Saturday, 4 September 2010

Burrito, Enchilada, Fajita or wrap?

I once had a boyfriend. No, really I did! I once had a boyfriend who said, over a meal at a Mexican restaurant that he had decided (in his infinite wisdom) that actually all of the above were the same, just folded differently. Now, at the time being a mere baby at *cough*20*cough* I didn't really think much about what he said. However, one of the things I notice more and more as I cook others' recipes and develop my own, ,is the tiny differences that make a particular dish just that. So my enchiladas (above) are vegetarian, and baked with cheese inside, a salsa and more cheese on top, despite being folded in a mighty similar way to a fajita or burrito.

More seriously, I have just bought Thomasina Myers book Mexican Food and am looking forward to reading more and expanding my horizons as I'm aware that guacamole and some kick ass enchiladas do not a demonstrable skill in Mexican cooking make, and I hope to start to remedy that.

Anyway this post is really for Jess of Dreaming Wide Awake. A month or so ago she tweeted that a new Mexican place had opened near her work, and she was enjoying their burritos. Now caveat about not knowing my way around Mexican cooking aside, I wanted to post this recipe for her as it's one of my favourites, and it's vegetarian. When I post main meals I notice that it's rarely vegetarian, despite the fact that I actually eat very little meat, but those meals are my midweek, run-of-the-mill, chuck it in and hope for the best type dishes and I don't blog them, because even if I do make my own pesto, no one really wants to read that I cooked the pasta for 9 minutes, then added 2 dessert spoons of pesto and put half of the finished result in tupperware for lunch the next day.

Where was I? Oh yes Jess' enchiladas. These are based very loosely on a recipe that Sainsburys once did on a recip card. You may remember these, they were A5 sheets of card with the picture of the dish on one side and the recipe on the other, they had a wine/ general drink recommendation on them, and were normally seasonal. I had loads, I think they're up in my Mum's loft along with my extensive collection of books (if someone oculd tell me where my copy of Pride and Prejudicce has gone though I would be grateful). Anyway, this one I think was linked into the launch of a new cheese and I remember being in my early twenties and insisting I could only make it if I had all the ingredients. However I actually can't remember the last time I cooked something actually having all the ingredients and not having to be in the slightest bit creative. So, consider this a guideline. Adapt it so you love it. Even writing down how I last made it I want to adapt the spicing (that Thomasina Myers is invading my thought process I'll bet!)

Jess' enchiladas (surprisingly enough, not their original name)


1 onion chopped finely
1 clove of garlic crushed
1 chilli (not mindblowingly hot, but so you can taste it) chopped
1 green pepper diced
Either 1 tin of chopped tomatoes or 1 small carton of passata
Splodge of tomato puree
Handful of chopped flat leaf parsley

Put a splash of olive oil in a pan and gently cook the onion and garlic until the onion goes translucent
Add the pepper, and cook a little just so it starts to soften
Add the tomatoes, and a little seasoning. You don't need too much salt as you're putting a lot of cheese on the salsa and in the enchiladas.
Stir everything in and add the tomato puree
Once it's cooked down to a thick paste, add the parsley and stir through before taking the pan off the heat. Pop the salsa into a bowl. I should say cooled this is lovely with tortilla chips, but if you can keep your hands off it, it goes on top of the enchiladas before baking.

Filling for the enchiladas

1 clove garlic crushed
1 red chilli chopped
1 onion chopped up
1 red and yellow pepper cut into strips
Mushrooms chopped up into slices
Tomatoes (I often use halved cherry tomatoes but the original recipe asked for sunblush ones)
Either a small tin of sweetcorn, or cut the corn from 1 cob
1/2 tsp of cumin
If you want extra heat add some chilli powder
2 big handfuls of grated cheese
Chopped coriander

Plus you'll need a packet of tortillas. Or if you're feeling particularly adventurous, nip over to Dinner Diary and have a go at making them yourself.

Again, start with some olive oil and cook the garlic and chilli down briefly until they start to soften (be careful not to burn the garlic as it goes horridly bitter)
Add the strips of pepper and mushrooms, cooking really gently for a few minutes
Add the tomatoes and sweetcorn and let the tomatoes start to cook down and release their juices
Add the coriander (You don't need bucket loads. I use a small handful)
Take the pan off the heat and stir in the grated cheese - you want the residual heat from the pan to start to melt it
Put spoonfulls of the filling in each tortilla and wrap them up in a sausage shape
Put these into an ovenproof dish - I use a square lasagne dish
Top with the salsa and the rest of the grated cheese
Put in the oven at 180 degrees for about half an hour or until the cheese is nice and brown and everything is heated through

Serve with guacamole, and salad.

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