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Vegetable enchiladas

Dinner is a wrap -- hot, hearty, and smothered in rich chili sauce.

By Adam Ried
October 18, 2009

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Enchiladas are a blank slate. They can be filled with anything that suits your fancy, from plain cheese to tender, long-braised -- or grilled or stewed -- meats. Hearty vegetables and beans are among my favorite fillings. Under a blanket of chili sauce and cheese, enchiladas are substantial to begin with, so a veggie filling can lighten things a little. I usually turn to mushrooms (loaded with garlic), potatoes, and greens.

Garlicky Portobello Mushroom and Pine Nut Enchiladas with Red Chili Sauce

Serves 4 to 6

5 tablespoons olive oil

1½ pounds portobello mushroom caps (about 6), halved and cut into ½-inch slices

Salt and pepper

12 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup pine nuts, toasted

1 medium onion, finely chopped

¼ cup chili powder

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1½ teaspoons sugar

3 cups tomato sauce

1 cup homemade or packaged low-sodium chicken broth, or water

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

12 to 14 6-inch corn tortillas

Cooking spray

½ cup (about 2 ounces) grated cheddar or jack cheese

In a very large skillet set over medium-high heat, heat ¼ cup of the oil until it ripples. Add the mushrooms, ½ teaspoon of salt, and pepper to taste, and cook, stirring often, until liquid evaporates and mushrooms brown, about 10 minutes. Add 8 cloves garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add pine nuts, stir to mix, transfer to a medium bowl, and set aside.

Wipe out the skillet, return it to medium-high heat, and heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil until it ripples. Add the onion, stir to coat, and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and light golden, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 4 garlic cloves, chili powder, coriander, cumin, sugar, and 1½ teaspoons salt and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add the tomato sauce and broth or water, stir to blend, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary (you should have about 3½ cups). Add ½ cup sauce and most of the parsley to the mushrooms and stir to mix well.

Set the oven racks to the upper and lower positions and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Evenly coat the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with ½ cup sauce, and set aside. On 2 large baking sheets, fan out the tortillas. Spray both sides lightly with cooking spray and bake until soft, about 4 minutes. Working one at a time, remove a tortilla to work surface, spread a scant ½ cup mushroom mixture down the center, roll tightly, and set seam side down in the baking dish; repeat to fill and roll all the tortillas, using up all of the mushroom mixture. Spread the remaining sauce over the enchiladas evenly. Sprinkle the grated cheese on the enchiladas, cover the dish loosely with foil, and bake on the upper rack until heated through and cheese is melted, about 35 minutes. If desired, set the oven to broil, remove the foil, and broil until the cheese browns slightly, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and serve at once with garnishes (see Kitchen Aide).

Variation

Potato, Red bell Pepper, and Cheddar Enchiladas In a medium bowl, mix 1 pound Red Bliss or Yukon Gold potatoes, cooked and cut into ½-inch chunks, 1½ cups roasted red bell pepper strips, 1 cup (about 4 ounces) grated smoked or sharp cheddar cheese, and ¼ cup chopped parsley, to blend.

Follow the recipe at left, substituting the potato mixture for the mushroom mixture and topping enchiladas with an additional ½ cup (about 2 ounces) of grated cheddar.

Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas with Green Chili-Tomatillo Sauce

Serves 4 to 6

¾ pound tomatillos, halved

¾ pound (about 4 medium) poblano peppers, halved lengthwise and cored

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

1 cup homemade or packaged low-sodium chicken broth, or water

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt and black pepper

½ cup chopped cilantro

2 small yellow squash, cut into ½-inch chunks

1 15½-ounce can black beans, rinsed

1½ cups (about 6 ounces) grated pepper jack cheese

12 to 14 6-inch corn tortillas

Cooking spray

Set the broiler rack about 6 inches below the heating element and heat the broiler. On a baking sheet, broil the tomatillos and poblanos cut-sides-down until the skins blacken, about 9 minutes, rotating the pan after 4 minutes. Cool, then remove as much skin as possible from poblanos (leave tomatillos intact). Place the poblanos and tomatillos in a blender jar and set aside. Move the oven racks to the upper and lower positions and heat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until it ripples. Add half of the onion, stir to coat, and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and light golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add the broth or water and stir to blend. Add this mixture, sugar, 1½ teaspoons salt, black pepper to taste, and most of the cilantro to the blender and puree until smooth. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary, and set aside.

Wipe the skillet clean, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, and heat it on high until the oil ripples. Add the remaining onion, squash, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash and onion begin to brown and are tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer the squash mixture to a medium bowl, add the black beans and 1 cup grated cheese, and stir to mix.

Evenly coat the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with ½ cup sauce, and set aside. On 2 large baking sheets, fan out the tortillas. Spray both sides lightly with cooking spray and bake until soft and pliable, about 4 minutes. Working one at a time, place a tortilla on work surface, spread about ¼ cup squash mixture down the center, roll tightly, and set seam side down in the baking dish; repeat to fill and roll all the tortillas. Spread the remaining sauce over the enchiladas evenly. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on the enchiladas, cover the dish loosely with foil, and bake on the upper rack until heated through and cheese is melted, about 35 minutes. If desired, set the oven to broil, remove the foil, and broil until the cheese browns slightly, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining cilantro and serve at once with garnishes (see Kitchen Aide).

Send comments or suggestions to Adam Ried at cooking@globe.com.

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