Enchiladas (en-chee-la-dahs) – are corn tortillas rolled around a variety of fillings and covered with a savory sauce. The Spanish word Enchilar means “to add chili pepper to,” literally to season (or decorate) with chili. But that’s not “the whole enchilada”. This story is about the Julia Child of Mexico, Diana Kennedy.
In the 70s and 80s, cookbook legends from the US and England brought a new kind of cookbook to the English speaking world. Each spent years travelling and researching the old family foods and culture of their targeted country and its regions. To fully understand the culture and foods, each of these pioneers went into the home kitchens of the woman who have been entrusted with cooking the dishes of their ancestors. Diana Kennedy, an English woman, lived in Mexico and traveled the country in search of regional classics and the cultural stories behind them. The culmination of this exhaustive research of Mexican cuisine and its regional distinctions came in the publication of her first cookbook. Updated and revised in 1986, The Cuisines of Mexico introduced the world to Mexican regional cuisine.
She is now 96 years old and living in a small village in Michoacan, Mexico. Nine cookbooks later, including a book solely on the regional recipes that use tortillas, Diana Kennedy has left a lasting mark on Mexican cuisine. This recipe for Swiss Chard Enchiladas come from the 1975 book called, appropriately enough, “The Tortilla Book”.
Swiss Chard Enchiladas
- Food Processor or blender, skillet or frying pan, 2 large ziplock bags, microwave oven
- Skillet and frying pan
- Ovenproof casserole dish (ideally 8½ X 13 X 2)
- Blender or food processor
- 12 Corn tortillas
- ¾ cup Grated mild Cheddar, muenster, or jack cheese
- 1 medium White or Vidalia onion, chopped for garnish
- 1½ lb Swiss chard, bottom inch removed, washed well
- 2 tsp Kosher salt
- 5 tbsp Peanut or vegetable oil
- 2 cloves Garlic, chopped
- 14.5 oz Canned diced tomatoes, drained
- ¼ medium Onion, big chunks for sauce
- 2 Chipotles in Adobo
- ½ tsp `Sugar
- ⅔ cup Chicken or vegetable broth
- ¾ cup Sour cream
- Have Ready – tortillas, warmed ovenproof casserole dish, grated cheese, and chopped white onion.
- Prepare Swiss Chard – Wash carefully. Divide chard between 2 plastic freezer bags, add ¼ cup water to each and seal. Cook on high in Microwave for 5 minutes. Remove and drain. Chop chard into small bits by hand. Heat 3 tbsp oil in fa skillet over medium heat and fry garlic for 2 minutes. Add the chard and cook for another 3 minutes. Adjust salt and remove to a bowl. Rinse out skillet.
- Prepare Tomato Sauce – Blend tomatoes, 1 clove garlic, ¼ onion, 2 chipotles until smooth. In rinsed frying pan, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add tomato sauce, ¼ tsp sugar, and salt. Cook, constantly stirring, until reduced – about 5 minutes. Add in broth, bring to a boil then remove from heat and cover.
- Warm Tortillas – Fill a low-sided nonstick frying pan with ¼-inch oil. Heat over medium high heat. When hot, fry tortillas one-by-one. Fry around 20-30 seconds per side. Drain on paper towels and keep warm.
- Assemble Enchiladas – Preheat broiler. Pour tomato sauce into the nonstick pan. Immerse a tortilla in the sauce and gently remove to the casserole, Add some filling and a little sour cream, Roll it up into a flat cylinder. Repeat aligning completed enchiladas side-by-side in the dish. Dilute any remaining sauce, if any, with a little broth and pour over enchiladas.
- Finish and Serve – Sprinkle cheese over enchiladas. Run under the broiler to melt cheese. Sprinkle tops with chopped onions and serve.