Making dinner for Melanie Tait

The Two Girls were invited to Pot Luck dinner with Melanie Tait on 936 ABC radio this week.

We were asked to bring a favourite meal. With so many favourites we settled on chicken and black bean enchilada soup and apple, cinnamon and honey cake.

This Girl chose the enchilada soup because I love the flavours, colours and ingredients of the American south west. I always say ‘don’t be afraid of a recipe’ and this is one I found online and adapted. It’s also a typical winter mid-week meal in my home – a meal slow cooked on the weekend and packed into the freezer for a weeknight when I don’t fancy cooking.

The Other Girl chose an apple, cinnamon and honey cake because the flavours remind her of her Nan and Grandma and make for a great cake. It’s easily served with cream for morning tea or warmed with ice-cream for dessert. Melanie called it the perfect café cake.

Photo taken by Sarah Mashman, ABC Producer

Melanie’s dinner, photo taken by Sarah Mashman, ABC Producer

Chicken and black bean enchilada soup

Cooking notes: start this recipe a day ahead or early morning or buy commercially prepared options.

Soak the black beans overnight or for at six hours and then boil until tender but not mushy. They should keep their shape. Drain and rinse. It’s most efficient to soak 500 grams – 1 kilo and freeze the cooked beans in containers of 400 grams or so. They’re then ready any time you want. Otherwise you’ll only need around 150-200 grams of dried beans for this recipe.



To make the chicken stock –

Season and roast a kilo of chicken wings on 200 degrees for around 40 minutes. Turn while cooking so they brown nicely.

Take a couple of chicken carcasses, 2 sliced leeks, 2 diced carrots, a couple of handfuls of sliced mushrooms, 2-3 cloves of garlic, a bay leaf, sprigs of tarragon and parsley, 1 tablespoon of peppercorns and salt to taste and place in a large stock pot and cover with water.

Bring to a simmer and allow to slowly cook from 3-4 hours. Add a little extra water over this time.

Strain the ingredients off the stock water with a fine sieve, preferably lined with muslin.

Freeze in small quantities and use in a couple of months.

To make the enchilada sauce –

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and add the flour, stir until starting to brown, a minute or so.

Add chilli powder. Not any chilli powder. It should be a New Mexican or Mexican chilli which you’ll need to get from a speciality spice store or online. They vary widely in heat so experiment and build up the heat. Recipes vary from 1-4 tablespoons. I used a 1 ½ tablespoons.

Add a couple of diced garlic, ½ – 1 teaspoon each of cumin and Mexican oregano and season to taste.

Cook for a minute and add 2 cups of chicken stock gradually, stirring to remove lumps.

Bring gently to the boil and simmer until thick – around 10 minutes.

To make corn chips –

Heat enough oil to shallow fry tortilla pieces in a saucepan.

Cut corn tortillas in quarters and each quarter in thirds – you should have 12 little wedges.

Using a mortar and pestle, grind 1 ½ teaspoons of salt flakes with 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika.

Fry tortilla wedges in small handfuls and drain on absorbent paper. Scatter with the salted paprika seasoning to flavour.

To make the soup –

Place all the ingredients in a slow cooker.

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 cups chicken stock

Enchilada sauce to taste – depends on how hot you made it – try one cup and add extra closer to the end if not hot enough for your liking.

400 grams of black beans

400 grams of corn kernels

400 grams of canned, diced tomatoes

2 cloves garlic, minced

Season to taste

Cook on slow for around 6 hours or until the chicken easily shreds with a fork.

To serve –place a ladle or two of soup into a large bowl.

Garnish with diced fresh tomatoes, diced avocado, grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped cilantro (coriander) and corn chips.

The soup freezes well.

Original recipe – Slow cooker enchilada soup

The recipe for the corn chips originally appeared in Gourmet Traveller.


Apple, Cinnamon and Honey Cake


Ingredients –

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 Granny Smith (or other tart apple) peeled and thinly sliced

6 tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

2/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups plain flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons honey (to drizzle on baked cake)

Method –

Pre-heat oven to 160° and line the base of a 20 cm round baking tin with baking paper. Coat paper base and sides of tin with cooking spray.

Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of the ground cinnamon over the base and arrange apple slices in a single layer over the cinnamon.

Cream butter and brown sugar.

Beat in eggs, one at a time.

Add vanilla while beating in the eggs.

Mix together flour and baking powder and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.

Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.

Add 1/2 milk and beat on low speed until just combined.

Repeat above and finish with final 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.

Pour cake mix over the apple slices and bake for approximately 50 minutes or until sides come away from the tin slightly and cake bounces back when touched in the middle.

Turn the cake out immediately and peel baking paper off to reveal the apple and cinnamon top and drizzle with honey.


Serve warm with ice-cream or cold with thick cream.

Ange amended this recipe from the original you can find here.

You can listen on line until 27 June 2016.

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