Friday, May 14, 2010

Tomatillo & Chile Sauced Vegetarian Enchiladas - Daring Cooks May '10

Years ago I would have said Mexican food was when you bought a box of hard taco shells from the grocery store and filled them with ground beef that had been cooked with a packet of Taco Seasoning Mix and garnished with a squirt of Taco Sauce from a plastic bottle. As a kid, I really liked it, but obviously I was missing an entire country's worth of flavor, products and culture.
Tomatillo and Chile Sauced
(Hand-made Corn Tortilla)
Enchiladas with Mushroom & Spinach

Our hosts this month for Daring Cooks, 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.

I opted for a vegetarian recipe and my inspiration came from Everyday Mexican by Rick Bayless (a wonderful and simple to follow cookbook). I added a few tweaks, including the roasted Anaheim Chiles that gave the sauce little nibblets to chew.

It will not surprise anyone, who has read my posts, that I am a huge Rick Bayless fan (as raved about here), so this month's challenge was a regalo del cielo.

The first prep I did was to char-roast a few Anaheim peppers. It was too breezy to strike up the grill, but one of my favorite little cooking devices is this inside top-of-stove grill rack.
You could also use the oven on 400F, or a cooks torch (if you're very familiar with its use.) It's important to cook til the skin is completely black for optimum flavor, I find. When completely charred, remove from heat and quickly wrap in plastic wrap and set aside for a few minutes. The steaming inside the plastic helps make the cooked skins peel off so easily. When ready to continue, unwrap, split in half and remove core, seeds and stem.
Then peel, or use knife to help scrape, skin from the outside. Please resist washing the pepper as you'll wash away the very smokey flavor you just created. Slice the pepper and chop into medium pieces and hold for further use.

The next prep was to husk and chop the fresh green Tomatillo~

RECIPE: Tomatillo-Sauced Enchiladas with Spinach and Mushrooms - adapted and tweaked from Rick Bayless

Grilled (or oven roast at 450F, or stove top grill) 3 Anaheim peppers - seed, peel and chopped

4 garlic cloves - peeled
6 med. tomatillos - shucked and cut in half
1 Jalapeno pepper
1 Serano pepper
1 cup Fresh Cilantro - chopped large

1 Tbls. oil,
2 cups Veggie (or chicken) stock

In a blender, puree: garlic, tomatillos, peppers and cilantro.
In a saucepan, heat: oil, then add puree and cook til smooth and thick (about 5-7 minutes)
Add the stock and simmer for 10 Minutes, stirring.
Hold and keep warm while prepping filling (or you can refrigerate and reheat later).

1 cup sliced mushrooms (bella, shitake, etc)
1 red onion, thinly sliced
6-8 oz. fresh baby spinach
1-2 Tbls. oil

8 Corn Tortillas
3 Tbls. Sour Cream
1 cup crumbled Queso Fresco (or other Mexican cheese, goat cheese, or feta)

In a large skillet, heat the oil on Med-High. Add the mushrooms, cook til browned, and add the onions (holding out a few for garnish). Continue cooking til onions are soft. Add the spinach and stir often as the leaves wilt - about a minute or so. Season with salt/pepper, cover and remove from heat.

In the saucepan with the Enchilada sauce, add most of the chopped chiles (keeping some for garnish), and the sour cream and stir to combine.
Dip each tortilla into the sauce and place flat on plate. Add a little filling down each center of the tortillas, roll up and lay on a plate seam side down. Spoon the sauce over the top of rolled tortillas, sprinkle with crumbled cheese, onions and more chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.
I've made hand-made Corn Tortilla before and always have a blast doing it. It is much easier than you think, once you get your rhythm going.

A lesson I learned a while back was to NOT substitute just any corn flour to make tortillas. The corn flour used for tortillas, and tamales, etc. has been treated so you must find the right kind and then, it couldn't be easier. I used a brand I found in a common grocery store, although well stocked with Mexican ingredients. Maseca makes Masa Harina that is sold in a large yellow and beige bag usually found with wheat flours.

RECIPE for CORN TORTILLAS: adapted from Rick Bayless

1 3/4 cups Masa Harina
1 + 2 Tbls. hot tap water

Mix these together, by hand, in a large bowl until completely combined and making a dough.

Cover and rest for 15 minutes. Divide the dough into golf-ball size balls in the palm of your hand.

Using a Tortilla Press (or a heavy cast iron skillet) and two pieces of plastic wrap (a large ziploc bag cut apart makes the perfect weight for this) press each ball into about 5" circles.

With each press, peel the top plastic off and lay the plastic aside - then place the dough circle down on your flat palm and peel away the remaining plastic from the top. Place each tortilla on a hot griddle pan (see picture for my favorite one to use) that has been heated to med.

Cook until it releases, about 30 seconds, flip and move to a hotter part of the griddle and cook on each side for another 30-45 seconds each side. If it puffs a bit, just press down gently with a spatula.

As each tortilla is done, remove carefully from the griddle and place in a towel to keep warm. I usually cover the towel with foil for extra heat containment.

My family barely spoke during this dinner, we were all so enthralled with the flavors and brightness of these Tomatillo and Chile Sauced Enchiladas.
I used the leftover corn tortillas as baked chips the next night with a quick guacamole.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm jealous now - looks like you have a tortilla press, no? I also made corn tortillas, but mine didn't turn out round at all because I don't have a tortilla press. They tasted good, though. Good job on the challenge!

Jo said...

Great job on your challenge and everything looks really delicious.

shelley c. said...

Your enchiladas look so hearty and filling and delicious, and the photographs are fantastic! I am a little jealous of your tortilla press, after hand rolling mine into not-quite-circles, too :) Really great job!

Bunnee said...

I love this vegetarian choice! The pictures of all the work you did are great. I'm glad your hungry eaters enjoyed the results.

Unknown said...

Beautiful photos! I love the idea of the mushrooms and spinach as the filling!!

Asha @ FSK said...

Beautiful post!! love the vegetarian enchiladas...

Mary said...

Your enchiladas look fabulous! I love the step-by-step photos--I only managed one photo this challenge. I'm a big fan of Rick Bayless too, so going to check out your other RB post now.

chef_d said...

Those tortillas look perfect! I love the tortilla press and the filling is just awesome!

chef_d said...

Those tortillas look perfect! I love the tortilla press and the filling is just awesome!

Audax said...

It sure sounds like you had a blast doing this challenge and the photos are fabulous well done on this challenge. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

AJ said...

The tortillas look great!! And I love the filling - spinach and mushrooms go so well together.

Anonymous said...

I love the heartiness of mushrooms in dishes like this. I bet they really added that umami that put this dish over the top.

Jenni said...

Great job! Your enchiladas look spectacular! I love that you used mushrooms and spinach in the filling! I bet they tasted fantastic!