Chili and Chocolate

I am not a big Mexican food eater, mainly because I do not like avocados and refried beans. I know that Mexican food is so much more than that; I just haven’t taken the time to learn more about Mexican cuisine. One dish I have made before is chicken mole which is made with a sauce that contains Mexican chocolate and chilies. I have used chocolate in savory dishes before and find that it adds an extra creaminess to the dish.

It is very difficult to find the ingredients you need to make Mexican dishes in Israel, and I had to improvise when I decided to make something with the kosher corn tortillas I bought at my parent’s local supermarket a few months ago. I found a very interesting recipe for cheese enchiladas that I had to try. I had to find a way to make the red mole without compromising too much on the taste using ingredients that are ready available here. I could not find dry mild chili powder, so I used sweet paprika, some cayenne pepper that I brought back from the States, and a whole, seeded red chili pepper. Believe it or not, it worked. It tasted like what I remember having in a restaurant, but I would like to make it next time with Oaxacan Mole which is amazing stuff. I have no idea where I will find dried guajillo chilies and dried epazote here to make the recipe. I guess I will have to wait until my next visit to the States.

The other problem we have here is that I cannot buy Monterrey Jack or Muenster cheeses. I have never seen them at any cheese shop or cheese counter in Israel. So, I decided to buy Fontina as a substitute, which was expensive, but was perfect for this dish. Next time, I will try making it with Gouda or Edam, which are less expensive alternatives.

Goat Cheese Enchiladas with Corn and Red Mole

slightly adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

For the enchiladas:

1/4 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup pine nuts

2 Tbs olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels

1 1/2 cups grated Jack or Muenster cheese (I used Fontina)

2 cups soft goat cheese

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

salt and pepper

12 corn tortillas

For the red mole:

1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds

1 1/4 teaspoons each of anise seeds, cumin and dried oregano (I omitted the anise seeds because I didn't have any)

2 /12 Tbs olive oil

1 small onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup ground sweet paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 small red chili, seeded and minced

1 oz 70% bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped or Mexican chocolate

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (omit if you use Mexican chocolate)


1-1/2 cups water

1 tsp white wine vinegar


For the enchiladas:

Cover the raisins with warm water and set aside. Brown the pine nuts in a dry skillet and set aside. Add the 2 tablespoons of oil to the same skillet and saute the onion and garlic over medium heat to soften, then add the corn and cook for a couple of minutes more depending on whether the corn is fresh or frozen. Drain the raisins and put in a bowl with the pine nuts, onion and corn mixture, 1 cup of Fontina, the goat cheese and the cilantro. Mix everything thoroughly and add salt and pepper to taste.

Fry the tortillas briefly in olive oil, drain them on a paper towel, and fill them with the cheese mixture. Roll them and place them seam-side down in a baking dish. Make the mole. At this point, you can refrigerate the enchiladas.

For the red mole:

Toast the seeds and oregano in a dry skillet, then remove to a plate as soon as they smell fragrant. Grind in a mortar. Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onion. Cook, stirring frequently for about for minutes, or until onion is brown on the edges, then add garlic and ground spices and cook for one minute more. Remove from heat, let the pan cool for a minute, then stir the ground chili into the onions along with the water. Return to the stove and bring to a boil, stirring slowly but constantly so that the chili doesn't burn. It will thicken as it cooks, so add a little water if it gets too thick. Add the chocolate and stir until it has melted. Simmer for ten minutes, then stir in the vinegar to bring all the flavors together. Taste and add salt, if necessary.

When you are ready to bake the enchiladas, preheat the oven to 190C (375F). Pour the mole sauce over the enchiladas, sprinkle with the rest of the Fontina and bake until heated through, about 20 minutes.

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Written by Baroness Tapuzina

Michelle Nordell (aka Baroness Tapuzina) was a foodie from the womb growing up in the House of Weird Vegetables, so named by a family friend because all of the unusual and exotic food cooked and eaten there. She loves to change recipes using herbs from her garden and spices from the spice shops she enjoys visiting.

6 thoughts on “Chili and Chocolate

  1. Hello Michelle,

    I really enjoy your blog!

    The next time you come to the States, pick up 8 oz. of New Mexico chiles. They are the best for Enchilada Sauce. Toast the chiles in the oven 350˚ until they puff up and become fragrant. Watch them carefully, or they will burn. Take the seeds out and soak the chiles in boiling water for at least 20 minutes. Toast 1 oz. garlic cloves, 2 tsp. cumin seeds, 1/4 tsp whole cloves and 1/2 tsp. whole black pepper in a dry pan. Blend the drained chiles and garlic and spices adding water or chicken stock to facilitate the movement of the blades. Blend for a long time. Strain the sauce (this is a must!) and fry the sauce with olive oil or any other kind of oil until the sauce is together and smooth. The last coda, a good pinch of kosher salt, transforms the sauce into a beautiful jewel-toned glisteney sauce. You are now ready to make the enchiladas.

    Fry the tortillas until they are firm but not hard. Submerge the tortillas, one by one, in the hot enchilada sauce, fill with cheese and roll up. It helps to have another pair of hands — it’s a lonely job otherwise. My mother used colby cheese or cheddar, shredded and mixed with chopped onion and a tiny pinch of dried oregano.


    1. Hi Naomi,

      Thanks for the tip and the recipe. I will look for the chiles next time I am there. The enchilada sauce sounds delicious. I just took a look at your blog and it is very interesting. I am going to have to try some of your recipes.

  2. Hi Baroness;

    I’m an ex-Californian , and went to great lengths to find whatever ingredients I could in Israel. There is an importer of Mexican products, I think they’re called tres amigos, who have a store in the industrial area of Holon. It’s a bit of an expedition to get down there and find it. They used to have a splashy store on Dizengoff, but I guess demand wasn’t strong enough to support it. They’re not the answer to all your Mexican cooking needs, but have a lot of stuff, including masa harina and their own corn tortillas, which they sell frozen. Without this foundational ingredient, Mexican cooking is pretty much a waste of time. I haven’t been there in over a year, so I hope they’re still in business.

    There are also a lot of mail order outfits that will mail dried chiles and other ingredients to Israel. Los Chileros is a good one.

  3. Thanks Mark for the info. I heard about the place in Holon; I will see if they are still around.

  4. absolutely unbelievably yummy! i expounded on the veggies, added mini patti pan squash and zucchini and fresh spinach and grilled/roasted veggies, then cooked the whole pan on the grill. so delish. thanks for the recipe!

    1. Hi Carol,

      I am glad you enjoyed the recipe. I am sure it was delicious with those added vegetables.

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