All summer, the desert remains virtually inaccessible due to the unrelenting heat. The hot and dry days are brutally long and the short nights offer little relief. But as we enter into the cooler months, the desert becomes a much more hospitable – even welcoming – place. During the daytime the temperatures are borderline pleasant, and the crisp evenings allow for a good night’s sleep. For those who have been waiting out the summer heat, fall is finally the time to get outside.
So in preparation for this much anticipated return to the desert, we’ve developed a southwestern inspired enchilada dish to get you in the spirit. While nearly all Mexican food lends itself towards camp cooking, enchiladas make for a particularly good fit. Unlike a wrapping a burrito, which requires some skillful handling, wrapping enchiladas is a much more forgiving process. Since the whole thing is going to be covered in sauce and cheese, a few less-than-perfect folds will hardly be noticed.
This particular recipe also requires the use of only a single pot. True, it’s a two-step, one pot meal (the filling is cooked first, removed, and then assembled inside the enchiladas). So while it might be a slightly more elaborate than a typical one pot meal, it doesn’t result in any more dishes to do at the end of the night. Which is always a big plus.
We’ve prepared these enchiladas in a dutch oven, however you could use a similar sized skillet with a lid too. And if you don’t have a lid for your skillet, then a sheet of aluminum foil wrapped over the top would work just as well.
So whether you’re heading out into the desert this winter, or want to make something at home to get you in the southwestern spirit, give this camping version of enchiladas a try.
Cast Iron Enchiladas
1 pound bell peppers, sliced into bite sized pieces, about 2” long and 1/2” wide
1 medium red onion, sliced thin
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 6” corn tortillas, warmed slightly so they are pliable
1 1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 (15 oz) can green chile enchilada sauce
fresh cilantro to garnish
Heat the oil in a well seasoned Dutch oven. Once the oil is hot, add the peppers, onion, and salt. Toss to coat the vegetables with the oil. Salute over medium heat until the vegetables are very soft, 10-12 minutes. Once done, move the vegetables from the Dutch oven to a plate or large bowl.
Pour 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of the Dutch oven. Assemble the enchiladas by placing a scoop of the vegetables along the center of the tortilla along with a scant 1/4 cup shredded cheese. Roll the tortilla and place it, seam side down, into the Dutch oven. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling. Pour the rest of the green chile sauce over the top of the enchiladas and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Cover the Dutch oven and heat over medium low heat until the cheese is melted and the enchiladas are heated through. Serve immediately topped with fresh cilantro.