Spring break is over and it’s still kind of cold in Grinnell. What a crock of shit! Springtime in the Midwest is such a tease — February tantalizes you with 70-degree days and snowstorms, while March delivers much of the same. Why am I moving to Minnesota, again? Christ. As you can see in the above photo, even my tablecloth is pissed.
Well, as you’ve probably heard, I’m a tortilla-making monster. What’s better medicine for a cold bitch of a day than Tex-Mex? With the help of my manservant Tim, whose twin allergies to milk and eggs are legendary in these parts, I whipped together a kind of something that resembled the image of enchiladas I have in my head: a bunch of rolled up tortillas containing some kind of thing in some kind of red sauce.
I’ve actually never made them before, let alone eaten them in any great quantity. Chris’ mom makes a version with shredded cheese, cream cheese and chicken, which is pretty good. Unfortunately, I couldn’t use any sort of cheese, and Chris has been on a vegetarian kick for the past week. Another caveat was that I wanted to make everything from scratch, at least within reason.
I made the usual tortilla mix, but as I was resting it (and myself) I had a sudden idea: what if I put spices in the tortillas to start? They’d be so sexy and orange! I leapt out of bed and threw in generous quantaties of cumin and mild chili powder. Mixing it all in was a bitch, so I’d recommend doing it before you add oil and water to the mixture. Despite that last-minute half-assing, they turned out really nicely. Genius!!
To fill the tortillas, I made some refried beans with chipotle and cooked up some wild rice for that distinctly Midwestern touch. (PROTIP: Most American wild rice is from Minnesota!) I fried up the tortillas, filled them up and put them in a pyrex baking thing on top of a thin layer of homemade salsa. Then I topped them with more salsa and some chopped up green onions.
They turned out great! My dudes loved them and we finished dinner off with Chris’ date-studded focaccia and a strawberry-and-lime compote.
- One batch of tortillas, rolled out extra large with extra cumin and mild chili powder in the mix
- 1 C raw wild rice
- 1 15-oz can of beans, black or pinto
- 5-6 chipotle peppers with adobo sauce, chopped roughly
- 1 28-oz can of whole tomatoes, chopped (do it in the can with scissors)
- 1 onion, diced
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- a handful of cilantro
- salt and sugar, to taste
- cayenne pepper
- green onions, diced for garnish
Cook the wild rice in a rice cooker or pot. While that’s going, throw half of the onion into a pot with some olive oil over medium heat. When the onion becomes transparent, put in the can of beans, followed by a canful of water. Let it all simmer for a while over a low flame.
In the meantime, heat the rest of the onion in a saute pan with olive oil over medium heat. After a few minutes, add the garlic and cook til aromatic. Then add the tomatoes with their water and the chipotle peppers. Use the sugar to cut the acidity and add salt to taste. Let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes, then take it off the heat. Once cooled, throw it all into a blender and blend with the cilantro. Tweak the seasoning to your taste and put aside.
Once the beans and rice are done, preheat the oven to 350. Fry the tortillas. Layer a baking dish with a thin layer of salsa. Fill the tortillas with beans and rice and lay them seam-down in the baking dish until it’s full. Cover with a ladleful of salsa and top with green onions. Throw into the oven for 10-15 minutes.