Enchiritos and Chimiladas (Dinner!)
I was going to call this recipe “Deconstructed Enchiladas” but I didn’t think I have quite earned the right to use the word “deconstructed” in my recipes yet – at least not this one. This is weeknight fare. Throw it in a pan, heat it up, and spoon it into your mouth kind of stuff.
Although it’s not sophisticated, some of the most satisfying food is like that (at least for me and Cute Banker – my kids are the only people on planet earth who dislike other classic, easy comfort foods like mashed potatoes and spaghetti – weirdos. But they do like enchiritos!).
This dish shares a name with an old Taco Bell dish but the only thing it has in common with that one is that it’s about as un-Mexican as Taco Bell is.
But, it does have a bunch of virtues essential to a weeknight dinner. For example:
1) Hot. A salad – no matter how many beans and nuts are in it – is not dinner.
2) Easy. Two preschoolers pulling me in two different directions at virtually all times does not leave a lot of time to make béchamel sauce.
3) Made with common ingredients I’m likely to have in the fridge. See #2) above and note that it also applies to running out to the store for a missing ingredient. Or five.
I added the Texas Toast option because, for one thing, it’s delicious. And, for another thing, all I had in the house were whole wheat tortillas. My children eat them, bless their hearts. I am not so flexible when it comes to tortillas. So I went the good old greasy white bread route and I’m glad I did.
Now, you’ve had a long day and you need your recipe, already. Here it is.
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil (organic corn oil would be perfect but use what you've got), plus 2 tablespoons more if you're frying your burritos at the end to make chimiladas
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 to 1¼ lbs ground beef
- 4 medium to large kale leaves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon Santa Maria seasoning or seasoned salt
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- ½ of a 15 oz can enchilada sauce (plus the other half if you're making chimiladas)
- 1 2.25 oz can sliced black olives (reserve a small handful for garnish if you're making chimiladas)
- 2 tablespoons sour cream (optional)
- ¾ cup shredded jack cheese (muenster is surprisingly good, too)
- 4 large flour tortillas OR 4 slices Texas Toast from the freezer section
- For Chimiladas only: ½ cup finely chopped cilantro
- Put large skillet with straight sides over medium heat.
- Add oil and diced onion.
- Add cumin, chili powder and Santa Maria seasoning. Add oregano, crushing in the palm of your hand first. Stir. Cook 5-7 minutes.
- Add chopped garlic. Cook one minute.
- Add beef and cook until brown, about 5 minutes.
- Add chopped kale.
- Add enchilada sauce. Stir. Simmer 4-5 minutes, then turn heat to low.
- Add olives and sour cream (optional, but it really does bring everything together and smooth out any spiciness in the enchilada sauce). Keep it on low heat a few minutes while you heat the tortillas or toast. I use a cast iron pan to heat either one.
- Spoon some meat mixture into the middle of a tortilla, and top with ¼ of the cheese.
- Fold in the sides of the tortillas 1-2 inches each (depending on the size of your tortilla). Wrap the bottom edge up over the filling and tuck it under the meat, then pull it toward you to tighten it. Roll burrito up, away from you. Put burrito on plate, seam side down.
- If you really want to go all out, wipe out your pan and coat the bottom with more oil (1-2 tablespoons). Fry the burrito until all sides are golden. Heat the extra enchilada sauce and spoon over the top. Add a few extra black olive slices. You've got a chimilada!
- Sprinkle with cilantro if you can bear more chopping (hey, it's an extra veg so I say, go for it).
- Serve immediately.