Sunday, September 25, 2011

Green Enchiladas

Enchiladas are becoming one of my favorite thing to make when we're in the mood for Mexican food, and they actually can be healthy when you pack them with fresh vegetables and don't go overboard on the cheese. They are a little bit time consuming, but I attempted to cut down on the prep time here by making a green tomatillo and cilantro sauce that whips us easily in the blender. Like lasagna, enchiladas are something where you can vary the ingredients depending on the season to take advantage of what is fresh (see my prior post for enchiladas with yams in the fall/winter). For this recipe, I made one big batch (since you're already doing the work) and divided the enchiladas into one pan with 8 and another one with 4. You can either cook them all at once or pop one of the pans in the freezer for the future - just put it in the fridge the night before you want to make it to allow it to unthaw and cook per the same instructions the following night.

Green Enchiladas
Serves 6 (2 enchiladas each)

Active Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

1 lb. roma tomatoes, diced
1 lb. yellow summer squash, halved and cut into thin half moons
Two 15 oz. cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 yellow onions, peeled, halved, with one onion thinly sliced and one cut into chunks
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 lb. tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed, and quartered
2 serrano peppers (for medium spiciness, or use only 1 for mild), with stems cut off
2 c. cilantro, chopped
1 c. low sodium vegetable broth
4 oz. queso fresco cheese, crumbled
6 oz. monterey jack cheese, grated
12 whole wheat tortillas (about 8'' in diameter)
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Avocado, sliced, for garnish

Prep all of the vegetables, rinse/drain the beans, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat 1 T. olive oil in a large skillet over high heat and 1 T. olive oil in another large skillet over medium heat. Put the whole tomatillos, garlic cloves, onion chunks, and serrano peppers in the skillet on high heat. Cook 3 minutes, making sure that they get some color, then turn and cook 2 minutes more. Transfer to a blender.  Meanwhile, in the other skillet, add the squash and sliced onion and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook about 8-10 minutes until softened, then transfer to a large bowl.

In the blender with the tomatillos, peppers, and onion, add 1 c. of the cilantro, 1 c. of vegetable broth, and 1/2 t. kosher salt. Blend until smooth.

In the bowl with the squash and onions, add the beans, tomatoes, the other cup of chopped cilantro, the queso fresco cheese, 1 1/2 t. kosher salt and 1/2 t. black pepper. Stir to combine.

Add 1/2 c. of the green enchilada sauce from the blender to a 9x13'' baking pan and 1/4 c. of the sauce to an 8x8'' baking pan. Heat the tortillas in the microwave between two pieces of dampened paper towel for about 45 seconds - 1 minute to soften.

Get everything together in one area (tortillas, sauce, bowl of filling, and pans) to assemble the enchiladas.  To do this, take one tortilla at a time, put it on a plate, scoop a generous amount of filling along the middle, then roll it up and place it seam-side down into the pan. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, putting 8 in the 9x13'' pan and 4 in the 8x8'' pan. Then, top with the remaining enchilada sauce, using your fingers to help you spread the sauce, trying to moisten each enchilada (and keep it from drying out too much during cooking). Top with the monterey jack cheese. From here you can either bake all of the enchiladas at once, or freeze either the smaller or larger pan if you'd like.

Bake for about 35 minutes until the cheese starts to turn golden brown. Let sit for a couple of minutes before serving, then divide onto serving plates and top with sliced avocado.

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