Thursday, November 5, 2009

My Irish Grandma’s Enchiladas

There are so many things I should be doing right now instead of writing this blog, like editing the family cookbook that I’m supposed to have ready for this weekend.  It’s been a year since our first annual ladies weekend at the beach where all the women from my mom’s side of the family got together to write a cookbook.  But all I can think about is my Irish Grandma’s Enchiladas. 

This dish has been a family favorite for years.  I can remember our annual fourth of July Potluck at the Sol Duc hot springs when I was a kid and my  6 year old cousin crying while eating them.  I can still smell the sulfur and chlorine, still see the green mountains before a blue sky, still hear the teen girl screeches and shouts from the pools and my cousins sniffles as he ate.

Alarmed my Aunt Sharron sat down on the cabin steps beside him and told him that he didn’t have to eat them if he didn’t want to.  “I love them but I’m crying because they’re spicy but so good that I can’t stop eating,” he’d sobbed.

I think she toned down the spice after that because I don’t remember them ever being cry-your-eyes-out spicy.  What I do remember is the tender crunch of onions, the piquant bite of olives, the creaminess of loads of melted cheese.  My Great-grandma, the daughter of Irish immigrants, grew up speaking Spanish in a small  California town just north of the Mexican border and this recipe reflects that upbringing.

They’re on my mind right now because I know that’s what Aunt Sharron is making for dinner on Saturday night.  Grandma’s making her salsa fresca and my cousin Kelli’s bringing her Texas caviar.  Lisa’s on deck with her well loved bruschetta and we’re all bringing dessert. 

To say I’m excited doesn’t really describe my feelings.  Perhaps I’m aiming too high but I hope we’re making memories and connections we’ll treasure for the rest of our lives.  We’re spread out; my family resides mostly in Western Washington, my mom’s sisters, my cousin and my grandma in Oregon.  But all of us value these connections enough to make the trip for each other…or maybe it’s just the promise of good food.

My Irish Grandma’s Enchiladas

Sharron Farrell: This came from Grandmother Pursley. The family really loves it.

black olives, sliced

onions, chopped

sharp Cheddar Cheese (small cubes)

Flour tortillas

Red Chile sauce, medium

Depending on how much you want to make use equal amounts of olives, onions and cheese.

Soak one tortilla at a time in heated red chile sauce. Mix together olives, onions and cheese. Place a very large spoon full of the mixture in soaked tortilla, fold in half. When the bottom of the pan is full layer a mixture and some of the red chile sauce before starting the next layer, until the pan is full. Use a fork to poke holes through the layers of tortillas and pour more red chile sauce over it. Cook in a 350 degree oven until the onions are done and the cheese is melted.


sandraj said...

I remember Willy eating Enchiladas and the whole family being there. As Hayden would say those were good times.

El said...

What a neat memory. The recipe sounds both simple and tasty. Have a blast at your reunion!

Carla said...

Just wanted to let you all know that the reunion was all I had hoped. The aunt's played pinochle by the hour, the kids became best friends and refused to sleep without each other. The food was terrific and the Irish enchiladas were as meltingly wonderful as I remembered. The cookbook was the highlight with five generations of recipes.