Vegetarian Enchiladas with Goat Cheese

June 3, 2013

Vegetarian Enchiladas with Goat Cheese

I’ve been eyeing a recipe for vegetarian enchiladas from my Tassajara cookbook for a while now, and this past week when I saw this picture from a friend, I knew I had to get my butt in gear and make a huge batch of enchiladas to enjoy now and later. Of course, right before I embarked upon my mission, I had to see this recipe for enchiladas with a carrot sofrito, and out the door went my simple enchiladas filled with potatoes, carrots, and kale, and all sorts of new fillings started dancing about in my head. One might say the enchilada stars had aligned, and thus this recipe was born.

Truly, the switch from the simpler fillings to the carrot sofrito didn’t really add much labor to the process, it just added the time to let the sofrito cook down and intensify its flavors. So I’ve tried to capture the best timing of prepping ingredients in my recipe below, because that makes the longer process so much easier, and it gives you a bit of rest time before dinner is ready. The great thing about this recipe is if you don’t want to add that time, you could just sub in different vegetables prepped in whatever way makes sense. The carrot sofrito yields about 3 cups of vegetable, the zucchini about 1 cup of vegetable, and the kale around 1 1/2 to 2 cups of vegetable. So if you don’t like one of the ingredients, or something isn’t in season, just swap it out with whatever you do have – potatoes, sweet potatoes, squashes, spinach, beans, etc. If you use an ingredient that has lots of water, like the zucchini I added, make sure to squeeze out the excess water so your enchiladas don’t become soggy.

But I must say, the carrot sofrito is soooooo worth the time, and it will forever be a part of this recipe for me.

Filling enchiladas
Filling the enchiladas before baking

Vegetarian Enchiladas with Goat Cheese
Makes 15 – 20 enchiladas
Vegan and dairy free alternatives listed at bottom of recipe

Carrot sofrito
2 tablespoons + 1/4 cup olive oil
9 carrots (about 1.25 lbs), peeled and roughly chopped
2 roma tomatoes (about 8 ounces), roughly chopped
1 small white or yellow onion, roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves
Fine sea salt

Other filling ingredients
1 cup white onion, sliced into half moons
Olive oil
8 ounces kale
1 cup butternut squash, cubed
1 zucchini, grated
1 cup crumbled goat cheese
Salt and pepper

Mole sauce
4 dried chilis soaked in boiling water (Ancho, New Mexico, or other), water reserved (you will need about 1 – 1 1/2 cups of water)
3 cups onions, chopped
Olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon epazote, chopped (alternative: oregano)
3 cloves chopped garlic
1 – 2 tablespoons canned chipotle peppers with adobo sauce
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
2 tbl cocoa
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 can of tomatoes
1 cup water (maybe less with less almonds)
2 teaspoons vinegar (apple cider or white)
Optional: sugar/sweetener, if needed

Corn tortillas
Pico de Gallo or Salsa (optional)
Jack cheese (optional – see last paragraph)

My suggestion is to chop the ingredients for the sofrito first, and get it started since it will cook for 1 1/2 hours in the oven. After it is in the oven, proceed to prep the rest of the ingredients and cook.

For the sofrito: Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. In a food processor, pulse the carrots, onion and garlic until very finely chopped. In a medium, deep ovenproof skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the carrot mixture and a generous sprinkling of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened slightly and nearly dry, 5 to 7 minutes.

While the carrots are cooking, add the tomatoes to the food processor and pulse until nearly smooth. Add the tomato puree to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Stir in the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours until the carrot sofrito is very soft.

Rest of filling: Saute the onions in a bit of olive oil (just enough to barely coat the pan, about 2 teaspoons) until tender. Remove onions to a medium to large sized bowl (you will add all the filling ingredients and the sofrito to this bowl).

Place the kale and butternut squash in a steamer, and steam until tender, about 10 minutes. You will want the kale to be just wilting, so it will still have hint of crunch to it in the final enchilada. Remove from steamer, and after the kale has cooled, chop into fine strips. Place the zucchini and the kale in cheesecloth, and squeeze out the excess moisture. Add the kale, squash, and zucchini to the bowl with the onions. Add the crumbled goat cheese and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. When the sofrito comes out of the oven, add to the filling, stir to combine, and adjust seasoning if necessary.

For the mole: Saute the onions in olive oil (again, enough to coat the bottom of your pot, for me about 2 teaspoons) until translucent and beginning to brown. Add the cumin, coriander, and oregano and stir for a minute to cook the spices. Add the garlic and cook, stirring often, for another 2 to 3 minutes, until garlic has begun to soften.

Add the chipotle in adobo, cinnamon, cloves, 1/2 tablespoon of salt, almonds, raisins, cocoa and chili powders, and stir for another 1 to 2 minutes, until the additional spices coat everything and begin to cook. Add the soaked chili peppers, tomatoes, 1 cup of chili water and 1 cup of regular water, and vinegar, stir, and bring to a low boil, adding additional chili water if the sauce is too thick.

Using an immersion blender, blender, or food processor, blend the sauce until smooth, taking care not to burn yourself (If pouring into a blender or food processor, I would recommend letting the mixture cool just a bit before doing so). Pour the sauce back into the pot and keep warm, adjusting for taste if needed: additional salt, chili pepper; if bitter, a scant bit of sugar, brown sugar, honey, agave, etc.

To pull this all together: Change oven temperature to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a casserole dish. Place a small bit of mole in the bottom of the dish. Lay out a tortilla and spoon a healthy amount of filling into the center. Roll the tortilla once, and place into the dish, seam side down. Repeat until you have filled the dish. Top the filled tortillas generously with mole sauce.

Note: At this stage, you could freeze the enchiladas for later. I would suggest using small tins from the grocery store so you can break these up into trays of 5 or 6 enchiladas for dinners later on. Simply defrost when ready to eat, and you might need to add 10 more minutes to bake time if they’re still chilly when they go in the oven.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the sauce begins to darken to a deeper brown color.

To serve, place slices of avocado on top of the enchiladas and top with salsa or pico de gallo.

Optional: You could add a grated cheese such as a jack on top of the enchiladas before baking as well. I decided to forgo that addition this time, and thus I used the avocados as a replacement for that extra fatty/creamy flavor that the cheese would have lended. I didn’t miss the cheese, but I know others might.

Gluten free alternative: Ensure you are buying corn tortillas with no wheat gluten added.

Vegan & dairy free alternatives: Replace the goat cheese with 5 ounces vegan cream cheese.

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One Response to “Vegetarian Enchiladas with Goat Cheese”

  1. I must have this. Kevin Bailey, take notes!