October 12, 2003

Someones in the kitchen with Dinaaaaah!

Last weekend I experimented with a couple of recipes for vegetarian enchiladas. I’m definitely a carnivore, but oldest daughters’ vegetarian best friend stays at our house for extended visits, so this is my attempt to feed her something other than salsa and grilled cheese sandwiches.

My oldest daughter used to be my taste tester on these recipes, especially the Mexican ones. Wife and Mookie, being extremely picky eaters, want nothing to do with most of the food I like, and oldest daughter is away at college, so I recruited a neighbor and her daughters to help. I didn’t tell them anything beyond ‘enchilada’ when I took a tray full over to them. I’ll give you their (and my) reactions about these after the recipes.

Note: The first recipe calls for a simple Tomatillo sauce. My store didn’t have any tomatillos, so I settled for a bottled Chile Verde (green chile sauce). If at all possible make the homemade stuff because it puts the bottled sauce to shame.

Tater Enchiladas

2 cups diced cooked potatoes
2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
2 Tbsp lime juice
3 green onions, chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
½ tsp salt
¾ cup sour cream
8 corn tortillas
3 cups Tomatillo sauce (recipe below) or chile verde
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 small can of sliced black olives

Combine the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl.
Soften the tortillas in heated tomatillo sauce.
Spoon equal amounts of potato mixture onto tortillas and roll up.
Place enchiladas seam-side down in a shallow baking dish.
Top with remaining sauce and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Garnish with olives.
Bake in a 325 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.

Tomatillo Sauce

1 pound tomatillos
8 fresh New Mexico green chilies, roasted and peeled *
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups vegetable broth
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp oregano

Husk and wash tomatillos. Slice into wedges. In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Pour into a blender and pulse to desired consistency. (Makes about 4 cups sauce).

* Try to get New Mexico chilies instead of the ubiquitous Anaheim variety. Different chile, different flavor.

Zucchini Enchiladas

4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp flour
2 tsp chili powder
2 cups milk
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup grated monterey jack cheese
2 cups zucchini, diced
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup onion, chopped
2 green chilies, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
16 corn tortillas
2 cups tomatoes, diced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking pan and set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the flour and chili powder to make a roux (thick paste). Gradually add the milk a little at a time, whisking well after each addition. Add both cheeses and heat gently until melted.

Steam the zucchini until just tender (about 10 minutes).
Heat oil in skillet over medium heat and cook onion, green chilies and garlic until limp – about 3-5 minutes. Don’t let the garlic burn, add it at the very end or stir constantly.
Add zucchini and 2/3 of the sauce. Toss gently to coat.
Spoon filling into each tortilla and roll, placing seam side down in baking pan.
Spoon remaining sauce over all and sprinkle with tomatoes.
Bake for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly.

I made a third type of enchilada with the leftover ingredients of these two, using my homemade enchilada sauce.

My taste testers said they really liked these, even after I told them to be honest (it is a test recipe after all). Their favorite was the potato kind. Myself, I didn’t care for the potato enchiladas at all, but I have some ideas about that and I’ll try it again. First, I’ll have to make the homemade sauce instead of that lousy jar stuff. Second, dice the potatoes into smaller chunks and don’t use as much lime juice, it really overpowered the mixture instead of adding that ‘hint of lime’ you expect. Now I loved the zucchini enchiladas and will definitely be making them again. One of my taste testers hates zucchini but loved these.

I don't see why you couldn't add yellow squash to the mix for a nice change, and probably grill it with the onion and garlic instead of steaming.

These were fun to make and tasty. Making enchiladas isn’t particularly difficult, and it’s pretty impressive to set out dishes of several varieties of these at a party. Chicken, cheese, beef, and now two kinds of veggie, I loooooove Mexican food!

Posted by Ted at October 12, 2003 09:28 AM
Category: Recipes

D*mn, those sound good! I'm a meativore myself, though not nearly as much of one as my husband; whose idea of a salad consists of lettuce and dressing, maybe some croutons if it's Caesar salad. Lucky for us our boy seems to be developing more of a taste for veggies than his father.

I'm all fussy, though--I just tried to Blogroll you and the blasted Blogrolling site is still down...grr... I promise I will have you listed on my site as soon as it comes back up! :-)


Posted by: TwoDragons at October 12, 2003 12:37 PM

Ooh...they sound heavenly. Not only am I a vegetarian, but I LOVE Mexican food.

And the good thing with veggie enchiladas, is you can experiment. Shake up the veggie spectrum! You'll never go back...

Posted by: H at October 12, 2003 01:30 PM
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