Enchiladas are delicious. They might be my favorite type of Mexican food, period. The problem (and probably the reason I like them so much as well) is that if you try to order vegetarian enchiladas at a restaurant, the only thing they seem to be able to replace the meat with is cheese. I've even tried to bargain with them before - I'm not picky...fill them with rice, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, onions...any old thing you have back in the kitchen! But apparently that's not possible, and because I (and my cholesterol) prefer to stay away from huge globs of greasy cheese, I never get to order the enchiladas. SO, I must make my own.
Today I made one of two enchilada recipes that we eat on a very regular basis. The other is a bean/corn etc. type of enchilada assembled as a casserole. I'll certainly blog about that one at some point, but today I made a different one that is somewhat more time consuming. I had loads of time, so it wasn't a problem. This recipe comes from one of the greatest vegan cookbooks ever written, Veganomicon. If you just buy one vegan cookbook, that's the one I recommend. The key to these enchiladas is the potato and kale filling. It's tangy and smoky and has the perfect toothsome texture I look for. The corn tortillas cook in the warm, spicy sauce until they are so tender they fall apart and the filling provides the needed backbone for the dish. Let's get started by assembling the ingredients:
For the Enchilada Chile Sauce:
1 onion, diced
3 large green chiles (anaheim or italian style)
3 tsp. chile powder
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp marjoram or oregano
2 15-oz cans of diced tomatoes (fire roasted preferred)
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
For the Potato and Kale Filling:
1 pound yukon gold potatoes, diced
1 bunch kale, washed, trimmed and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 cup vegetable broth
3 Tbsp. lime juice
1 1/2 tsp salt
12 corn tortillas
First start on the sauce. I actually did this several hours before I made the rest of the dish, just to give myself a head start. The first project is to roast, peel and seed the peppers. If you've never roasted peppers at home, please don't be scared. It's the easiest thing in the world and it happens to be super fun. You need to have a gas stove (which I happen to have and could never live without) or else I'm not sure how you do this exactly. Anyway, just turn on a burner or two and put the peppers right there on the grates. Keep and eye on them so you don't burn down the house, but just turn them every now and then so the outsides get equally charred everywhere. I took this picture when I was about halfway done roasting so you can see exactly what happens. When the outsides are mostly black, put the peppers in a plastic ziplock bag and wait about 10 minutes. By that time, the skins will literally peel right off the peppers easily. Cut each one open, remove the seeds and roughly chop.
Next, in a large saucepan, saute the onions for about 5 minutes until soft. Add all of the remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a simmer. Simmer the mixture for a couple of minutes, then remove from heat and set aside. Once the sauce has cooled enough, put it in a food processor and blend until smooth. It will take a while of blending to get the sauce fairly smooth, so don't rush it.
Next prepare the filling. Boil the potato cubes in water for about 20 minutes until quite tender. The original recipe said to peel them but I see no point. I love potato peels and the skins on yukon golds are so fine that you don't even notice them. Drain the potatoes and set aside. Saute the garlic in a large pot for about 1 minute, then add all of the kale with a sprinkle of salt. Mostly cover the pot and cook about 5 minutes until the kale has wilted. Remove the lid and add all remaining ingredients. Mash up the potatoes with a pastry blender until chunky, but not whole pieces. Cook the entire mixture for about 3 minutes while stirring to mix all ingredients. Now preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Now it's time to assemble. Set up a little assembly line in this order left to right: A shallow dish with about a cup of the enchilada chile sauce in it; Stack of 12 corn tortillas; empty dry skillet over medium heat; Potato-kale mixture; Baking dish with about 1/2 cup of enchilada chile sauce in it. I like to use 2 Pyrex 25 x 16 cm dishes because they are the exact perfect size for 6 enchiladas. This way we can eat one dish and save the other for the next day...or give the other dish to a friend. Go ahead and improvise though with whatever size dishes you have. Take the first tortilla and heat it about 30seconds on each side in the dry skillet. This softens up the tortilla so it's ready to bend. Coat the tortilla lightly with sauce by dipping it in the shallow dish on each side. Then place 1/12 of the potato kale mixturein the tortilla and roll it up. Place the roll in the casserole dish and repeat until all 12 tortillas are used. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the rolls and cover each dish with aluminum foil. Bake the dishes for about 35 minutes and allow to cool slightly before serving. I garnished these with a few toasted pumpkin seeds for a little extra crunch. Yum.
Don't be afraid if the enchiladas fall apart a little bit during serving. The taste more than makes up for the lack of glamour. I just love the tangy, chewy flavor of this filling, and to think I'm replacing that fatty, cholesterol-ridden cheese with something as healthy as potatoes and kale! Who knew! Try this dish, and I bet it will be one of your favorites too.
Nutrition Facts: 1 serving = 2 enchiladas or 1/6 of recipe. 236 calories; 1.5 g fat; 0.1 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 565 mg sodium; 51.8 g carbohydrate; 8.8 g dietary fiber; 8.7 g sugars; 9 g protein.