Pork and spinach enchiladas

Pork and spinach enchiladas


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About this recipe: Much of the delight of Mexican food is in the abundance of salad-type toppings that contrast so well with the hot ingredients. Although these enchiladas are made with less fat than usual, their character is preserved, with chilli powder, cumin and paprika in the sauce and maize flour or corn tortillas used as thickening.

Norma MacMillan

Serves: 4 

  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 115 g (4 oz) lean minced pork
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder, or to taste
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 500 ml (17 fl oz) vegetable stock, preferably home-made
  • 1½ tbsp masa harina (Mexican maize flour) or 1½ corn tortillas, toasted and crushed
  • 2 tsp lemon or lime juice
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 tbsp fromage frais to serve
  • Spinach and cheese filling
  • 750 g (1lb 10 oz) spinach
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 340 g (12 oz) cottage cheese
  • 30 g (1 oz) mozzarella cheese, finely diced
  • 30 g (1 oz) Cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salad topping
  • 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 Little Gem lettuce, shredded
  • 15 radishes, diced
  • 15 black olives, stoned and sliced
  • 3 tomatoes, diced

Prep:45min  ›  Cook:20min  ›  Ready in:1hr5min 

  1. Heat the oil in a wide saucepan and add the pork, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the onion has softened slightly and the meat is lightly cooked.
  2. Stir in the chilli powder, paprika and cumin. Cook for 1–2 minutes, then stir in the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Mix the masa harina to a smooth paste with 4 tbsp water and stir into the sauce. Alternatively, stir the crushed toasted tortillas into the sauce. Bring to the boil, stirring, then reduce the heat again and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the lemon or lime juice and seasoning to taste. The sauce should be the consistency of single cream.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6). To make the filling, wash the spinach and place in a large saucepan, then cover and cook for about 2 minutes or until the leaves are wilted and tender – the water remaining on the leaves will provide sufficient moisture. Drain and cool, then press out excess moisture from the leaves and coarsely chop them.
  5. Mix the spinach with the cumin, spring onions, cottage cheese and half of the mozzarella and Cheddar cheeses. Add seasoning to taste.
  6. Bring the sauce back to a gentle simmer. Dip a tortilla into the simmering sauce for 30 seconds – just long enough to soften it. (Do not leave the tortilla in the sauce for too long or it may fall apart.) Lay the softened tortilla on a plate and top with a spoonful of the spinach filling. Roll up and place in a shallow ovenproof dish measuring about 38 × 25 cm (15 × 10 in). Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling.
  7. Pour the remaining sauce around the rolls – they should be about one-third submerged. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Cheddar cheeses over the top. Bake for 15–20 minutes or until the enchiladas are hot and the cheese has melted.
  8. Meanwhile, mix together all the ingredients for the salad topping. Serve the enchiladas topped with the salad. Drizzle the fromage frais over or offer it separately.

Some more ideas

*Small flour tortillas can be used instead of the corn tortillas to make the enchiladas. *Frozen chopped spinach can be used instead of fresh: thaw 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) and press out excess liquid. *For a smoother filling, use ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese. Alternatively, press the cottage cheese through a fine sieve. *Shredded cabbage and Brussels sprouts are a delicious alternative to spinach in this filling. Shred 300 g (10½ oz) white or green cabbage and 15 Brussels sprouts, then blanch in boiling water for 3–4 minutes or until very lightly cooked. Drain the vegetables well. *You can replace the pork with minced turkey or chicken. Use 1 tbsp olive oil for frying with the onion and garlic.

Plus points

Although spinach contains a large amount of iron, this is not always easily absorbed by the body. The uncooked tomatoes and other ingredients in this dish supply vitamin C to aid iron absorption.

Each serving provides

A, B12, C, E, calcium, iron, B1, B2, B6, niacin, potassium, zinc, copper, selenium

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