The weather is heating up in Dallas, and I don’t know about you but my cravings shift with the seasons! I like it like that, don’t you? It always feels like I’m in tune with the earth and the rest of humankind. 🙂
In Dallas, spring and summer are known for barbecues and fiestas, and with Cinco De Mayo being a week away I know we’ve all got Mexican food on the mind, but you know what else I’ve got on the mind?
Brace yourselves……. SWIMSUIT SEASON. It’s inevitable.
Nowadays, you’ll find these Spinach and Mushroom Enchiladas with Cream Sauce being offered as a lighter, vegetarian option in most Tex Mex restaurants, and although they seem to be wildly popular (especially in the spring), I’ve had several complaints from readers that recipes are hard to come by.
So here is a light and relatively healthy enchilada recipe my mother use to make when I was a child.
This monterey jack cream sauce is a classic Texas enchilada sauce that is also good for creamy chicken enchiladas. You’ll want to use a block of monterey jack cheese and grate it yourself for the best flavored cream sauce.
Ready to get started? Let’s go.
First off, for these loaded with flavor Spinach and Mushroom Enchiladas, we start with sliced button mushrooms and we’ll try to enhance the flavor of the mushroom mixture by buying some additional interesting mushrooms. (I used to call this recipe exotic or wild mushroom enchiladas but let’s face it, nowadays shiitakes are neither exotic or wild!)
Today at the local grocery store I found button mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, and oyster mushrooms. You can get any mushroom combination that fits your budget, or you can stick with plain button mushrooms, but I find that shiitakes offer the biggest boost to the flavor.
The flavor is more pronounced, rich, and earthy— like someone has turned up the volume on the mushroom flavor.
Shiitake and oyster mushrooms are giant flavor monsters— but they do have one problem. You will have to remove the entire stem because it is woody and does not soften during the cooking process. If you make homemade bone broth you can add the stems to your next batch for added flavor and richness. This is the stems removed…
And this is how the oyster mushrooms stems are removed. Discard the stems or save for making stock. They can be frozen until you’re ready to make your next batch.
Slice each mushroom into thin slices and reserve.
Here is our beautiful plate of exotic mushrooms that’s going to load our enchiladas up on flavor! I know it looks like a lot, but mushrooms shrink when you cook them so buy plenty of mushrooms. Trust me, after you taste it, this filling ain’t gonna go to waste. 😛
In a medium saute pan, or wok, heat the butter and add in all of the mushrooms.
Following the Spinach and Mushroom Enchilada Recipe below, cook the mushrooms down in the butter for several minutes and then add in the fresh garlic and salt.
Cook over low until the garlic becomes fragrant.
See how much the mushrooms shrank? Glad we used a lot! Now let’s add in the baby spinach. In the recipe I say 3 handfuls but I usually fill the pan up twice, cooking down the baby spinach to make sure I get in enough.
When the spinach cooks down this will be your beautiful filling! Set it aside to cool so that you won’t burn your fingers when you roll your enchiladas.
Now we will start the monterey jack cream sauce for our spinach enchiladas.
How To Make Monterey Jack Cream Sauce:
It starts like any white sauce with butter and garlic cooked for a moment before adding in flour.
Add in the flour and whisk well.
This is called a roux (thickened flour and butter) and it will thicken the half and half.
Next we will add in the half and half and the monterey jack cheese. This white sauce recipe calls for half an 8 oz. block of monterey jack cheese and I do encourage you to grate it yourself from a block of cheese! It’s way better flavor. If you like you can grate extra cheese for the filling, or to top the rolled enchiladas before baking.
Add in the half and half, whisking well, and simmer. Then whisk in your monterey jack cheese to complete the sauce.
How To Roll The Enchiladas:
Well first off, most restaurants fry each corn tortilla in grease before filling to make the tortilla hot and pliable. I’ve found this to be a time consuming process which adds unnecessary fat. One technique that many home cooks use is to wrap a stack of corn tortillas in damp paper towels and briefly microwave until warm. This will make them pliable enough to fill and roll into enchiladas without the tortilla breaking.
Set tortillas out and fill with the spinach and mushroom mixture.
Roll the tortilla up and place seam side down into a glass casserole dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas until all of the enchilada filling is used up, or until you have filled up all of your baking dishes! Bake at 400 for 25 minutes.