Domesticity Nouveau

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Warm up that belly!

My fridge and freezer are strange places. They have little bits of this and that since I save almost any little bit of this or that because I know I can use it later. This comes in handy for some interesting creations at times. Yesterday that creation happened to be Sweet Potato Enchiladas. There is something very pleasing and comfy about sweet and spicy food; perfect for a stormy evening.

I was inspired by a recipe I found at All Recipes, but didn’t have exactly the ingredients listed, but that has yet to stop me! Below is my rendition of the recipe. Keep in mind that I make almost everything for our home from scratch, probably the reason my fridge and freezer are strange places. In this recipe my homemade ingredients were yogurt, black bean burgers and enchilada sauce. My most recent batch of enchilada sauce (recipe below) was incredibly spicy, so I used yogurt to temper the spice and stretch the sauce a bit, you may not need to do this with store bought enchilada sauce. If you don’t have black bean burgers, I imagine a can of black beans rinsed and drained would work just as well. If you don’t have Chipotles en adobo, trying sautéing some chopped red pepper with the onions, or leave out the peppers. You can adjust everything to your liking. If you don’t like heavily seasoned foods, use less spice or use more if you do like a heavy spice. I you don’t like black beans, leave ‘em out or use something different, maybe some frozen corn or left over rice. If you don’t have yogurt, try sour cream or leave it out. You get the idea! My one word of caution is you can always add, you just can’t take out… go be creative!

Doyle Sweet Potato Enchiladas

(yep, that would mean Irish Mexican food)

2 large sweet potatoes in large chunks, w/ or w/out skins
1 small yellow onion chopped
3 black bean burgers
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt, divided
2 Tbsp diced Chipotles en adobo peppers with sauce
2 tsp Chili Powder*
2 tsp Cumin
2 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 pinch of cayenne
Salt & Pepper to taste
16 oz spicy enchilada sauce
Corn Tortillas, probably about 12
Oil for frying tortillas**
Cheese such as cheddar or jack for topping
Sliced olives for topping

Boil sweet potatoes till soft. While potatoes are boiling, cook black bean burgers until just done and sauté onion in a tiny bit of oil until soft and starting caramelize. Break up the burgers and add with onions to the sweet potatoes and mash with 1/2 cup of the yogurt. Add your seasonings and adjust to taste.

Preheat oven to 350F. Fry tortillas, one at a time, pausing between each to generously fill with sweet potato filling and roll into an enchilada, place in an 9”x13” baking dish (have a smaller baking dish ready in case you need it for extras). Mix enchilada sauce and remaining yogurt together to your liking, or don’t mix in yogurt at all, up to you. Pour the sauce over the enchiladas, top with cheese and olives. Bake for 30 minutes, until gooey and bubbly and you can’t wait to dive in. I recommend serving with slices of lightly salted avocado.

*I use straight chili powder, not the commercial blends that are labeled as chili powder. You might need to adjust your seasonings with slightly less cumin since that is a common ingredient in commercial blends. We like a strong spice, so perhaps start with half or less of all the spices to get it to your liking.

**Frying the tortillas till soft & easy to roll is a traditional method. An alternative method is to warm the individual tortillas for a few seconds in the microwave till soft enough to roll. It isn’t nearly as delicious, and I won’t use a microwave, but you’re eating it, not me…

Corn tortillas are a very budget friendly tool come dinner time. Try making enchiladas with scrambled eggs and hash browns O’Brien (more Irish Mexican), fill with left over chicken or ground beef, mash up some black beans, left over rice and corn… you get the idea… wrap some stuff in a corn tortilla and pour sauce over it! It may not always be a “traditional” Mexican enchilada, but that won’t stop it from tasting delicious!

Enchilada sauce isn’t as budget friendly, at around $2-$4 for a small can. My enchilada sauce is somewhat different from what you can find in a can at the market or on your plate at a restaurant, but for about the cost of one can, you can have about 12 pints! About a year ago I spent several days reading all the enchilada sauce recipes I could find and came up with the one below. I make a huge batch and freeze it so I always have it handy for quick dinners. It is still a work in progress, but this is where I am so far. Someday I will perfect it… I will… I Must… I will MASTER enchilada sauce!!!! Bwahahaha (evil laugh for effect)

Enchilada Sauce

12-16 ounces dried chili peppers*
1 head roasted garlic
2 yellow onions, chopped & sautéed until soft and golden
1/4 cup dried oregano
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cocoa powder
2 Tbsp to 1/4 cup brown sugar

To roast garlic: Heat oven to 250 degrees. Separate cloves from the main garlic bulb, but leave paper on. Cut off the root end of the cloves. Place cloves on a piece of foil, drizzle lightly with olive oil, and mix to coat. Close up foil to make a packet and place in the oven for about an hour, or until the cloves are soft and lightly browned. You can also simply cut the top portion of the head off, keeping all the cloves intact, but this can take longer to roast and I often get the papers in my concoctions when I go to squeeze out the garlic.

While your garlic is roasting, sit down in front of the tv with a large soup pot, a garbage bowl and your bag of peppers. Remove the stems and seeds from the dried peppers and place in the garbage bowl. Tear the seeded peppers into pieces, put in the large soup pot. Make sure to not touch your face while you do this, as the oils from the peppers will be all over your fingers. I don’t wear gloves, but some people do.

Cover the dried peppers with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for a few hours until the peppers are very soft and falling apart. Keep an eye on the water level to make sure they are always covered and stirring occasionally. Once soft, add oregano and onion, squeeze roasted garlic into the pot, taking care to keep the papery skins out. Take an immersion blender to the pot and whirl away until there are no remnants of anything and you have a smooth sauce. I suppose you could do this with a blender or food processor in batches if you don’t have an immersion blender. Taste, add salt as needed and the cocoa powder and brown sugar if you are using them. Pour into pint jars, leaving an inch of head room and freeze.

*Dried chili peppers can often be found in the produce section or the Mexican food aisle. Different peppers have different flavors and heat levels. I buy mine in the produce section and don’t have a clue which pepper is which, so I just grab a mix. You can look online if you want to get more specific, but I like the surprise factor!

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