Mom’s Garden: Chard, Mushroom and Cheese Enchiladas

featuredWhenever I’m stuck for something to make for dinner, and I don’t have a lot of energy, but I’m determined to make and not buy food… enchiladas are one of a handful of dishes that come to mind. I’ve never really followed an exact recipe, but I forced myself to do so for the purposes of this site. In the past I’ve often used canned enchilada sauce, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but this time I wanted to come up with something you can throw together quickly with what you might have on hand. I think–and I could be wrong–people are more likely to have canned tomatoes in the cupboard than enchilada sauce.

I stuff enchiladas with roast chicken, ground or shredded beef, and any combination of vegetables in season might find their way in there. This time I used chard because Mom had a wonderland of it growing in her yard and asked me to take a half ton or so.

When I take a step back and look at this recipe I understand why’ it might not be considered the easiest, but here’s why it is: You can be off in your measurements for just about every ingredient and it won’t really matter. If you have a little less than the stated amount of garlic powder, or a little less cheese, it’s OK. Everything will meld and hang together just fine in the end.

Cheese, Chard and Mushroom Enchiladas (makes 12 enchiladas, or 4-6 servings)

For the sauce:

1 Tbsp. (15ml) vegetable oil
1-2 Tbps. (15-30ml) chili powder depending on how spicy you want your sauce and how spicy your powder is
1-1/2 Tbsps. (22.5ml) (brown sugar or a little less of white sugar if that’s what you have, or a dollop of honey, etc.
1-1/2 teaspoons (7.5ml) ground cumin
1 teaspoon (5ml) garlic powder (not garlic salt)
1 teaspoon (5ml) dried oregano
Pinch of cinnamon
1-28 oz. (794g) can crushed tomatoes, or whole tomatoes whizzed in the food processor or blender until smooth
1 Tbsp, (15ml) cider vinegar
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add everything but the tomatoes, sugar and vinegar and cook until the herbs and spices are very fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir continuously so nothing burns.

Add the tomatoes, sugar and vinegar and simmer for 20 minutes. Add salt to taste.

At this point you can either strain the sauce or leave it as is. I like to strain it because it gives the sauce a nice gloss, but it’s another step, more mess, etc. Let the sauce cool.

For the enchiladas:

12 small corn tortillas
1 bunch chard–about 1/2 lb or 225g.–any variety, thoroughly washed and julienned widthwise, including the stalks
1 medium onion–I used purple, cut in half and sliced pole to pole
6 oz. (180g) white button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
Vegetable oil
Salt
Balsamic vinegar (optional)
16 oz. (450g) cheese–I like a mixture of sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack, grated–set aside about 1/2 a cup of cheese to top the enchiladas

For garnish:

Sliced avocado
1/2 cup (120ml) sour cream, juice of half a lime and a handful of chopped cilantro mixed together
You could also use, sliced olives, chopped fresh tomato, sliced green onions, fresh herbs

In a large frying pan, heat about 2 tablespoons of oil over medium high heat.

When the oil starts to ripple, add the onions and mushrooms, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are starting to color and any moisture has evaporated. Add the chard, another sprinkle of salt, and cook for another five minutes or so. Even if you have a very large pan, the chard will be piled high. Just keep tossing it, preferably with tongs, and it will cook down.

chard

When most of the moisture has evaporated, drizzle a little balsamic (about 2 tablespoons/30ml) over everything. There is nothing about balsamic that says Mexican to me, but I like the bright acidity it lends to the veg.  Let cool.

cooked chard

To assemble the enchiladas:

Preheat the oven to 350F/175C degrees.

Drizzle a few spoonfuls of the sauce over the bottom of a large rectangular baking dish.

Using your ever so clean hands, dip a tortilla in the sauce, coating both sides. If you don’t do this the tortillas will break when you roll them. Place the tortilla on a cutting board or plate. Add about 3 tablespoons (45ml) of cheese, then a little veg. Roll and place seam side down in the dish. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas. If you have any vegetable filling remaining, just tuck it in around the enchiladas.

tortillafillingrolled

Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and use a spatula or spoon to spread it evenly over the dish.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.

uncooked

Bake for about 30 minutes until everything is heated through, the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted and turning golden.cooked

Serve hot with a garnish of avocado and the sour cream, lime and cilantro sauce.

sauce