I love it when a recipe causes me to think twice about a cooking practice. I had pretty much written off making my own enchilada sauce after I used Old El Paso sauce for the Easy Beef Enchiladas – they were so good! After making my own sauce from scratch while trying the Vegetable Enchiladas recipe from the December 2007 issue of Everyday Food, though, I’m not so sure. Homemade just may be better.
This recipe makes enough for 8 people, so you can either cut it in half, divide it between two 8-inch baking dishes and freeze one (this is what the recipe says to do), or just put everything in a large baker and bake it on the spot. We had a busy week; I made the whole recipe so we wouldn’t have to worry about cooking or cleaning the kitchen for a few days.
I started by making the enchilada sauce, which was easier than I thought it would be. I heated 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan and then added 1 teaspoon of cumin, 1/4 cup of flour, and 1/4 cup of tomato paste. I cooked and whisked the mixture for 1 minute before adding 1 can (14.5 ounces) of vegetable broth and 3/4 cup of water. I brought everything to a boil, reduced it to a simmer, and cooked it until it was slightly thickened (about 8 minutes). I seasoned the sauce with salt and pepper and set it aside.
Next, I made the enchilada filling. In a large bowl, I combined 2 cups of grated pepper Jack cheese, 1 can (15 ounces) of rinsed and drained black beans, 1 box (10 ounces) of frozen chopped spinach (thawed and squeezed dry), 1 box (10 ounces) of frozen corn kernels (thawed), the white parts of 6 scallions (thinly sliced), and 1 teaspoon of cumin, seasoning again with salt and pepper.
The recipe suggested corn tortillas but Dr. O prefers flour, so I used fresh wheat flour tortillas from Kroger. (They make them every day, just like Central Market.) I lightly oiled my large stoneware baker and then started rolling and filling the tortillas. I microwaved each one for 10 seconds, topped it with 1/3 cup of filling, rolled it up tightly, and put it seam-side down in the baker.
Once I had all the enchiladas in the baker, I sprinkled them with 1 more cup of the shredded pepper Jack cheese and then topped them with my enchilada sauce. I baked the dish uncovered at 400 F until the enchiladas were hot and bubbly, about 20 minutes. (I would put them in for 15 minutes if you cut the recipe in half.) After 5 minutes of cool time, I topped them with scallions and served them with Spanish rice.
Forgive the sheen on the photo, but the enchiladas were actually a little bit shiny. I think it came from sprinkling the cheese underneath the sauce rather than on top.
OH. MY. GOSH. These were just as good as any veggie enchilada I’ve ever had in a restaurant – amazing! The veggie combo in the filling is great, and the pepper Jack cheese gives the dish a delicious kick. I will definitely make these again. Dr. O did put in a request to skip the spinach next time since it “sticks in (his) teeth” – we’ll see. 🙂
TIPS: If you decide you want to freeze half of the recipe (or the whole thing), prepare the enchiladas to the point where they’re rolled, dividing them this time between 2 lightly-oiled 8-inch baking dishes. Sprinkle them with the pepper Jack cheese, cover the baking dish(es) with plastic wrap, and then add a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze the sauce in an airtight container. Both the sauce and the enchiladas can be frozen for up to 2 months.
To bake the enchiladas from frozen, thaw the sauce in the refrigerator overnight (or microwave it on high for 2 minutes, stirring once halfway through). Remove the foil and plastic wrap from the baking dish(es), pour the sauce over the enchiladas, and re-cover the dish with just foil. Bake the enchiladas for 30 minutes at 400 F, remove the foil, then bake for 15 more minutes until bubbly. Cool 5 minutes before serving.
Recipe link: Vegetable Enchiladas