Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Daring Cooks: Enchiladas!

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Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found on and written by Robb Walsh.

To make this challenge vegan, I decided to make the Potato-Chickpea Enchiladas with Green Tomatillo Sauce and Pine Nut Crema from Viva Vegan. This cookbook is by one of my favorite vegan authors, Terry Hope Romero. She is a co-author of some of the vegan bibles I refer to all the time: Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, Veganomicon and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.

This was my first Daring Cook’s challenge and it was full of firsts for me! Before this, the closest that I got to cooking Mexican food was lazy nachos and guacamole. I knew absolutely nothing about it, but this is the exact reason why I decided to join the Daring Cooks! I was way out and of my comfort zone and that’s a good thing sometimes.


Green Tomatillo Sauce

My adventure began at New Season’s Market trying to figure out the strange world of tomatillos and chiles. Lucky for me, the produce lady was nice enough help pick out the tomatillos and chiles. She said the tomatillos should be firm & free of defects and the chiles should be wrinkle free and firm. Viva Vegan calls for jalapenos, but Dinoff is a bit of a baby when it comes to spices, so, I used Anaheim chiles.

To clean tomatillos: Remove the husks and wash well in warm water.


They have a soapy film to them, so make sure you rinse them until the skins feel smooth and squeaky clean.


Boil the tomatillos in a large pot for about ten minutes, until they start to split or turn olive green. Let cool for 20 minutes.


Blend the tomatillos (and their juices), garlic, chiles, onion and parsley until smooth. Viva Vegan calls for cilantro, but I happen to be a serious hater of cilantro! Parsley seemed to work fine for me and made it a pretty green color.


Heat up peanut oil and bring the sauce to a boil. Add veggie broth and simmer until the sauce thinly coats the back of a spoon. Stir in sugar & salt and set aside. Unfortunately, the pretty color goes away after cooking, but it is still really tasty. This sauce tastes exactly like I’ve had in Mexican restaurants!


Pine Nut Crema

The Pine Nut Crema is creamy and delicious! It bakes to a cheesy sauce texture, kind of similar to a ricotta. I think it will also go well with a tomato sauce. It’s really good stuff!

Blend silken tofu, pine nuts, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, cornstarch and salt until smooth, scraping down the blender often. Season with salt & lime juice to taste and set aside.


Potato-Chickpea Enchilada Filling

Roast the chiles in a 400° oven for about 20-25 minutes, until the skin blackens and they collapse. Put on a plate and cover with plastic wrap for ten minutes.peppers

Remove skins and finely chop.


Dice yellow potatoes and boil until a fork easily pierces a piece. Drain and set aside.


In a large skillet or pot, heat up peanut oil with garlic. Add roasted chiles, onion, oregano and cumin. Cook until the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally.

Add veggie broth, cooked potatoes, smashed chickpeas and salt. Cook until most of the broth has been removed. Mash the potatoes to create a chunky texture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The filling is really good on it’s own. I could easily eat it as is!


Assembling the Enchiladas

Lightly oil a large casserole dish and spread some of the Green Tomatillo Sauce on the bottom. Place some more of the sauce in a pie plate. Drop a tortilla (I used flour tortillas) in the pie plate and coat both sides with sauce. Place the saucy tortilla in the casserole dish and spoon on 3-4 tablespoons of the filling down the center of the tortilla. Roll up tightly and continue with the rest of the tortillas, placing them tightly in a single layer. Pour about a cup of the sauce over the enchiladas and save the rest to serve later.


Spoon generous dollops of Pine Nut Crema on top of the enchiladas. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the tortillas are slightly browned. Here they are right before baking:


I must confess, since becoming a vegan almost five years ago, I have not been thrilled with my vegan Mexican food options. Now I know, I just need to get off my lazy butt and make it myself! This dish is exactly what I’ve been wanting! The enchiladas are really filling and just plain awesome!


This ended up taking a huge portion of my day, but the payoff was totally worth it. Dinoff was even a big fan of it! I wish I had some more even as I am typing this! IMG_4391

Terry Hope Romero suggests making everything over the course of three nights and that is probably the way I will go next time. There will be a next time very, very soon!