Sunday, April 3, 2011

Vegetable Enchiladas

My soon to be in-laws were joining us for lunch today, so I decided it was time for a treat: vegetarian enchiladas.

When I attempt something new, I futz around on the internet until I find a recipe that looks interesting, and then I play with it a bit.   I decided to start with this Food Network Recipe, which was from Rachel Ray's $40 a Day show.  Rather than use pre-made green chile sauce, I decided to make my own green salsa recipe using Simply Recipe's Tomatillo Salsa Verde.  And, we decided we needed some "yellow rice" on the side, so I found this recipe from

How Do You Raja a Pepper?
Cooking 101: Read your recipe and read it again.  So, before I started cooking, I read the at the enchilada prep and it said to prepare the peppers "raja style."  Frankly, I had no clue what this meant.  Google was my friend again here - I found this helpful article that told me to roast them, sweat them, and cut them up.  Ah, easy enough.  Even though the recipe said only to roast the poblanos, I thought it would be nice to also roast our friends the bell peppers, which I thought would add a nice flavor element to the dish.

Behold, the beautiful poblanos and bell peppers before I stuck them under the broiler:

I won't lie - I am lousy at timing things.  My mother's adage about how long things should be cooked?  "Until it's done."  Hence I never got in the habit of looking at a clock.  But I can tell you I rotated them with tongs until each side was nice and charred.  I could have probably let them go longer, but I am impatient.

So, What is a Tomatillo?
If you've gone to Chipotle, or eaten salsa verde, you've had a tomatillo.  But, since I promised my future father-in-law I'd look it up, here it is, per Wikipedia:

The tomatillo (Physalis philadelphica) is a plant of the tomato family, related to the cape gooseberry, bearing small, spherical and green or green-purple fruit of the same name. Tomatillos, referred to as green tomato (Spanish: tomate verde) in Mexico, are a staple in Mexican cuisine.

The salsa recipe gave the option of roasting or boiling them, and I decided to roast for enhanced flavor.  I also cut it down to one serrano - it was fine and had plenty of kick.  I also left out the sugar - I'm trying to use as little refined sugar as possible when I cook (baking is another story :) ) and I didn't see the need for it.

Finished Product and My Vegetarian Tweaks

  I made the following additional switches & subs:
  • For the enchiladas themselves, I swapped out mushrooms for black beans - we wanted the added protein and the color oomph.
  • Also, I was going to use yukon potatoes per the original recipe, but, frankly, I got lazy and decided not to bother.  It was fine without them.  I (meaning Balducci's) also didn't have the hoja santa or espazote.
  • For the rice, I used olive oil in lieu of butter, and vegetable broth in lieu of chicken broth.  We also used brown rice.  The tumeric got it nice and yellow - you honestly wouldn't know the difference.
I did use Monterey Jack cheese, but, if you wanted to go vegan, you could use a soy cheese or Daiya.  Personally, I'd recommend the Daiya - it does melt well and tastes more like cheese.

 Everyone had two servings, so I am considering this a success!

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