Thursday, August 8, 2013

Summer Vegetable Enchiladas with Homemade Verde Sauce

Oh hi! Are you still there? I hope so. It's been a while (again). Let me show you some pictures of things that are happening in my kitchen and beg your forgiveness.

{The fridge will go where the washer and dryer used to be with cabinets around it and the counter top will extend where the fridge used to be.}

And by the way, all this happened by my hands. Well, not really MY hands, more like my Dad and Adam's hands. But I did do some light sanding, some protecting of my floors, and some major supervising. Stick to what your good at, right? I also picked out granite and cabinets!!! Yipeee! This involved really putting on my decision making hat and let me tell you that hat doesn't fit my head very well. Luckily, I found granite that spoke to me the minute I saw it. It said, "Hey Michelle. I'm your granite. I'm the one for you. I'm your true love. Leave Adam for me. Oh, you want to keep Adam. Ok, I can work with that." So that part was easy. The hard part with the cabinets was price. I new I wanted white and something close to a shaker style door. I'm really happy with what I picked out and I can't wait till they arrive in August! Then we just have to keep our fingers crossed that Adam and I (with the help of our handyman) have a knack for installing cabinets. Eeek!

{Our Granite! It's so pretty in person!}

{Penny found a new favorite spot while we replaced our pantry door}

So, anyways. Kitchen renovating is stressful. (Unless you are Penny and you just sit inside the pantry all day.) What relieves stress? Enchiladas. Yes, yes they do. While at the grocery store picking up a can of delicious green enchilada sauce so I could quickly whip up a batch of cheesy gooey stress relieving goodness, I happened to do the darnedest thing. I read the back of the can. Duh, duh, DUH. Corn Syrup? No thank you. Corn Starch? I could do without it. MSG? NO thank you. Other things I can't pronounce. I'd rather skip. Next thing I knew I was picking up 1.5  pounds of tomatillos, some Anaheim chilies, cilantro (even though I hate the stuff), and $4.28 later I was well on my way to some homemade green enchilada sauce. 

Let me tell you this stuff is liquid green gold. It is well worth the effort and I have already doubled the recipe (causing my food processor to nearly explode despite breaking it into two blending batches) and have 3 jars of homemade verde sauce chillin' in my freezer for when the kitchen renovation stress hits another high and a  hankering for enchiladas kicks in. Hopefully I still have the oven hooked up when that happens.

Oh! And I find it worth mentioning that Adam has put this on his list of Top 5 favorite things I make!* Look at him! Vegetable enchiladas made it into this Top 5. I'm such a proud wifey. Added bonus - the enchilada sauce is paleo. So even if enchiladas aren't really paleo, at least the sauce is! 

How do you make your own green enchilada sauce? Easy, peasy. It's a little broiling, sauteing and blending. It may seem like a lot of steps, but trust. It IS worth it! My first batch I cooked down after I blended it to allow the flavors to "mingle." But honestly, I think this step can be skipped and that's what I did for my second batch. I'm not opposed to cooking it down to really develop the flavor, but sometimes it's already 9:30 at night and you have to lay cardboard on your kitchen floor to protect it from falling beams that are happening the next day and your bedtime is 10:30 and you have to make sacrifices. So believe me when I say, skipping the step of cooking the sauce down after blending is a sacrifice that does not sacrifice the flavor of this enchilada sauce. Did that make sense? Probably not. Here's the recipe.

Summer Vegetable Enchiladas with Homemade Verde Sauce

Serves 4 

For the Enchiladas:
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 medium zucchini, diced small
3/4 cup corn
1 tablespoon olive oil

10-14 corn tortillas (check ingredients to make sure they are gluten-free if need be)
2 cups shredded colby jack, or mexican blend cheese

For the Green Enchilada Sauce:

3 large Anaheim Chilies
1.5 pounds of tomatillos, husked and washed
1 yellow onion, diced
1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 to 1/2  a bunch of clilantro (leaves and small stems only) (the amount of cilantro is up to you, I hate the stuff so the fact that it even made it in this recipe is pretty amazing) 
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
sprinkle of cayenne if desired
1 1/2 - 2 cups chicken broth or veggie broth

Make the Enchilada Sauce:

Move your oven rack close to the broiler. Turn your oven on broil to high. Husk and wash your tomatillos. Wash your chilies. Dry the tomatillos and chilies and place them in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet.

