Serves 4 to 6
Just like tamales, enchiladas are a gift from the Mexican chef gods that require just a little more effort than most casseroles. Some days I just make ’em into a casserole, tastes just as good if not better!
Anyone who follows my cooking knows that potatoes are my favorite carb, I use them in so many different cuisines and now even in my Mexican. In this alternative to traditional fillings, mashed potatoes and tender braised kale are spiked with lime, chile, and toasted pepitas, all wrapped in corn tortillas and a flavorful chile sauce. Serve with a dollop of Sour Cilantro Cream (recipe follows) and a side of Mexican Millet (pictured below, recipe follows).
TiP–>There are so many ways to assemble enchiladas, but I prefer intersecting two lightly toasted, sauce-soaked tortillas like a spicy red Venn diagram to form one big tortilla to get as much filling as possible into each enchilada.
TiP–>If you can’t find any fresh green chiles, a 4-ounce can of green roasted chiles will do in a pinch.
Enchilada Chile Sauce:
2 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil
1 onion, cut into small dice
3 large green chiles (such as Anaheim or even Italian style long green peppers), roasted, seeded, peeled, and chopped coarsely
2-3 teaspoons chile powder, preferably ancho
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon marjoram or Mexican oregano (epazote)
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice (roasted preferred)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2-2 teaspoons salt
Potato & Kale Filling:
1 pound waxy potatoes (Yukon gold or red)
1/2 pound kale, washed, trimmed, and chopped finely
3 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), chopped coarsely, plus additional for garnish
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
12-14 corn tortillas
PREHEAT THE oven to 375°F and have ready a shallow casserole dish, at least 11 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches.
Prepare the enchilada sauce first:
In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, sauté the onions in oil for 4 to 7 minutes, until softened. Add the remaining sauce ingredients, bring to a simmer, and remove from the heat. When the mixture has cooled enough, taste and adjust the salt if necessary. Puree with an immersion or regular blender until the mixture is smooth and even.
Prepare the filling:
Peel and dice the potatoes, then boil them until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside. Cook the grapeseed oil and minced garlic in a saucepot over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the garlic is sizzling and slightly browned (be careful not to let it burn). Add the kale, sprinkle with a little salt, and raise the heat to medium, stirring constantly to cover the kale with the oil and garlic. Partially cover the pot to steam the kale until it has wilted, 4 to 6 minutes.
Remove the lid and mix in the potatoes, vegetable stock, lime juice, pumpkin seeds, and salt. Use the back of a wooden spoon to mash some of the potatoes. Cook another 3 to 4 minutes, until the stock is absorbed. Add more salt or lime juice to taste.
Create an enchilada assembly line:
Have ready a pie plate filled with about 3/4 cup of enchilada sauce, a casserole dish, a stack of corn tortillas, a lightly greased, heated griddle or cast-iron pan (for softening the tortillas), and the potato and kale filling.
Ladle a little bit of the enchilada sauce onto the bottom of the casserole dish and spread it around. Take a corn tortilla, place it on the heated griddle for 30 seconds, then flip it over and heat until the tortilla has become soft and pliable. Drop the softened tortilla into the pie plate filled with sauce, flip it over, and coat the other side.
Now, place the tortilla either in the casserole dish (the easiest way) or on an additional plate. Layer it with another heated, sauce-covered tortilla or just use one per enchilada; either way, run the potato filling down the middle and roll it up. Continue with the rest of tortillas, tightly packing enchiladas next to each other.
Pour about a cup of sauce over the top (reserving some for later), cover tightly with aluminum foil, and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until edges of the tortillas poking out of sauce look just a little browned. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Top individual servings with any remaining enchilada sauce, warmed slightly.
This is one of those recipes I’ve made a dozen times, because it so damn good and can be served alongside any Mexican, Tex-Mex, or Latino-themed meal. It’s a twist on the classic Mexican/Spanish side known as (surprise!) “Spanish Rice”, made instead with millet, a nutrient dense grain which is soft and crunchy at the same time.
2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup millet (soaked overnight)
1 small yellow onion, diced finely
1-2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
2 cups vegetable broth
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/3 cup finely diced tomato (about 1 medium-size, firm, ripe tomato, seeded), plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
Freshly squeezed lime juice, for garnish
HEAT THE peanut oil and garlic in a medium-size, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. When the garlic begins to sizzle, add the onion and jalapeño, and fry, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and slightly golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the millet, stir to coat, and sauté for 4 to 6 minutes, until the millet is lightly golden. Pour in the vegetable broth and add the tomato paste, salt, cumin, and diced fresh tomato.
Bring the mixture to a boil, stir once, and cover. Lower the heat to low and cook for 25 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed.
Remove from heat and allow to sit, covered, for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with chopped cilantro and fluff the millet with a fork. Garnish each serving with a little fresh lime juice and diced tomato, if you want.
SOUR CILANTRO CREAM
Makes about 3 cups
15 Minutes, plus time to chill
This is a nice replacement for sour cream on anything where cilantro would fit in: burritos, tacos, black bean soup, you name it. It also makes a yummy salad dressing and tastes great on black bean burgers.
1 lb silken tofu (not the vacuum-packed kind)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (juice from 1 lime)
1 tablespoon agave syrup
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
2 cups loosely packed fresh cilantro (stems and leaves)
REMOVE THE tofu from the package and shake off any excess water. Place in a blender or food processor (a food processor works better) along with the lime juice, agave, and salt. Blend until smooth.
Preheat a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Place the crushed garlic and grapeseed oil in the pan. Cook gently, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes. The garlic should blondir (that means “to lightly brown”) but not burn. Add to the tofu mixture and blend again until smooth. Add the cilantro and, guess what? Yep, blend until smooth and light green with some flecks of dark green. Scrape down the sides to make sure you get everything because it’s a shame to waste a drop.
Taste and adjust for salt and lime, if necessary. Transfer to a bowl, seal tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. It will get a little bit firmer but will still have a pourable consistency.