Enchiladas, Pinto Beans and Corn Pico de Gallo
One of my favorite things about cooking is trying new things and not knowing how they’ll turn out. Whether or not the recipe comes out the way I expected or the way it’s supposed to, I love the process and the results.
But last weekend, I wanted enchiladas.
There is nothing new about me making enchiladas. It’s one of the few dishes I can make without a recipe. I can even recite the recipe, handed down to me from my Mom, on demand. In fact, I did so the other day when a friend asked if I could send her the recipe. Even better, one of my fellow Texans loves my enchiladas enough that he requested them specifically when he came to visit. Hello most awesomest compliment around.
Anyhow, I’m sure you’re thinking that I could’ve tried a new enchilada recipe. I thought about it, but that’s not what what I wanted. I wanted my Mom’s enchiladas. And by gosh and by golly, I was going to have them.
And then a part of my brain started yelling, “Hey, dumba**, that’s nothing new!” Stupid brain. Demanding challenges and new things. The nerve…
To appease my brain’s demands for new stuff, I compromised. I decided to make new-to-me side dishes for the enchiladas, which, in my books, don’t really need any side dishes because then there’s less room for a second (or third…) helping of enchiladas.
This is where Paula Disbrowe’s Cowgirl Cuisine comes in. Paula’s cookbook is full of recipes I’ve bookmarked as “Oh! I wanna make that!” For this particular adventure, I chose Shiner Bock Beans and Corn Pico de Gallo. To me, they seem like semi-logical choices to accompany enchiladas.
I’ll be honest. I chose Shiner Bock Beans mostly because I like Shiner Bock and figured it wouldn’t be beer abuse to use a bottle of Shiner Bock to make up a pot of pinto beans. I make pinto beans plenty often enough, but I typically flavor the pot of beans only with some salt, pepper and a ham hock. Flavoring a pot of beans with onion, garlic, jalapeno and more, and then finishing off the simmering process with Shiner Bock is new-to-me.
Although… I just now re-read the recipe for Shiner Bock Beans and realized I totally forgot to add the chipotle chiles in adobo. Whoops!
Oh well, the beans still came out just fine in my books. And, as Paula explains in the description, these beans are even better the second day. And they were perfect for huevos rancheros a couple of days later — just like Paula said they’d be.
Shiner Bock Beans are also good when topped with Paula’s Corn Pico de Gallo recipe. Personally, I needed the Corn Pico de Gallo that first day. My brain was having a tough time processing the fact that the pinto beans didn’t taste like pinto beans usually do. Odd since it was my brain demanding the new dishes.
Anyhow, the Corn Pico de Gallo is a straightforward recipe of corn, chile peppers, cherry tomatoes, scallions, cilantro, olive oil, sherry vinegar and seasonings all tossed together and allowed to marinate a bit. As a salsa, it works. Corn Pico de Gallo also works just fine as a salad eaten straight out of the mixing bowl. … I mean, when served alongside enchiladas. Yeah. That’s what I meant.
Oh heck! Who am I kidding? Once again, I’ve found a recipe that is ostensibly meant to be a garnish or condiment, but could be a standalone dish. (See also: Virginia Willis’ tomato garnish for her corn chowder.)
All in all, my day in the kitchen was very rewarding. I walked away having satisfied my enchilada craving and my brain’s demand for new-to-me dishes that will likely be added to the tried-and-true repetoire for future use.
For those of you interested, go get Paula’s Cowgirl Cuisine pronto! You’ll want the recipe for the Shiner Bock Beans and Corn Pico de Gallo, plus a bunch of the others. And now, here’s my family’s recipe for enchiladas.
Makes about 8-10 enchiladas
2 to 3 cups of cooked, chopped chicken
1 4oz can of chiles
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups cheese, shredded (monterey jack and pepper jack, recommended)
Sautee green peppers and onions in 3 tablespoons of butter until soft. Mix together with the chicken and chiles. Set aside.
For the sauce, melt the other 3 tablespoons of butter. Stir in the flour and salt with a whisk. Whisk in the chicken broth. Cook and stir regularly until until it thickens and is bubbly.
Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream and 1/2 cup of shredded cheese until well mixed.
Pour a 1/2 cup of the sauce over the chicken mixture. Set aside the rest of the sauce. Fill the tortillas with 2 or 3 tablespoons of the chicken mixture. Roll ’em up and set them in a lightly greased 13×9 pan.
When you’ve filled the pan, pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup of cheese evenly on top of the enchiladas.
Bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees in the oven. You’ll know the enchiladas are ready when the cheese and sauce is bubbly just a bit.