mmmmm. there’s nothing like walking into your cozy little apartment to find it made even cozier by the smell of cumin, chiles’, ezpazote and onions wafting from your oven. one of the things i had to learn to adapt to when i started dating someone of spanish/mexican descent was the complex spicy and savory dishes found in mexican, specifically tex-mexican cooking. the difference is really in the heat as true mexican food is considerably less heated than its northern counterpart. the home that dan spent most of his childhood in was his grandparents house and as a direct result of this he has a tolerance for hot and spicy food like no one i’ve ever seen before. it’s scary! one year, we found a way for me to eat a jalapeno a day just so i could start to handle milder dishes, like tonight’s enchiladas. my tolerance for hot peppers has greatly increased over the last 8 years and is still nowhere near the hubby’s, but that still doesn’t stop me from making or eating dishes that tiptoe along the lines of scorching!
here’s what i made for dinner tonight, a spicy, yet savory enchilada bake with 4 different kinds of peppers for heat that lingers, but is super pleasant and warms your belly. the soy cheese is totally optional, and honestly, i only added it because i had some to use up. if you purchase some just for this, i recommend the teese brand because it melts much better that some of the others out there. it doesn’t even taste like cheese, but its creamy sweet flavor compliments this quite well, otherwise serve as is or with my favorite, tofutti better than sour cream!
the midwest vayguns quadruple pepper spiked enchiladas
12 corn tortillas (flour will turn to a glue-y mess)
1/2 package tempeh, crumbled (6 oz)
2 medium zucchinis, quartered and diced
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium red onion, sliced into short strips
1 hot pepper of choice, i used a Hungarian black hot, but a serano or jalapeno would be great, seeded if desired and thinly sliced
1 14oz can diced tomatoes, drained and juice reserved
tomato juice + enough veggie stock to equal 4 cups
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 tbs all purpose flour, substitute chickpea for GF
1 tsp espazote
1 tsp cumin
3 tbs chili powder
1/2 tsp arbol chili powder
1- 1 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 cup or more, shredded soy cheese optional
salt and pepper
preheat the oven to 375
heat a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat and add 1-2 tbs of oil. crumble the tempeh into the oil and lightly fry until golden brown. add the onion, garlic and cumin and saute until the onions are soft. add the zucchini, and hot chili, cooking until slightly softened. add the black beans and tomatoes and espazote and mix thoroughly. remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
in a sauce pan add 3 tbs oil and heat over medium. add the flour, whisking to form a roux and cooking until bubbly and barely browned. slowly add in the stock mixture, whisking thoroughly after each addition to prevent lumps. once all of the stock is added, stir in all of the chili powders and bring to a boil, simmering until thickened. get one large lasagna pan, or 2 medium casserole dishes ready by lightly oiling them. grab a large kitchen towel and dampen it, keeping it at the ready.
the next step requires you to work fast, corn tortillas vary in pliability and moisture content and can dry up and crack faster than you can fill them.
open your tortillas and place them inside the damp towel. pour a half cup of sauce onto the bottom of your pan. grab one tortilla and place about 3 tbs or so of filling into the center and fold in the sides. quickly put the enchilada on its side in the sauced pan, and roll away from the seam so it gets coated and placed seam side down at the same time. the first one always looks like crap so don’t worry. pour a little sauce over it to seal the deal, getting the entire surface of the tortilla covered. repeat until you have filled and rolled all 12 tortillas. pour any remaining sauce over the top, cover tightly and bake for 30 minutes. if you use the optional soy cheeze, wait until the last ten minutes to add it, mine melted too much and disappeared into my sauce
p.s. there are some of you out there who like me, used to hate rolling and stuffing the tortillas so you would layer them up lasagna style but this is why i think you should try rolling:
1. the shape is FUN
2. the sauce gets a better browning to it, and the texture is enhanced
3. layering tends to turn mushy, fast
4. its not lasagna;)
p.p.s. this freezes really well if you have an aluminum pan laying about.