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Baked Brown Ale Potato Cheddar Enchiladas

This recipe comes straight out of the pages of Lori Rice’s new cookbook, Food on Tap: Cooking with Craft Beer (Countryman Press, 2017). When she’s not writing about the science of food and drink and photographing the process, Lori can be found running, hiking nearby mountains and coastlines of California, and traveling with her husband to investigate all things beer in the U.S. and abroad. 

Homemade Mexican food meets a comforting casserole with these enchiladas. Brown ale deepens the flavors and brings out the best in the rich tomato-based enchilada sauce. This beer is also a good beverage to serve alongside the meal. The recipe calls for baked potatoes, but, pro tip: to save time, I typically microwave them until tender.

Baked Brown Ale Potato Cheddar Enchiladas

The Beer: American Brown Ale
Serves 6
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium russet potatoes (about 1 pound), baked
2 large gold potatoes (about 1 pound), baked
1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1⁄4 teaspoon smoked paprika
3 ounces brown ale
8 ounces white or yellow cheddar, shredded, divided
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons chile powder
3 tablespoons tomato paste
9 ounces brown ale
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1⁄2 cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1⁄4 teaspoon smoked paprika
12 large corn tortillas, warmed
Chopped cilantro, for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with non- stick cooking spray.
  2. To make the enchilada filling, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  3. Roughly chop the baked potatoes (with the skin on, unless you choose to discard it) and add them to the skillet. Stir in the salt and the smoked paprika.
  4. Pour in the 3 ounces of beer and stir the potatoes, gently breaking them up. Cook until the liquid is absorbed and any remaining evaporates, about 1 more minute.
  5. Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Let cool.
  6. To make the sauce, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Once melted, sprinkle in the flour and whisk it into a paste, about 30 seconds. Whisk in the chile powder and then the tomato paste. A thick red paste should form.
  7. Carefully pour in the 9 ounces of beer and then the stock as you continue to whisk. Bring to a low simmer and cook until it begins to thicken slightly, 5 minutes.
  8. Add the tomato sauce, and then stir in the cumin, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and paprika. Continue to simmer for 5 more minutes.
  9. Transfer 1⁄4 cup of the sauce to the baking dish and spread it to coat the bottom. Work on a flat surface and scoop an equal amount of potato filling into the bottom center portion of a tortilla. Roll from the bottom up and place seam side down in the baking dish. Continue with the remaining tortillas. It’s okay if the tortillas split in some spots once you get it into the baking dish.
  10. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for 12 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the enchiladas are bubbling. Serve warm, sprinkled with cilantro. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Note: Look for corn tortillas that are 7 to 8 inches in diameter. I often find them labeled as large corn tortillas. If you can’t find them, feel free to substitute with flour. You can also use smaller corn tortillas and make more enchiladas with less potato filling inside each one.
Beers to consider: Big Sky Brewing Company Moose Drool Brown Ale, Avery Brewing Company Ellie’s Brown Ale, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company Davy Brown Ale. Beers labeled as English brown ales can also be used.
Have you done much cooking with beer? What’s your go-to brew? —Lori Rice

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