Saturday, December 26, 2009

Enchilada Casserole Deluxe

MAKING ENCHILADA SAUCE was probably one of the best things I did this year. I have been eating up the enchilada sauce at a much quicker rate than the marinara sauce, truth be told. This weekend, I am off in the Sierras at the cabin of friends of a friend - and the two of us are relaxing, skiing and cooking up a storm (well, at least I am). I helped my friend Eric at his cooking class at Millennium last weekend - and being that I hate to see anything go to waste, I ended up bringing home a pint of fantastic hominy, a pint of shredded parboiled brussels sprouts and a pint of pepper puree (not too spicy). I didn't quite know what I'd do with it til I realized I was feeling too lazy to make pappardelle for chanterelle stroganoff after a post-skiing first time session making chipotle caramels (which came out awesome, btw).

One of my favorite dishes is chilaquiles - which is basically diced tomatoes, with onions, garlic & green bell peppers, maybe a minced jalapeno - all simmered, made into a casserole with fried up strips of stale tortillas, covered with crema fresca and cheese. I've heard chilaquiles referred to as an "artery clogger" or "heart attack on a plate." In San Francisco, they are usually made with scrambled eggs... making a heart attack more eminent.

Being that I was feeling completely lazy after the skiing/caramels activities - I decided first to make enchiladas, and then decided to layer it - like lasagna. The result was essentially a roasted peppers based chilaquiles casserole - without the dietary cholesterol associated with the traditional recipe:

Step 1:
2 cups large white hominy
1/2 cup chile paste (dried chiles soaked in hot water & pureed)
1 cup water

Simmer hominy, chile paste & water til substantially reduced.

Step 2:
3 Tb olive oil
1/2 minced onion
2 cups shredded parboiled brussels sprouts (or some other green veggie - kale or mustard greens would work)

Sautee onions & brussels sprouts til onions are soft. Once hominy/chile mixture has cooked down, add to the pan. Add:

1/4 cup nutritional yeast
3 Tb cumin
salt & pepper to taste
16 oz silken tofu (mash into pan or puree in blender first)
2-3 Tb tomato paste (optional)
1/3 c finely chopped cilantro (optional)

Cook this down til it reduces substantially.

Meanwhile - warm up your tortillas - you want to dry out a package of about 12 tortillas just a bit. Drizzle the bottom of the casserole dish with olive oil and then cover the bottom one layer of corn tortillas. You'll put down the filling and cover with the rest of the tortillas before putting the enchilada sauce on top.

Warm up 1 pint of Red Enchilada sauce - add about 1 Tb of powdered toasted chipotle pepper. Once the filling has reduced - spread it into the casserole pan, cover with a layer of tortillas, then spread all the enchilada sauce on top.

Bake for 30-40 minutes. Remove - spread the enchilada sauce smooth across the top with the back of a spoon or spatula, pour on 1 cup of cashew cream (or unsweetened Mimic Cream), sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds & crushed tortilla chips, Let sit for a few minutes to cool (it makes serving easier!) - use a nice sharp metal spatula to heft out a chunk of delicious casserole to your plate and enjoy!

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