Sunday Suppers, Valentine's Sunday/Early Monday Edition: Spicy Beef Enchiladas with Pepper Jack Mornay Sauce (Con-Fusion Cuisine) and a Play-by-Play of Our Valentine's Dinner

I am torn.  Should I first taunt you with a Valentine's Meal Extraordinaire that The Beloved and I got to enjoy and you didn't (although you were all There in Spirit, I can assure you), or should I begin with the cheesy-homey-this-is-what's-in-the-house-what-can-I-make-with-it dish?  Decisions, decisions.  I think I shall go with the latter, since this is a Sunday Suppers post.  If you care about our Valentine's Dinner Extravaganza, you can keep reading.  If not, stop.  If you just want to hear about the Valentine's Meal, skip ahead.  I strive to Accommodate Everyone.spicy beef enchilada recipe

So, I bought some weird steak-type stuff the other day.  I honestly don't know what cut it was, but it had long muscle fibers a la flank steak, 'cept it didn't cost as much.  I purchased about a pound and a half, and used half for this meal and am saving half for a vague vision of peanut buttery/orangy/beefy stir fry.  We'll see what happens.

I also came across some Ro-Tel that was supposedly seasoned for chili.  Now, I'm not Overly Keen on convenience products, but I generally make an exception for Ro-Tel.  For those of you not In the Know, Ro-Tel is basically diced tomatoes and green chiles living together in a yellow can.  It comes in mild, spicy, chunky and the One I fell for:  seasoned for chili.  Other than a mention of a Calcium Chloride (billed suspiciously as a "firming agent") towards the end of the ingredient list, the rest of the ingredients are pretty straightforward.  Plus, it's called Ro-Tel, but on the can the Ro and the Tel are smartly separated by a red star.  I like that.  See for yourself.

So, here's what I did.  As usual, please don't get caught up in a "recipe" for this--think of it as a technique and just use whatever ingredients you have on hand that sound good.

La Technique
Brown meat.
Cook aromatics and season.
Add some liquid-type stuff.
Add some creaminess.
Roll filling up in tortillas and slap them in a baking dish.

Make a mornay-type sauce, thusly:
make a seasoned roux
pour in milk and bring to a boil.  Reduce to desired thickness.
Off the heat, stir in shredded cheese, a bit at a time.
Taste for seasonings

Pour sauce over rolled tortillas
Bake Until Bubbly and Golden Brown
Plate and put in face

Now that you know the technique, here's my list of ingredients:

  • about 3/4 pounds mystery steak, cut into wee pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • salt, pepper, cumin and chile powder
  • 1 can of Ro Star Tel for Chili (that was the liquidy ingredient)
  • 2 Tablespoons cream cheese
  • 8 8" whole wheat flour tortillas (use any kind you like)

For the mornay:

  • equal parts flour and vegetable oil--maybe 2 Tablespoons each
  • salt, pepper, cumin, hot sauce
  • about 1 1/2-2 cups whole milk
  • shredded pepper jack cheese (plus a little cheddar thrown in for good measure)

Make and assemble according to La Technique.  Perhaps it should be Les Techniques...

Anyway, bake at 375 for about 1/2 hour or so, until things are nice and bubbly and golden brown and lovely.spicy beef enchilada recipe

enchiladasI served these with some jarred hot salsa and some sour cream.  You can serve yours however you wish, of course.

I think next time I'll make them with pork, tomatillos and cilantro.  Maybe I'll make a traditional enchilada sauce, which is basically just  dried-then-reconstituted chiles pureed in broth, stock or water.  Who knows.

The vague inspiration for this dish was actually from a "creamy chicken enchilada" thing my friend Debbie used to make back in the late '80s.  It called for cream of chicken soup.  I must admit, I used to like how creamy that dish was--that's why I added a shot of cream cheese to this.  And it was very good.  Yeah, maybe not traditional--I made a type of French mother sauce for the topping for goodness' sake, but I was able to turn 12 oz. of meat into a filling meal for four, or even 5-6, if there are children involved.  You could always cut down on the fat some by topping the whole thing with enchilada sauce or salsa verde or even regular old salsa or picante sauce as opposed to the mornay.

Okay, so that's that.  And now, onto the Valentine's Dinner Extravaganza.  The Beloved got us reservations at J. Betski's, a wonderful upscale German/Austrian restaurant in Raleigh.  No buxom Frauleins with braids slinging mugs of lager here, folks--this is white tablecloth all the way, and their Valentine's Price Fixe Menu did not disappoint.

Bread Service:  thinly sliced sour rye bread with whipped salted butter

Amuse-Bouche:  chicken liver mousse crostini with lingonberry jam and pumpkin seed oil

Me:  Beef Cheek Pierogis with red wine reduction, sauteed mushrooms and a touch of sour cream; Venison Shank Goulash with braised red cabbage and a dumpling; Sachertorte

The Beloved:  Oysters with fennel sauerkraut, bacon cream and Emmenthaler; Sirloin steak (medium-rare) with limburger butter, caramelized onions and spaetzle; cherry and cheese strudel

We also enjoyed a fabulous bottle of Austrian pinot noir with our meal.  With dessert, we had Special Coffee.  Mine had Vanilla Stoli, Godiva liqueur and something-else-that-I-can't-remember.  His contained Bailey's, Frangelico and something-else-that-I-can't-remember.

The meal was Ridiculously Good.  The highlights were the texturally complex chicken liver mousse, my Beef Cheek pierogis (which was the whole reason I chose J. Betski's in the first place.  I mean, they're pierogis.  Filled with minced beef cheek.  Awesomely Delicious), The Beloved's steak-the limburger butter/caramelized onion pungent/sweet combination was Excellent, and the Sachertorte, which was as traditional in components and flavors as a Sachertorte made in Raleigh, NC could be.

I was focused on dessert, of course, so I don't have any dinner pix, but just feast your eyes on the loveliness:J Betski's sachertorte

Traditional bitter glaze and chocolate torte made with nut flour--pretty authentic, and very good.

Strudel from J Betski's

And they even hand stretch their strudel dough!  The wee crunchy looking things are the toasted bread crumbs that they sprinkle on the buttered dough before rolling it up.

cherry cheese strudel from J. Betski'sThe cherries were juicy and flavorful.  I could've done without the cheese part, actually.  Not that it wasn't good; it just made it a bit heavy for the end of a big meal.  Plus, I wanted more cherry.

dessert coffee from J Betski'sAnd that's that.  I hope everyone had a great Valentine's Day, or Anti-Valentine's Day, depending on your Point of View.  See you later.


  1. says

    Oh my word!! Those enchiladas look beyond delicious! They look similar to the Tex-Mex enchiladas on Homesick Texan’s blog. I must try this out!!

    Looks like you had a great V day!! 😀

  2. says

    Ah, enchiladas – I’ve been eating something approximating enchiladas for the last couple of days, using my potato crepes as the wrapper and filling them with kidney beans, sour cream and other things I found in my fridge. And lots of melted cheese of course. All very tasty I must say (though I might consider swapping if a meal at J. Betski’s was the alternative on offer!)

  3. says

    Either of these meals would’ve put Mr. Noodle in the mood! 8-P

    I often have a can of Ro-Tel on hand, especially for an quick ‘n’ easy chicken chili that we enjoy but I think it’s definitely time for some bubbly, cheesy enchiladas. However, I fully expect you to deconstruct then share with us the secret of those beef cheek pierogis!

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