Broil chilies and tomatillos. Turn often to ensure even browning. You may have to take some of the tomatillos off the tray before the chilies. Broiling can take 10-15 minutes depending on your broiler. I turn my chilies and tomatillos at least 4 times. Place broiled tomatillos in a bowl. Place broiled chilies in a plastic bag and seal.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium pan. Add the diced onion and saute until onions become translucent. This should take about the same time the broiling takes, so I start the two at the same time. Once onions start to become translucent add a heaping tablespoon of minced garlic. Stir. Allow garlic to brown for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Once chilies are cool enough to handle, remove them from the bag and peel away the skins. Pull away the membranes and seeds. This should be very easy to do if your chilies were properly browned all the way around. I like to rinse the seeds off in running water. Set chilies aside.

In a blender, or in two batches in a food processor, add your chilies, tomatillos with roasting juices, onion and garlic mixture, cilantro, salt, pepper, cumin, and cayenne (if desired). Blend well. There should be no large chunks. Add chicken or veggie broth as needed to reach desired consistency. You will most likely need close to 2 cups to reach a sauce like consistency. The first time I made this I used 2 cups of chicken broth and then put the whole thing in a large pot and reduced it by about 1/8 on the stove for 30 minutes. The second time I used about 1 1/2 cups of broth and skipped the second cooking time. I think both batches turned out equally good. So I'm leaving it up to you if you want to cook it down a second time after blending! 

You should have enough enchilada sauce to make a large batch of enchiladas and even then some! You can freeze the extra or save for another smaller round of enchiladas later in the week.* Or use it as salsa for your eggs, quesadillas, chips, whatever - it's so good! 

Prepare Enchiladas::

In a large saute pan, heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add diced onion and bell pepper. Saute until onions start to soften, add cherry tomatoes (cut in half) and diced zucchini. Cook for about 3-4 more minutes until all vegetables begin to soften. Add corn, either fresh, from a can, or thawed if using frozen. Cook for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and set aside.

Pre-heat oven to 350. Spray the bottom of a large baking dish with a little oil, I use coconut oil or olive oil (available in spray cans and Trader Joes). Then pour a layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan. Warm your tortillas up by either placing them in the oven that is heating up or microwaving them for 30 seconds. Warming the tortillas will help make them more flexible so they don't crack and break when you try to roll them. 

Take a tortilla and place a large spoonful or two of the vegetable mixture in the middle of the tortilla. Sprinkle with a little cheese and carefully roll the tortilla up and place the tortilla seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas until your dish is full and you run out of vegetable mixture. You can always start another smaller baking dish if you wish. Most of the time I can fit about 10 in my large baking dish and then I do another 4 in a smaller baking dish.

Spoon or pour a good amount of sauce over the top of the enchiladas. The amount is really up to you and personal preference. I like things a little more on the saucy side, but I also don't put too much where it makes the enchiladas turn into mush. One interesting thing I noticed with homemade enchilada sauce versus canned enchilada sauce is that the canned stuff was making my enchiladas turn into a pile of mush after baking. (Maybe I was using too much?) But with the homemade stuff I can put a bunch of sauce on and the enchiladas hold together still! (Not to mention, that they taste better!)

Sprinkle remaining, or desired amount, of cheese on top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Then enjoy! And listen to your "vegetable-hating" husband gush about how freaking good these things are.

**I recommend making  a double batch and freezing the extra sauce to make quick weeknight enchiladas! 

*Adam's Top 5 (in no particular order):
-Summer Vegetable Enchiladas with Homemade Verde Sauce
-Cauliflower Crust Pizza 
-Michelle's Meatballs 
-Taco Shepherd's Pie (Recipe Coming Soon)
-White Chicken Chili with Sweet Potatoes 

Love, Luck, and Happiness!