May’s Wine Pairing Weekend theme came to us from Lori at Dracaena Wines. As I recall, Lori came up with the idea during one of our prior Wine Pairing Weekend Twitter chats. The pairing idea turned out to be loads of fun for us. And it provided a walk down memory lane for me.
When someone says enchiladas to me I automatically think of my mother’s enchiladas. Somehow, enchiladas and Portuguese beans became our regular Easter meal. It’s a weird combination, I know. My dad was Portuguese, so the beans make sense (sort of) and Mom was German. She wasn’t particularly in to preparing ethnic food and I don’t quite remember how the tradition began, but we all looked forward to those enchiladas. Mom had two large restaurant pans that barely slid into her oven and she always filled both with enchiladas for our Easter meal. It was the only time of year she made them.
So, you probably know what’s coming next. Yes, I’m going to attempt to make Mom’s enchiladas and beans. I have Mom’s Portuguese bean recipe, so that’s no problem. The enchilada recipe she apparently did not write down, so I’m going to prepare them from memory. I remember helping her with the preparation and the cooking aromas are still firmly set in my mind. I will use my aroma memories as a recipe. Fingers crossed.
Wine was not a big part of our meals at home. Mom and Dad sometimes served wine with dinner and when they did it usually came from a jug. Sometimes it was white, sometimes red. There was no discussion about food and wine pairing. Because we didn’t have a particularly strong wine tradition, I feel no need to purchase a jug wine to accompany our enchilada dinner (not that there’s anything wrong with that!)
Fortunately we have two wines to pair with our enchilada dinner, which we received as tasting samples. Both wines, a Shiraz rosé and a Sauvignon Blanc, are produced in Chile by Casillero del Diablo, a Concha y Toro label. I’m thinking either or both will be a good match for our enchilada and Portuguese bean dinner.
Ground beef seasoned with taco seasoning was the base for Mom’s enchiladas. I didn’t eat any beef back then, so Mom would always make a row of enchiladas without meat (and onions) for me. Aren’t Moms wonderful? Anyway, I still can’t bring myself to buy ground beef, but do use ground lamb as a substitute which is what I used for these enchiladas.
Mom’s enchilada sauce included tomato juice, cumin, garlic and chili powder. She kept the mixture warm in a pot on the stove. She quickly cooked each corn tortilla in oil, then dipped it in the enchilada sauce before filling it with ground beef, shredded lettuce (iceberg of course), sliced olives, onions (which I omitted) and cheese. She then folded each tortilla in half so that it looked more like a taco than a rolled up enchilada.
When the pans were full, she poured the remainder of the enchilada sauce over all of the enchiladas, added a bit of shredded cheese and baked them until they were just crunchy. We used to fight over those crunch bits!
The Portuguese beans, which we always ladled over the top of the enchiladas, are seasoned with sautéed onions and bacon, cumin and cinnamon. The flavors of the beans combine so well with the enchiladas. It’s a classic example of two items tasting better together than they do apart.
My version of Mom’s enchiladas turned out pretty darn well. They smelled right as they were cooking, and when I took my first bite I was transported back to our dining room table at home. That wonderful combination of cooked corn tortillas and light tomato flavors blend beautifully. The savory, spicy ground lamb combined nicely with the richness of the cheese, though the meatless enchiladas were still my favorite. The sliced black olives provided a salty punch and the iceberg lettuce completed that familiar flavor profile.
As we sat down to our enchilada and bean meal, Pete and I were both very quiet — our mouths were full. I was reveling in the familiar flavors and the memories. Pete was on another journey. He does not remember ever having Mom’s enchiladas and beans, so he had no frame of reference for the flavors he was tasting. He enjoyed the savory flavors of the ground lamb in the enchiladas, loved the corn tortillas and the combination of flavors from the Portuguese beans. The odd thing for him was the iceberg lettuce. In fact, that’s the word he used to describe the flavor and texture of the lettuce in the enchiladas: odd. Then, in the next breath he asked if he could have another enchilada. I had to laugh.
Casillero del Diablo…the Devil’s cellar. Sounds scary. The name comes from a story started by Don Melchor Concha y Toro who founded Viña Concha y Toro in 1883. After having wine stolen from his cellar at Pirque in the Maipo Valley, the Don started a story that the cellar was haunted by the devil to prevent further loss. Pretty clever.
Casillero del Diablo is one of several labels made by the large Chilean producer Concha y Toro and twelve varietal wines are produced under the Casillero del Diablo label. In 2015 five million cases of Casillero del Diablo were exported world-wide. The artistic bottle design is new for the 2015 bottling of the Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz rosé. I like it.
2015 Casillero del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc — pale yellow in the glass with citrusy, gooseberry aromas and flavors along with a bit of dried hay and a salty, juicy finish. The aromas immediately identify this wine as Sauvignon Blanc. If you enjoy a more grassy style of the variety, then this wine is right up your alley. Very refreshing. 13% abv.
The Sauvignon Blanc is sourced from the Casablanca, Rapel and Limari wine regions. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel before bottling.
2015 Casillero del Diablo Rosé — light salmon-pink in the glass with generous mixed berry aromas. Flavors of blackberries and strawberries combine with a subtle earthiness, bright acidity and a citrusy finish. Flavors are fairly long lasting. 13% abv.
The Shiraz is grown in the Central Valley wine region of Chile and fermentation in stainless steel produces a bright, fruit forward wine.
Both wines paired surprisingly well with our enchiladas and beans. The grassiness of the Sauvignon Blanc was reduced significantly with the food pairing which was a good thing for me, as that style of Sauvignon Blanc is not my favorite. It paired well with both versions of the enchiladas (with and without meat) but it really shined with the meatless version. It was my favorite pairing.
The Shiraz rosé was my favorite wine to sip by itself. When paired with the enchiladas, it was stellar with the meat enchiladas. The earthy, savory lamb flavors played nicely with the subtle earthiness of the rosé. Really, a lovely pairing. It was Pete’s favorite wine with our meal.
Thanks to Lori for the great pairing idea and for the nudge I needed to give Mom’s enchiladas a try. Next time through the recipe, I think they will be perfect. They might even meet with Mom’s approval.
Thanks to the folks at Creative Palate Communications and to Casillero del Diablo for sending two delicious wines our way. At about $11 per bottle, they are an affordable, delicious everyday drinking wine. And, as we discovered, they are versatile dining partners.
Here is what our fellow bloggers devised for their enchilada pairings for Wine Pairing Weekend. Happy reading.
Michelle of RockinRedBlog will be Exploring Enchiladas and Wine Pairings with WinePW
Sarah from Curious Cuisiniere will post Chicken and Cheese Entomatadas: Pairing Tomatoes with Wine
Please join us Saturday, May 14 at 8 am Pacific Time on Twitter (search for #winePW) when we will be discussing our enchilada and wine pairings. Even if you don’t have a blog, we’d be more than happy to have you join the conversation.
Next month our Wine Pairing Weekend group will be creating Rosé Pairings. Our food options are wide open for the June event.