Thursday, February 28, 2008

Eiiichiwawa Enchiladas!

I love Mexican food. No, I really, really do. Guacamole is my favorite food. Ever. When asked questions such as, "What's your favorite food?" or "What would your last meal be?" or "What's your specialty?” my answer is always guacamole. So, I like to find things to plop guacamole on – enter, enchiladas.

Now, I am not an enchilada fan. It is, perhaps, the only Mexican foodstuff I have not drooled over or savored in my life. But, as a vegan I am in to adapting recipes and trying new things and forgetting old food grudges. So, I thought I’d give the ol’ enchilada one more try. The thing is, what I really don’t like, is enchilada sauce. So, I figured making my own green (tomatillo-based) sauce would solve the problem. And boy did it ever! This recipes makes two big pans, keep one to eat all week and take one to someone you love.

This only takes about 45 minutes if you used canned enchilada sauce – which you certainly may, just skip the whole “make the sauce part” below. Otherwise it takes about 15 minutes to prep the sauce, but a half hour to cool it (during which time you make the enchiladas), bringing the total cool time to a little over an hour realistically.

Heat oven to 500 degrees.

Tomatillo sauce (make this first):
1 pound (about 10) peeled (take off skin) and washed tomatillos, cut in quarters
1 medium white onion coarsely chopped.
1/4 cup olive oil
4 pressed garlic cloves (or 2 -3 teaspoons garlic powder)
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon mild chili powder (or to taste)
1 can diced green chilies -- (4 oz)
3 cups veggie broth
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium sauce pan, place the olive oil, onions and garlic and cook until soft. Add the broth, tomatillos, cumin, chili powder and green chilies and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a simmer and cover, continue cooking until the tomatillos are soft. Cool until room temperature. At this point, you may refrigerate sauce for later or freeze. When ready, process sauce until smooth in a blender or food processor.

While the sauce is cooling move on to the enchiladas:
8 oz. of chicken substitute (use homemade seitan or buy strips like Quorn and Morningstar make)
1 big or 2 smallish poblano chilies peeled and diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
1 15 oz. can corn, or small bag frozen
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes , or 1-2 c fresh diced
1 T ground cumin
1 t oregano leaf
1-2 c (depending on how much dairy you like) of sour cream alternative (I make my own)
1-2 T chipotle in adobo, pureed or mashed (or sub with 2 t of chipotle powder)
2 c of the tomatillo sauce you made (don’t forget to process/blend it up first)
A bunch of 6" corn tortillas (depending on if you are going to actually make two pans of this stuff – you’ll need anywhere from 8 to 20)


1. Thaw chicken product if it’s frozen, or heat homemade seitan if using it – then set aside.

2. Drain canned corn or thaw frozen. Toss corn, onion and diced zucchini and diced Pablano pepper with a very small amount of oil (just enough to barely coat veggies), broil or roast in oven at 500 degrees until onions start to brown. This takes probably 20 minutes. Turn oven DOWN to 350 when you’re done.

3. Mix chicken sub and all roasted veggies with drained tomatoes, cumin, cilantro, beans, cumin, oregano, chipotle and salt to taste. At this point you could just leave out the "sour cream" if you have none or want a healthier version of these enchiladas. Otherwise, add that in as well.

4. Heat up a very small amount of oil in a pan and quickly saute each side of the corn tortillas, just heating through. If you do not want the added oil, you could just cover the tortillas with a damp paper towel and put them in the microwave.

5. Dip the tortillas in the enchilada sauce, fill them with the stuffing, roll ‘em up and put them in a lightly oiled pan. Top with more sauce (and with vegan shredded cheese or an un-cheese mix, which is what I do, if desired). Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

6. Top with some chopped fresh cilantro, sliced green onion, shredded vegan cheese, and more sour cream sub if desired. All optional. And of course, plop on the guacamole.

More delicious the second the third day re-heated.

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