July 26, 2012
These enchiladas are evidence of my struggle to reconcile myself to reality. While August is fast approaching and there’s still plenty of hot and humid days to come, I cannot help but fantasize about winter. Beautiful, chilly, winter with its chunky knit scarves and bracing, Arctic winds. Velvety hot chocolate that smoothly slides down your throat with its—key word: welcome—warmth. Twinkling Christmas lights strewn across porches, making every neighborhood look like a charming movie set. Steaming bowls of hearty chili that make you feel all snuggly and cozy inside. All of it. I want all of it!
Then of course there’s reality. It’s summer. My air conditioning was on the fritz until recently and I can hardly make it from car to grocery store without breaking a sweat. People everywhere seem to be overheated and on the edge of a major, toddler-y temper tantrum. Worst of all, this wretched season separates me from all the aforementioned wintery delights—chunky knits, hot chocolate, Christmas lights, and chili—which is just not cool.
Thanks to my longing for colder days, we have these enchiladas. A normal pot of chili just didn’t seem right for this time of year, but I still thought that there had to be a way to use some of the same yummy flavors. After my mom suggested that I make some enchiladas sometime soon, inspiration hit. Rather than the ho-hum everyday enchilada fillings that stick to pretty simple combinations, I realized that the ingredients and spices found in a bowl of chili would actually suit enchiladas deliciously.
And now we have these! Filled with a yummy combination of ground beef, pinto beans, tomatoes, and savory spices, these enchiladas are a great way to quell any sort of chili craving. Plus, they’re kind of awesome in their own right as well.
What about you guys? Do you long for chilly winter like me? Or are you soaking up all the summer warmth?
A La Kocinera Original Recipe
1 pound lean ground beef
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 jalapeño, chopped (optional: seeds removed)
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 16-oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup beef broth or water
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
8 small flour tortillas
2 cups shredded Mexican-style cheese blend
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño, cooking until softened. Add ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally to break it apart, until the meat is browned and cooked.
To the ground beef mixture, add the diced tomatoes, pinto beans, beef broth, heavy cream, cumin, chili powder, cocoa powder, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, salt, and pepper, stirring to combine. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Stir in chopped cilantro.
Line a large (9 x 12 inch) baking dish with nonstick aluminum foil (or line with heavy duty foil and coat with nonstick spray). To assemble the enchiladas, fill a tortilla with some of the beef mixture, then sprinkle with a small handful of cheese. Roll both sides of the tortilla over each other toward the center and place it seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining seven tortillas, nestling them tightly in the baking dish and reserving about 1 cup of the beef mixture and 1 cup of the cheese for topping. Spread remaining beef mixture evenly over the tortillas and top with leftover cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.
Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro and serve warm.