Green enchiladas

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So, we got the oven fixed. And by "fixed" I mean that a man came over, looked in the oven with his iphone light, and pronounced it "dirty." He then proceeded to mansplain how an oven works like I don't have A FUCKING COOKING BLOG. And then charged us $119. So far, homeownership is fairly humiliating.

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Anyway, now that we have an oven again, let's talk about enchiladas, shall we? I love them because they're a throw-anything-in-as-filling-and-bake-until-bubbly kind of dish and with cooler weather coming, who doesn't look forward to these dinners again? However, I haven't had many good jarred sauces, so I decided to make my own and now I can never go back. Which makes this dish a bit more complicated and more appropriate for, say, a lazy rainy weekend than a frantic school night.

A couple of notes about this recipe: I used zucchini, turkey, and pinto beans, but feel free to sub any other veggies, beans, and proteins. You will have extra filling, but I felt it was silly to use less than the whole pound of turkey, which is the only amount sold by our farmer's market turkey stand. Eat it with an egg for breakfast and you won't mind having leftovers at all. Do not, however, change the cheese. This recipe hinges on the cheese. If you can't find cojita (though look as hard as you can because its GOOD), you can use a crumbly white cheese like ricotta salata or queso blanco. You'll also have extra sauce. I recommend doubling the sauce recipe because the casserole calls for just a bit more than half of the original recipe. Doubling means you'll have enough for 2 more large casseroles. Freeze it in two parts and you can cut down on the prep time for this dish significantly.

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I adapted the sauce recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe and it's darn near perfect. I added another 1/2 cup of green chilis because I thought the green chili taste could have been slightly stronger. Other than that, this sauce is dynamite.

For the sauce:
Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

2 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups canned, roasted poblano or other green chiles
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent too much browning.

Add the flour and stir until it has coated the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently for 3 more minutes to take away the raw taste of flour.

Add the cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper and cook for one more minute, stirring constantly. Add the green chilis and cook for one minute.

Slowly whisk in the broth and stir to break up any clumps. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes or until the sauce is sufficiently thickened. It should coat the back of a spoon while still being a little runny. If too thick, add more broth. If too thin, continue cooking until the sauce tightens some more.

 

For the filling:
2 Tbsp oil
½ large onion
1 lb ground turkey
2 small or 1 large zucchini, chopped (about 1.5-2 cups)
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
½ tsp mild chili powder
¾ tsp cumin (heaping ½ tsp will do if you don’t want to be that precise)
½ tsp salt

For the casserole:
12-15 Corn tortillas
1.5-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (about 3-4 oz)
1 cup cotija cheese (about 3 oz)
1.5-1.75 cups green enchilada sauce (about half of the recipe, plus a few more Tbsps)

Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease a brownie or casserole dish and set aside.

Lay out a tortilla and scoop 1-2 small spoonfuls onto the middle of one tortilla. Sprinkle with a tbsp of cojita cheese and fold the ends to overlap in the middle. Carefully flip the bundle over and place into your casserole dish with the folded-side down. Repeat until the dish is full, squeezing as many tortillas as you can into the nooks and crannies.

Cover the folded tortillas with a thick layer of green enchilada sauce and spread into the corners. Top with shredded cheddar cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or the cheese starts to look lightly golden and bubbly. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4-6 dinner servings, depending on how hungry you are and your sides.

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Meatless Monday: Spring vegetable baked gnocchi

Whelp, it's been a while since my last post and if I'm being honest, it's because I've been obsessively online shopping for shoes to wear to my college reunion. But it's not as shallow as it sounds! I'm focusing my energies on something I can control because there's a lot right now that I can't. It's easier to compare heel heights and debate the pros and cons of suede in DC humidity than to worry about, say, authoritarianism or long-term career plans or huge and imminent life changes. It's enough to give me an ulcer. Which is also something I worry about.

This casserole has been helpful on busy days and is, as always, a helpful vehicle for vegetables. The leftovers are also great when crisped in the oven. I tend to shy away from baked pasta since it requires an extra step that the original ingredients don't necessarily need to taste great. But smothering things in cheese is always better than NOT smothering things with cheese and since the gnocchi cook so quickly, the overall prep and cooking time isn't overwhelming. Also, the gnocchi have a lot of starch thanks to the potatoes, which thickens the ricotta so that a bechamel or flour-based sauce isn't necessary.

Baked gnocchi

1 package potato gnocchi, cooked al dente
1 large shallot, minced
1 bunch asparagus, woody stems chopped off
1 box baby bella mushrooms, chopped
1 box shitake mushrooms, chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup full fat ricotta
½ cup parmesan
S/P
½- ¾ cup shredded mozzarella

Preheat broiler. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While the water is heating, melt butter in a sauté pan and cook the shallots until opaque. Add the mushrooms and cook until they start to release some water. Add the garlic and asparagus and cook until the water evaporates. If the mushrooms don’t release any water, feel free to add a tbsp or two with the asparagus and cook until it evaporates.

When water is boiling, add the gnocchi and as soon as they start floating to the top, scoop the gnocchi out with a slotted spoon or strainer and put into a large bowl. If only a few gnocchi float at a time, scoop them out in small groups. If the gnocchi aren’t floating or some seem to be cooking at the bottom of the pot for longer than 3-4 minutes, test for doneness and scoop out as long as they no longer taste doughy.

Mix the gnocchi with ricotta, parmesan, sautéed veggies, salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking dish and top with shredded mozzarella. Bake under the broiler until cheese is brown and bubbly, about 10-12 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings