recipe binder, with tried and true favorites cut and pasted into its pages. It is what I thumb through each week when figuring out what I am going to make, although I also switch things up depending on what looks good at the store. I thought this recipe would be in my binder but it does not seem to have survived the switch to the binder’s current incarnation (the last was so food splattered that I transferred everything to a new binder a few years ago). I knew it had been a Bon Appetit or Gourmet recipe (I have subscribed to both magazines for years), so I searched on epicurious (www.epicurious.com is my other favorite recipe website, along with www.foodnetwork.com) and found it! So here it is, along with a recipe for the Mexican corn I served alongside.
Cheese Enchiladas with Green Sauce
- 1/2 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 cup milk
- 6 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 3 green onions, minced
- 1/2 4-ounce can diced green chilies, drained
- 1 3/4 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 12 6-inch corn tortillas
- 3 cups grated mild cheddar cheese
- 1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup sour cream
Cook spinach according to package instructions. Drain well. Set aside. Melt butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add flour and stir mixture 2 minutes; do not brown. Gradually whisk in whipping cream and milk. Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in spinach, cilantro, green onion, chilies, cumin, coriander and red pepper. Puree in batches in processor until almost smooth. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using.)
Heat oil in heavy small skillet over medium-high heat. Using tongs, briefly dip each tortilla in oil to soften, about 15 seconds per side. Transfer to paper towels and drain. Combine cheeses in large bowl; set aside 1 1/2 cups for topping. Combine onion and cilantro in small bowl. Place 1/4 cup cheese mixture in center of 1 tortilla.
Spoon 2 teaspoons onion mixture over. Roll up tortilla. Place seam side down in large glass baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas, cheese and onion, using 1/4 cup cheese for each. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Stir sour cream into sauce; pour over enchiladas. Sprinkle with reserved 1 1/2 cups cheese. Bake until cheese melts and enchiladas are heated through, about 25 minutes.
I made a salad of diced tomatoes, red onions, avocado, cucumbers and cilantro with a jalapeno vinaigrette to accompany the enchiladas and some rice. I didn’t make my green rice because I knew the green sauce from the enchiladas could also spice up the rice. And I rounded out the meal with Mexican Corn, which we love. We had quite a bit leftover so the next day I cut off all of the kernels, with the mayo and parmesan cheese still on them, and sautéed them with some onions. It made for a yummy side dish and the corn toppings made for a yummy sauce.
Grill the corn on a grill or a hot griddle (I used my new castiron griddle that came with my new stove because I didn’t want to turn on the grill outside for just the corn) until it is slightly charred on all sides. I then cut each corn cob in half but you don’t have to do this… I just fine them more manageable to eat when smaller. Mix ½ cup mayonnaise (I use a homemade one because I like the taste better, but good quality purchased mayo works just fine) with a sprinkle of red chili powder, onion powder and garlic salt. I also usually throw some diced cilantro in too but I didn’t have any on hand because I stupidly cut it all up for my salad without realizing that I should set some aside for the corn. Doh!) Spread the mayo mixture on the charred corn and then dip the corn in grated parmesan cheese (about 1 cup) so that it is coated on all sides. Serve with lime wedges.
We all fought over the leftover enchiladas the next day for lunch, and I used the corn as a side for the next night’s dinner. This time I made just enough sauce but in the past I used to double the amount of sauce and use it (minus the sour cream) as a topping for pasta or rice.
We finished the meal off with tres leche cake!