[PRINTED WITH THE PERMISSION OF THE ALPINE AVALANCHE]
Last week, the Fort Davis Lions Club held our largest annual fundraiser, the Enchilada Supper. In the weeks leading up to the event, we brainstormed, planned and prepped. Thanks to a very organized Lions team, we each had a job and directions to follow that enabled us to have the smoothest, most successful Enchilada Supper fundraiser to date.
Historically, the supper is on the evening of the last home football game for Fort Davis, having most people rush in and out or just pick up to-go orders. This year, a last-minute football schedule change allowed people to come and go at their leisure, and visit with friends while eating.
Folks that attended the Enchilada Supper were treated to unlimited homemade salsa and chips while they waited for a triple-stack of flat red cheese enchiladas (with or without an egg on top), homemade pinto beans and rice, lettuce and tomato salad, and a dessert table filled with cakes, pies, cookies and more. We even had several gluten-free desserts. Fort Davis PALs (Peer Assisted Leadership) students delivered steaming plates, cleared tables and kept the chips and salsa supplied.
The night before the event, we gathered at the Fort Davis Methodist Church kitchen to get the homemade enchilada chile sauce started, under the direction of our own Lion Ed Dutchover. With more than a dozen of us cleaning the seeds from dried Hatch chiles, we were able to turn 12 pounds of dried chiles into juicy, reconstituted peppers ready for making sauce.
The kitchen was buzzing with camaraderie, as well as a few sniffles and coughs when the large stockpots filled with blanching peppers began to emit capsaicin, the molecule in chiles that gives them heat. Capsaicin has many health benefits. It fights inflammation, provides natural pain relief, clears congestion, boosts immunity with its high levels of Vitamin C and Vitamin A, among other things.
When buying fresh chile peppers, look for vivid colors and glossy, firm skin. Avoid any that have soft areas or black spots. Fresh peppers can be hung in the sunlight to dry and should then be stored in an airtight container out of the sun. When buying dried peppers, try to find the most tender and recent crop that you can – avoid the crispy, dried peppers because they are past their prime and will taste as such.
We sold 220 plates of enchiladas last Friday evening. We donated the leftovers to the church for its Tuesday School – a program that provides lunch for 80+ students on Tuesdays in the absence of a cafeteria at the high school.
The Fort Davis Lions Club, thanks to the generous support of local businesses and enchilada-lovers, was able to raise approximately $3500 to continue our mission of providing eye care for those in need and scholarships for high school seniors.
I could go for a stack of red with an egg on top right now.
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Homemade Red Chile Sauce
20 dried New Mexico Red Chile Pods
2 cups water
8 oz. can Tomato Sauce
2-3 cloves garlic
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp salt
Add chiles and onion to large pasta pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the chiles if desired, or reserve 2 cups of water for blending. Carefully remove chiles and onion from pot and add to blender. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.