Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Purple enchiladas with green tomato sauce

I made my own birthday supper this year (I am 47!), a Mexican-themed meal mostly from Terry Hope Romero's Viva Vegan.  One of the things I made were her enchiladas, straight from the recipe, an experiment in that I had never made enchiladas before and had rather a limited idea of what they actually are, and also because I made her pine nut crema for the first time, for guests. 
The recipe for pine nut crema did not initially float my boat.  Actually, it sounded kind of gross, like some of the cashew-based toppings I've tried in the past and disliked.  But I tried it anyway.  Oh, what a good intuition that turned out to be!  My omni guests had seconds of the enchiladas (even after I had explained that the topping was made of pine nuts and tofu) and picked away at the leftovers all during the after dinner talk.  The recipe is quite similar to the pine nut cream in Veganomicon for those of my readers who have one of these cookbooks but not the other (and for those who have neither, both recipes are available on Google Books).  Anyway, though I didn't blog it because I was fearful the whole recipe would fail/be awful/because I was cooking several other dishes and needed all my powers of concentration to make it all come together, everything was awesome and the supper was a success. 

I had some of the crema left over, however, so today I did another take on the enchiladas, just for me, with somewhat different ingredients.  Terry Hope Romero uses white waxy potatoes and chickpeas in her filling.  I used purple potatoes, beans, and black beans in this one.  Otherwise, it's pretty close to 1/4 of the enchilada recipe in Viva Vegan.  Here's a photo essay of the process. 

First (as shown above) peel the potatoes and dice them into approximately 1/4 inch pieces.  Put them in a little water, just to cover, and add one very small beet, also diced into 1/4 inch pieces:

If you play your cards just right, by the time the potatoes and beets are tender, there's very little water left in the pot.

In a small skillet, fry a little red onion, garlic, hot pepper, cumin, oregano, and epazote (okay, I subbed asafoetida) until the onion is translucent and tender:

Add the potatoes, black beans chopped up, and some vegetable broth:

Cook and stir until the mix is moist but not watery, and add salt and pepper to taste:

You may or may not find this appetizing-looking.  If not, just imagine
waxy white potatoes and chickpeas and you'll get more or less
the same taste...
Now, if you're wise, you have already prepared your green tomato (or tomatillo, should you be lucky enough to have tomatillos) sauce.  Pour a little of this into a plate, and soak your tortilla (or chortilla, shown here) well on both sides.  The purpose of this is to soften up the tortilla so that it will be flexible enough to be rolled around the filling without cracking (ahem, not a problem with chortillas!):

Once the chortilla is good and coated, lay a line of filling along one end:

...roll up the chortilla, and place it in a casserole with a little of the green tomato sauce in the bottom:

Do the same for all the chortillas (in this case, three), and spread a little more of the sauce on top:

At this point, you can refrigerate the casserole for a while if you like.  When you're ready to cook, glop on the pine nut crema (pine nut crema!!!):

A nice thick layer!
Preheat the oven to 375F, cover the casserole with aluminum foil, and bake for 25 minutes.  Then remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes or so.  If the crema hasn't browned and speckled by then, you can broil it for a few minutes.  Then it's done.  It should cool for about 5 minutes before you serve it:

Don't bother trying to separate the rolls - if you've used tortillas (or even chortillas) the chances are you won't be able to do it.  Just treat it as a kind of Mexican lasagne and cut it.  Mmmmm.....

I served it with a simple saute of zucchini, garlic, oyster mushrooms, and some absolutely awesome slow-cooked tomatoes my mom brought over this afternoon, the recipe for which I will be blogging very soon, and with baked acorn squash.  A great meal, though messy!  I'm not completely enchanted with the color combination, but have been dreaming about it pretty much non-stop since my birthday (and I do have those pesky purple potatoes to dispose of), so I thought I'd give it a try...


  1. Hope I'm not duplicating a comment (Blogger is being weird), but I just wanted to say that even though I am a corn tortilla pro, I still want to make these chortillas--they look gorgeous!

  2. Happy Belated Birthday. Glad to hear the dinner was a success. What fun to have color-themed enchiladas, I love those colors.

  3. Happy birthday! Encheladas used to be the most requested birthday meal at our house, but I've never had them with pine nut crema so I think it's time to up the stakes. I have Terry's book and am off to look up the recipe.

  4. Happy Birthday! (I love enchiladas, but that recipe looks way too complex for me).

  5. Happy birthday (late)! This looks amazing, as usual. I'm trying to cut back on my cookbook purchases, but I've been wondering if I perhaps need Viva Vegan, and this makes me think maybe YES.