The past few weeks have been an exercise in patience. Spring came late here in the pacific northwest and it’s already July and we’re still waiting for summer to begin. There have been peeks of sunshine but it’s mainly been cool, cloudy and grey. July-uary is a common phrase uttered around Vancouver. But like any good Wet Coaster, we whine as we cope. We go on bike rides (but pack a rain jacket just in case) and we’re never far away from a cardigan.
Rumour has it that summer should start today. Hot weather and sunshine are in the forecast and I can’t wait to take full advantage. This weekend I got a little eager, in fact. After a bike ride (yes, I packed a rain jacket & no I didn’t need it), I decided to cull a little bit of Tex-Mex sunshine into our East Van abode. I made enchiladas using a slightly unusual recipe from Homesick Texan. Instead of enchiladas being smothered in some kind of green or red sauce, these are covered in a slightly spicy chili gravy. Yes, gravy. And get your spoon out because this gravy is gooooood (& it certainly wouldn’t be wrong to think of this gravy as a key element in a Tex-Mex poutine…just thinking out loud here). The gravy gets poured over cheese and onion enchiladas and then baked until everything gets all melty and bubbly, well, I can almost feel the Texas heat right here in our kitchen.
So get yourself a cold Mexican beer, head out onto the balcony and dig into a plate of these gravy-licious cheese enchiladas and think about summer. Just don’t forget your cardigan – just in case. As for the photo above, I couldn’t resist snapping a photo of Cornelius as he was on the balcony fixing his bike. He was hogging all my light, after all.
tex-mex cheese enchiladas
(Recipe adapted from Homesick Texan)
for the chili gravy
1/4 c canola oil
1/4 c flour
1 t garlic powder
2 t ground cumin
1/2 t dried oregano
1/4 t dried chipotle
2 T chile powder
2 c vegetable broth (or water)
1 t habanero hot sauce (or your favorite hot sauce), optional
In a medium-sized pot, heat up oil over medium-high heat. Stir in flour and mix with a wooden spoon until the flour mixture browns, about 3-4 minutes. Add in the garlic powder, cumin, oregano, chipotle and chili powder and cook for another minute, all the while stirring like the dickens. Add in broth and turn heat to low, whisking sauce to smooth out any lumps. Let the sauce simmer and thicken. If the sauce gets too thick, add in a bit of water and whisk.
for the cheese enchiladas
1/2 t vegetable oil
8 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
One small onion, diced
2 cups chili gravy
Preheat oven to 450F. Brush a small skillet with vegetable oil and heat each corn tortilla on both sides until pliable and warm. Set aside, keeping them wrapped in a clean tea towel until they are all finished.
Mix together the cheese and onions into a medium-sized bowl. Pour half a cup of the gravy into the bottom of a square baking pan. Assemble the enchiladas by putting a handful of cheese and onions into the centre of the corn tortilla and bringing the edges together so they overlap. Place each rolled tortilla into the baking pan seam-side down. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Pour the gravy over the enchiladas and sprinkle any remaining cheese & onions over top. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese has melted. Makes 8 enchiladas.