Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Book 107: Gardeners' Community Cookbook

The Gardeners' Community Cookbook is a compilation of recipes from gardeners from all 50 states, and is written by Victoria Wise, an alumna of the famed Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, CA.

(Recipe submitted by Cecilia Rosacker-McCord of Lemitar, NM)

Apparently enchiladas in New Mexico are very different than your typical enchiladas that you get in a Mexican restaurant. Layering the tortillas, rather ran rolling them is a lot easier and less time consuming (genius in my book!), and is topped with a fried egg. Yum!

I expected the New Mexico chilies to be hot; in fact they have a deep, smoky, almost sweet taste with a soft warmth to them.

For the sauce you start by puréeing the chilies, onion, garlic and tomato with a cup of hot water to make a liquid paste. 

Liquid paste? That is an oxymoron if I ever heard one. Mine was all liquid. Maybe I should have used less than the one cup of water called for; actually the recipe calls for one to two cups water, and you start with just the one cup.

After sautéing your garlic and onion, add the chard and cook only until wilted.

Add the sauce and cook until thickened - about 8-10 minutes - NOT!

Being my "liquid paste" of a sauce, was more liquid than paste, it took about 35 minutes to thicken. I did not mind much - the aroma while simmering was amazing.

The recipe did not state what size [blue] corn tortillas to use. I went with the eight-inch. Only after reading the assembly instructions did I realize I should have went with the smaller six-inch - for you are supposed to place four tortillas side by side on a jelly-roll pan without overlapping. I could only fit two. You layer the tortillas, sauce, and cheese until you have a stack three layers high.

Bake your enchiladas in a 350°F for about 5 minutes, just until the cheese melts. Then top with a fried egg. Yes, an egg. Don't skip it - it really makes the dish; and that is what makes it authentically New Mexican!

So good!

We had these for dinner. Though they would be equally as delicious for breakfast; I see no reason why you can"t make the sauce the day before and reheat it before assembly.

New Mexico Chard Enchiladas
Serves 4

4 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 1 pound)
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
½ medium onion, coarsely chopped
6 dried New Mexico chilies, stemmed, seeded, and torn into coarse pieces
1 to 2 cups hot water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped (about ¾ pound)
12 small corn tortillas, preferably blue corn (about 6-inch in diameter)
1½ cups grated Jack or cheddar cheese
4 fried eggs (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place the tomatoes, coarsely chopped garlic & onion, dried chilies, and 1 cup (I would start out with ½ cup and add more if needed) of hot water in a food processor. Blend until as smooth as possible, adding a little more water if necessary to make a liquid paste. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan. Add the finely chopped onion & garlic and sauté over medium heat until golden, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the chard and stir over medium-high heat until wilted, but not soft, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato purée and cook until thickened, 8 to 10 minutes (it took about 35 minutes for me).

Place 4 tortillas without overlapping on a jelly-roll pan. Spread each with enough sauce to cover. Sprinkle grated cheese over the sauce. Top with another tortilla, spread with sauce, and sprinkle with cheese. Continue layering until you have 4 stacks, 3 layers high, with sauce and cheese on top.

Place in the oven and bake until the cheese on top is melted. Serve right away, topped with a fried egg on each enchilada.

Gardeners’ Community Cookbook/Victoria Wise


  1. WOW. Beautiful work!! Wishing you a great week. :-)

  2. Everything looks so bright, fresh, and delicious!

  3. These sound excellent. I've been looking for new ways to use chard. Thanks for the recipe!


Thanks for visiting! Would love to hear from you - feel free to comment.