Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Stacked Enchiladas Negras

The cooking instructor, Phillis Carey, explained that when she was a young child, her parents took a trip to Mexico, while she and her siblings stayed home. Upon their return, her mother worked on this recipe to recreate this dish until she was happy with the results. So, what is it, you ask? It's a casserole containing a sauce, a filling of fresh mushrooms, chiles and onions, corn tortillas, drizzled with some Mexican crema, then topped with a delish relish of thinly sliced red onions that add a wonderful piquant flavor and a crunch as you eat it. In a way they're just vegetarian enchiladas, but they're not made in a traditional (rolled) method, but in layers, then baked. One of the unusual things about this is the sauce - it's a can of black beans, drained and rinsed, blended with a can of enchilada sauce and jarred salsa. What could be easier than that? Blending it gives it a thicker consistency, and it melds well with the filling.

Phills Carey explained that if you didn't like mushrooms, you can use a different filling. She suggested corn and zucchini. What came to mind for me is calabacitas, the flavorful side vegetable served in New Mexico (corn, zucchini, onion, Poblano chiles). I have worked on that recipe during the last year (it's a favorite of mine) and I'll post it one of these days. But you can create your own filling. For our dinner we made the other night, Cherrie made these, and I made the carnitas tacos.

Stacked Enchiladas Negras

2 pounds mushrooms -- sliced, button
8 ounces Poblano pepper -- diced
1 cup onion -- chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds -- or ground cumin
1 1/2 cups chicken broth -- divided use
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups Mexican crema -- divided use
15 ounces canned black beans -- rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups salsa -- bottled, Picante
10 ounces red enchilada sauce -- mild
12 whole corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese -- grated

1 whole red onion -- thinly sliced
3/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar

1. In a Dutch oven or large saucepan combine the mushrooms, chiles, onion, cumin seeds and 1/2 cup broth. Bring to a simmer and then cover and simmer until vegetables are juicy and limp, about 12 minutes. Uncover, increase heat and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are DRY and just beginning to brown, about 20 seconds.

2. In a measuring cup whisk together the remaining broth and cornstarch. Whisk in 1/2 cup crema and add to mushrooms. Cook until mixture boils and thickens, about 2 minutes. Combine black beans, salsa and enchilada sauce in a blender and puree.

3. Preheat oven to 350°. Pour 1 1/2 cups bean/enchilada sauce into a greased 9x13 baking dish. Stack 6 tortillas and cut in half. Arrange 6 halves in the casserole, straight edges against the edges, then overlap 3 whole tortillas to completely cover the sauce. Spread mushroom mmixture over tortillas to cover. Repeat with tortillas and pour remaining black bean enchilada sauce over all to cover completely.

4. Bake until bubbling, 35-40 minutes. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top and bake about 10 minutes until the cheese is melted. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before cutting or scooping. Serve topped with a few vinegary red onions on top and drizzle additional Mexican crema over the top.

5. VINEGARY RED ONIONS: Thinly slice onion and place in a medium skillet. Add vinegar and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand until cool, stirring often. Add salt to taste. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate up to 3 days. Serve with a slotted spoon. (Added note: if you have leftovers, these onions are GREAT added into a sandwich, like tuna salad, chicken salad, or even sliced turkey. Because they're crunchy, it's a wonderful addition.)

NOTES : Great dish for a buffet. Would work well for a brunch too. Do not substitute the Mexican crema - it's important that you buy the agria kind, which means sour. Also, do not use Mexican table cream either as it lacks the stringy consistency of the agria variety. Regular sour cream will break down in this dish, whereas the Mexican variety will not.
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Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 308 Calories; 9g Fat (26.4% calories from fat); 15g Protein; 44g Carbohydrate; 8g Dietary Fiber; 34mg Cholesterol; 896mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 2 1/2 Vegetable; 1 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.
If you click on the title above, you can print the recipe only in pdf format.

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