It's January and we can all use a pick me up for the middle of the month. Maybe your Christmas spending took you over the top as well and you are looking for something inexpensive and yet you don't have anything in your cupboards because its been too cold to go out and get that kind of thing taken care of. Or maybe your material needs are actually not that bad and you just want a casserole dish full of yummy, tummy-filling goodness. In any scenario, my answer is enchiladas.
Now, before we get too far in I want to start off with a warning. These are not authentic. In fact, this was a quickly pulled together, not exactly from scratch meal. Nonetheless, eating them, you wouldn't have been able to tell.
Here is your shopping list:
- From the Mexican/Latino/International aisle - (1) large can vegatarian refried beans, (1) box rice and black beans mix, (1) small can of chipotles in adobo, (1) half can of corn kernels, (1) small can of salsa verde, (1) ten-pack of medium tortillas;
- From the produce section - (1) green pepper, (2) white/peru onions, (2) plum tomatoes (or more or bigger variety for a redder sauce), (#) green onions, (#) spring mix;
- From the dairy/vegetarian/hippy/organic section (all optional) - (1) container Tofutti Sour Supreme, (1) bag mozzarella/pepperjack Daiya.
- From the pantry (i.e., you should have a stock of these) - plenty of spices and oil (peanut and canola, or olive), some no-chicken stock and some water.
To begin, prepare the box of rice and beans as instructed. Now, I feel awful having the first step seem so crass and not like this is a recipe blog at all. Still, the box cost me $1.58, and afforded me twenty five minutes unattended to spend on other components. Like the enchilada sauce. I'm not even including this in the instructions though since it is basically a prepared ingredient.
Next, start your enchilada sauce by toasting some paprika in a small sauce pot. Chop one of the onions, heat oil in the pot, and saute. Be generous with your oil. Many enchilada sauces are in large part made up of oil, so don't worry about using too much. My recommendation would be a combination of canola and peanut oil, but yesterday I went with all olive oil to keep it a smidge lighter than otherwise. Once the onion is soft, add the salsa verde. Chop the tomatoes and add; take two (or more) of the chipotles in adobo, chop and add to the sauce.
Spices: Add some Mexican oregano, marjoram, clove, cumin, coriander, cayenne, and garlic powder. You will also want to add some salt and pepper and some turmeric is good for these kind of months.
Instructions: For the remainder of the process, you should be able to keep it on low with a lid on the sauce and stir occasionally. If you get in a solid 20-30 minutes heating the sauce, it should develop a pretty tart and smokey flavor throughout. Now if you want to really get this pumped up, you can toast some pumpkin seeds and then grind them up and add them to the enchilada sauce.
The filling will be 1 part refried beans, 1 part rice and beans. Boring, huh? Well, the rice mix is just a boxed solution. So not only is the filling boring, but so is one of the components; and the other one being refried beans really doesn't bode well... right?
Actually, let's pretend the refried beans are a sauce. So here is how we begin preparing the refried beans. We will begin with spices this time. The big ones will be clove, cumin, coriander, paprika, cayenne; toss them in the cast iron skillet on medium heat, tossing occasionally, and allow to get nicely fragrant. In the meantime, chop the second onion and the green pepper. (If you are toasting some of them whole, you can do them all at the same time; just pull off the whole spices, grind, and return before the next step.) Add some oil and saute the onion and green pepper.
Once those are soft, mix in the large can of refried beans. Add a quarter cup of no-chicken broth to the pan. Continue blending until you have a good mix. Let the liquid cook off if it seems too fluid.
In a second skillet, drop some paprika (yes, I love the stuff) and heat. Thoroughly drain the corn and separate off half for the filling. Once the skillet is hot, dry toast the corn by adding to the pan (no oil) and tossing every thirty seconds until they get a nice blackening. This will give it a char and a nice smokey flavor. Also, the sweetness will allow the sauce to be even more tart without being overwhelming (and if you put a lot of capsaicin into the mix it will round that out too). At this point add the corn and all your ingredients are basically done and you can pre-heat your oven to 350'F.
There are a lot of methods for how to build your enchiladas. A good layout is essential. You need a dry place to stack your tortillas, a spoon in your rice mix, a spoon in your refried beans, a rolling area for loading and rolling the tortillas, and a casserole dish to put rolled tortillas. Sometimes before baking you just fry the tortilla, sometimes fry the tortillas with the filling; in this case, we're in a hurry, or we're looking for lower fat in at least one area, or we're just plain lazy.
So drizzle a bit of oil over the bottom of your casserole dish and spoon out a minimal amount of the sauce evenly along the bottom. pull a down tortilla flat, add a row of rice mix, then refried beans, and roll. I prefer to load from one side, pinch the tortilla edge to the middle of the other side, then roll and put in the casserole dish. Fortunately, enchiladas are eaten with forks, and tight rolls are not essential; getting all your filling in the roll and moving efficiently are (especially if you do choose to pan fry these little guys before baking).
Pour your enchilada sauce generously over the top of the enchiladas and add some Daiya shreds (optional). Give them until the ends start to brown and they should be nicely done.
To serve, plate two of these guys, bisected, with a small dollop of Sour Supreme, a happy handful of green onions, and some nicely chopped spring mix.
Did you cut back on the heat a little bit for the sake of everyone else? Add a little love on top. On display in the pics are a hot sauce brand named Hot Delights. The two flavors are Mapaya (hot) and Madam (very, very hot). These two little lovely bottles were a gift from John and Kristin upon their return from their honeymoon. They are amazing, and so is the sauce.