These spinach and enchilada mushrooms are a fixture on the menu at Fonda, which just opened its second location in NYC’s East Village. For the chef, the key to the enchilada isn’t what’s inside. “I think the most important thing to focus when you’re doing enchiladas is that sauce,” he tells Food Republic in a recent interview. “That sauce is going to be going on top of tortillas and other stuffings, or whatever it is you want to put inside. So that sauce needs to be very well seasoned. If it’s not that whole dish is going to become really flat.”
Follow the recipes here and that won’t be a problem. The roasted tomato salsa with chipotle and habanero peppers is the most complicated part, but the smoky flavor of the sauce, mixed with the mouth-feel of the tortillas, cheese and fillings coming together will make this a favorite Mexican main for enchilada lovers. (Note: you can make this dish vegetarian if you sub out the optional chicken stock with water.)
- 2 cups sauteed spinach and mushroom*
- 2 cups roasted tomato salas with chipotle and habanero chiles *
- chicken stock or water (to keep the dish vegetarian), if necessary
- 2 to 4 tablespoons mild olive oil or vegetable oil
- 8 corn tortillas, homemade or store bought
For the Garnish
- 1/4 cup Mexican crema; crème fraîche; or sour cream, thinned slightly with water; if necessary; for drizzling
- 1/4 cup grated queso fresco or ricotta salata
- 1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
*For the Sautéed Spinach and Mushrooms
- 1//4 cup mild olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 medium white onion, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise
- 3/4 pound mixed or button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
- 1 to 2 fresh jalapeño chiles, thinly sliced; including seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt or 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 1/2 pounds spinach (2 large bunches), stems discarded; and leaves well rinsed and spun dry
- Freshly squeezed lime juice to taste
*Roasted Tomato Salsa With Chipotle and Habanero Chiles
- 3 pounds tomatoes (about 10 medium)
- 2 chipotle mora chiles (purplish-red color), wiped clean and stemmed
- 1/2 fresh habanero chile, stemmed; including seeds
- 3 small garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 teaspoon fine salt or 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 cup mild olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
- 1 (1/2-inch) piece canela (Mexican cinnamon) or 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup water
For the Sautéed Spinach and Mushrooms
- Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over high heat until it is almost smoking.
- Add the onion, mushrooms and chiles, and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms and onion are softened and any liquid the mushrooms have given off has evaporated, 5 to 8 minutes.
- Add the salt, and add the spinach by the handful, stirring or tossing to wilt it until it all fits in the skillet.
- Then cover and cook until all the spinach is just wilted, about 1 minute. Season to taste with lime juice and additional salt.
- This dish keeps in the refrigerator for up to two days.
For the Roasted Tomato Salsa
- Set the oven to broil and preheat. Alternatively, you can preheat the oven to 500°F. If you’re using the oven broiler, position the rack 8 inches from the heat source. Have ready a large bowl to hold the ingredients that you’ll remove from the oven as they finish roasting.
- Core the tomatoes and cut a small “X” through the skin on the opposite ends. Put the tomatoes, cored sides up, and the chipotle and habanero chiles on a foil-lined baking pan, and roast, turning the chiles over once, until the chipotles have puffed up and are blistered in spots, 3 to 5 minutes, and the habanero is browned in spots and softened, 8 to 12 minutes.
- Remove the chiles from the pan and continue cooking the tomatoes, without turning, until their tops have blackened and the tomatoes are cooked to the core, 20 to 30 minutes total.
- Slip the skins from the tomatoes, then put the tomatoes in the blender jar with the chiles, garlic, salt, and sugar and blend until smooth. Be careful when you’re blending hot ingredients: Cover the top with a kitchen towel, and hold the top firmly in place with your hand. Work in batches to avoid blending with a full jar.
- Heat the oil in a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat and cook the onion and the cinnamon, stirring, until the onion is softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Strain the blended tomato mixture through a medium-mesh sieve into the saucepan with the onions. Add the cup of water and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with additional salt or sugar.
- This salsa keeps in the refrigerator for up to five days or in the freezer for up to one month.
For the Enchiladas
- Preheat the oven to 300°F.
- Warm the sautéed spinach and mushrooms, if necessary, in a small baking dish, covered with foil, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the salsa in a saucepan over medium-low heat until heated through, adding some chicken stock or water, if necessary, to maintain a velvety consistency that is thick enough to coat a wooden spoon, but not gloppy.
- Soften the tortillas in oil, then fill them with the spinach and mushrooms. Arrange them next to each other in a baking pan or a heatproof serving dish, and reheat them in the oven for 10 minutes. Transfer two rolled, filled tortillas to each of four plates (or keep them in the serving dish) and spoon the salsa generously over them. Drizzle with the crema, and top with the cheese, onion and cilantro.
- Serve them with rice, beans, or any other side you like.
- These enchiladas can be assembled in a baking dish (before you top them with the sauce) up to four hours ahead and kept covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator once they’re cool.
- Cover the enchiladas with foil and reheat them in a 350°F oven for about 20 minutes, and then spoon the warm sauce over them before garnishing and serving.