By Cat, Mar 2008 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
Ever since I first discovered it in Anna Thomas’s Vegetarian Epicure Book II (1), Spinach Enchiladas Suizas has been a favorite. Sometimes I add chicken to the filling, but usually I make it vegetarian, and serve it with black beans, corn bread and a big salad.
I did not grow up knowing about chiles; I discovered them after moving to Portland Oregon after graduate school, when I found the small Mexican food cafes were inexpensive and surprisingly delicious.
Spinach Enchiladas Suizas
This recipe, adapted from the Vegetarian Epicure II, by Anna Thomas (1), serves 5-6. If you can find it, you could use Manchego or other mild Mexican cheese instead of Swiss cheese. My favorite Swiss cheese is Emmanthaler.
You could use swiss or red chard instead of spinach.
Ingredients & Equipment:
- 1 ½ pounds trimmed fresh spinach
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp butter
- ½ large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- unrefined sea salt, to taste
- ¾ pound Swiss cheese, grated
- 10-12 corn tortillas
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp unbleached white flour
- 1 cup whole milk, heated (do not boil)
- 1 cup dairy sour cream or creme fraiche, room temperature
- ½ cup diced green chilis or jalapenos
- unrefined sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- cotton dishtowel
- large skillet
- heavy-bottomed saucepan
- shallow casserole dish with lid (or rectangular baking pan and foil)
- Wash spinach carefully, drain on a dishtowel, trim stems, then chop coarsely.
- Heat olive oil in large skillet. Saute onions and garlic until golden. Add spinach and toss in hot oil until wilted. Salt to taste and continue cooking over medium heat until all liquid is gone.
- Grate the cheese coarsely; set aside.
- Assembly: Preheat oven to 3500 F. Lightly oil casserole or baking dish.
- Heat a bit of olive oil in a cast iron skillet; soften each tortilla in the hot oil, just long enough to soften, but not crisp.
- Spread a heaping Tbsp cheese down the center of each tortilla, then spread an equal amount of the spinach mixture over the cheese. Roll up and place, seam side down, in casserole/baking dish. Repeat until all tortillas have been filled.
- Sauce: Melt butter in small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in flour to make a roux. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until golden.
- Add heated milk all at once and whisk until sauce thickens slightly.
- Add sour cream, diced chilis and remaining cheese. Cook over low heat until all the cheese is melted and the sauce is quite smooth.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over enchiladas in casserole/baking dish. Cover baking dish and bake in preheated oven about 20 – 25 minutes. Uncover and brown sauce lightly under the broiler before serving.
- Serve with black beans; garnish with a dollop of sour cream, green onion tops, avocado slices, and hot sauce.
- Corn bread is a nice accompaniment, along with a green salad.
- Make the enchiladas using smaller (4″ tortillas) and serve as an appetizer.
- Vegetarian Epicure Book II, by Anna Thomas; see Beloved Cookbooks for more.