Tag Archives: enchilada

Tomatillo-Sauced Enchiladas courtesy of Rick Bayless

EPC is one year older today.

For two weeks every year my husband  is numerically 1 year older than me.  Then, in 14 days, I catch up and he no longer has a younger wife.

We always make jokes about this.

In a few years he will test-drive 40 for me.  If he doesn’t like it, I may take the cue and stay 39 forever.

He always gets very excited about his birthday and likes me to make fuss over him.  On his birthday proper I prepare a special meal for him and then, on the following weekend, I take him out to the restaurant of his choice. Of course, there are also gifts and a cake.  This year he opted out of the cake and wanted me take him out to Marble Slab for ice cream instead.

Ice cream is his favorite dessert.

When I asked him what he wanted me to make for his birthday dinner, he replied “something Mexican”.  When we did the week’s grocery shopping I was not yet in possession of my new vegetarian Mexican cookbook, but luckily I had a library copy of Rick Bayless’s Mexican Everyday lying around.  I browsed through it and, although the cookbook is meaty, he does include some vegetarian recipes and vegetarian adaptions on some of his meat-based recipes, so I was able to find something suitable quite quickly.  I love tomatillos, so I thought the Tomatillo-Sauced Enchiladas would taste fantastic.  Rick Bayless has quite a reputation as a Mexican chef, rivaled only by Diana Kennedy.

Sadly, I could not find fresh tomatillos.  He allows for this, by including instructions if you have to resort to bottled tomatillo salsa.  I played it safe and went with Herdez tomatillo salsa.  I am sure the dish would be much finer with fresh homemade salsa, but I will save that for next time.  In fact, if you can find tomatillos and have the inclination, do yourself a favour and make the sauce from scratch.  Finally, a warning about using store-bought salsa: you will not need to add extra salt to the recipe, as the salsa adds enough. I also found the salsa too mild for my taste, so I added a few dashes of cayenne pepper to liven it up.

I should also mention that I do not eat mushrooms.


Perhaps it is because  I work with fungi all day and the thought of eating some when I get home just doesn’t sit well.  However, I will include the original recipe for those of you who eat mushrooms and the modifications for those of you who don’t.

Tomatillo-Sauced Enchiladas with Spinach and Mushrooms
Serves 4

Tomatillo sauce:
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled
Fresh hot green chilies, stemmed and quartered – 1 jalapeño or 1-2 Serrano peppers
1 1/2 pounds tomatillos (10-12 husked, rinsed and cut into quarters)
3/4 cup of rough chopped cilantro, save a few for the garnish
2 cups vegetable broth

*If using store-bought salsa you will need between 3 and 4 cups

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 ounces of mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (I substituted 1/2 block of firm tofu (175 g), diced and 1 diced zucchini. Add after the onion)
1 large red onion, thinly sliced (reserve 1/4 of the onion for garnish)
10 cups of spinach, stems removed (I used 4 cups of spinach)
12 corn tortillas
3 tablespoons of Mexican crema, sour cream, heavy cream, or crèam fraîche (I used sour cream)
1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1 cup of crumbled Mexican queso fresco or other fresh cheese such as feta or goat (I used feta)

Preheat the oven to 350°C

To make tomatillo sauce:
• Drop the garlic and chilies into a running food processor one piece at a time until each piece in finely chopped.
• Add the tomatillos and cilantro, processing until smooth
• Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium saucepan and cook stirring frequently until the mixture is almost the consistency of tomato sauce (~7 minutes)
• Add the vegetable broth and simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes
*If using store-bought sauce, bring to a boil in a medium saucepan and then let simmer

To make enchiladas:
• heat 1 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a large 12-inch skillet/
• Add the mushrooms and sauté for a couple of minutes until the mushrooms begin to brown (if omitting mushrooms, start with the onions)
• Add 3/4 of the onions and cook until the onion is translucent
• Add the tofu, if using, and sauté until it browns and then add zucchini and cook for 3 minutes.
• Add the spinach and cook while stirring until the spinach wilts.
• Lay the tortillas in a single layer on a baking sheet and spray or brush each side lightly with oil. Place in the oven for 3 minutes until the tortillas soften.
• Remove the tortillas from the oven and stack in a single pile, covering with a tea towel to keep them warm

Enchilada assembly:
• Stir the crema into the sauce (bottled or homemade) and adjust the seasoning with salt, or sugar if too tangy.
• Holding a tortilla by one edge, dip and coat with sauce.
• Lay the tortilla on the plate and spoon 2 generous tablespoons of filling in the centre, roll up and lay the filled tortilla seam side down on the plate. Prepare 3 tortillas per plate.
• Pour 1/4 cup of sauce over each plate of enchiladas
• Garnish with remaining onion,  1/4 of the cheese, and some cilantro springs.


Vegetarian Black Bean Enchilada Bake

I had a friend ask for one of my recipes this past weekend.  I figured what a better way to get started blogging than with a “real” recipe request.  Afterall, that is the purpose of Cookbook Cooks – sharing recipes!

She and her partner stayed with us for a couple of days while they were getting some work done on their place.  Since she is gluten-free, I rummaged around in my unorganized recipe binder (sigh – I really need to do something about that!) to find a hearty and substantial recipe that was different and delicious while meeting her dietary requirements. Not that cooking gluten-free is difficult or implies that we need to make sacrifices, but I wanted to make an effort and cook something that  I thought she would enjoy (and that would make enough so we could all take some in our lunch the next day!).

I came across a recipe for Vegetarian Black Bean Enchilada Bake that I had found on About.com.  I  made it once before when my husband’s brother (a non-vegetarian) was visiting. He and my husband both loved it and each ate two large helpings, so I figured I would make it again.  If it was a success once, I figured it would be safe bet this time too.

Vegetarian Black Bean Enchilada Bake is easy and quick to put together, but is by no means a gourmet or elegant meal.  It tastes great though, and isn’t that what really matters?

Vegetarian Black Bean Enchilada Bake

Preheat oven to 350°C
1 large onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup salsa ( I like to use Pace medium salsa)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper (I like to use McCormick’s)
2  540 ml cans black beans, drained and rinsed
12  6-inch corn tortillas
3 cups Monterey Jack and Cheddar blend cheese shredded ( I like to use the Kraft Tex-Mex shredded cheese mix)

  • Saute the onion, pepper and garlic in a large skillet for 3-5 minutes until tender.
  • Add the salsa, cumin, cayenne and  black beans and bring to simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring often for 3 minutes.
  • Arrange 6 tortillas in bottom of 9″ x 13″ baking dish overlapping them as necessary. Spread half of bean mixture over tortillas and sprinkle with half of cheese. Repeat layering process with remaining tortillas, bean mixture and cheese.
  • Cover dish with foil and bake 20 minutes.