Pairing Challenge

Beer Versus Wine – The Perfect Enchilada Pairing

Congratulations to last month’s Beer Versus Wine Challenge winner –Bryan from This is Why I’m Drunk!  Part of the honor includes coming up with the next month’s challenge.  Below is Bryan’s post and challenge food.  Participants have until next Tuesday, June 10 to turn in their suggestion before we take it to a vote.  Winner gets to present July’s challenge.  For more on the rules, click here.

For the longest time as a child, my only exposure to foods originating from south of the American border came in paper wrappers and was usually delivered within minutes of ordering on a plastic tray. For all I knew, Taco Bell offered me everything I needed to understand.

But eventually, I found Puerto Rican rice and beans. And Peruvian ceviche. And my favorite: homemade, Mexican enchiladas.

Enchiladas with Red Sauce

Enchiladas with Red Sauce (Photos Courtesy of

In essence, the enchiladas I enjoy are more utilitarian than gourmet dish. While they can be artfully crafted, a slap-dash approach to mixing corn and black beans with green onion and cilantro can end up equally tasty. A mix of Mexican cheese binds them all together. Rolled up into a flour tortilla, a red sauce washes over the blanketed ingredients and solidifies in the oven.

All the pieces are easily obtained. All the flavors are direct. But working my way through each bite offers a simple pleasure. To me, a sprinkle of cumin and garlic powder provide a touch of flair.

It’s a quick and dirty dish for nights when my wife and I are too tired for the effort to mix or mash or pour something more intricate, but it’s ambitious enough to avoid frozen foods purchased from the freezers of grocery stores and sitting cold and preserved at home. Those enchiladas can be a simple food with satisfying results.

I can’t recall the last time I ate Taco Bell, although I’ll never forget the ritualistic purpose of that food for my father and I. There was a restaurant in a shopping plaza not far from our house where we’d stop before going to a movie in an adjacent theater.

Homemade Enchiladas - So simple, yet so Delicious

Homemade Enchiladas – So simple, yet so Delicious (Photos Courtesy of

At the drive thru, we’d order a pile of soft shell tacos, all wrapped up in their logoed paper. I’d open up the take out bag and widen my nostrils, inhaling an aroma of meat and cheese. It was a smell that would line our coat pockets as we snuck the tacos into the theater, pretending that no one else could sense them.

Being young, sitting in a darkened theater and chowing down on what I assumed was freshly made Mexican food was, at times, an elegant experience. But the thought now twists my stomach ever so slightly.

Make it Pop with Cilantro

Make it Pop with Cilantro (Photos Courtesy of

That’s because I know the savoriness of those rice and beans, the addictive tartness of ceviche and an almost herbal sweetness of our enchiladas. It’s a flavor combination that my taste buds never tire of and only know it’s time to stop when my stomach tells them, ready for splash of something equally delicious from my wine or beer glass.

The food has been presented! Now, what’s your perfect beer or wine pairing for enchiladas with red sauce?