Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sweet Potato, Black Bean & "Sausage" Enchiladas

vegetarian sweet potato black bean enchiladas

When I was in high school in Pittsburgh, I was introduced to Mexican food by way of a restaurant chain named Chi-chis. After college when I relocated to Los Angeles, I was pleasantly surprised to find out there was a whole new world of authentic Mexican food - with a variety cuisines coming from different regions of the country as well new interpretations from our own domestic southwest region. And that discovery process continues to this day.

This is a new recipe, just shared by my good friend who picked this up from a cooking class. I guess it would be categorized as Southwestern, but with a twist.  Preparing the sweet potatoes in soy sauce and vinegar is unusual, especially for a Mexican dish, and that is what adds a welcome element of surprise. You can purchase ready made enchilada sauce in a pinch, but I hope you will skip the processed route and making your own {recipe below}.

Butternut Squash, Black Bean & "Sausage" Enchiladas

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1/2 c soy sauce
1/4 c rice wine vinegar
1 T olive oil
1 small leek, chopped (white part only)
1/2 medium sweet white onion, peeled and chopped
fresh ground black pepper
1 t dried thyme
Sausage (2 Field Roast links, casings removed and finely chopped or 6.5 oz crumbled vegetarian sausage
1 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 c shredded cheddar cheese (look for vegetarian cheese when possible, cheese made without rennet)
6 large tortilla shells, burrito size
Chunky Mexican Red Sauce {see below}

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare the sweet potatoes
Place sweet potatoes in a pot and add soy sauce and vinegar. Fill with just enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are tender, 20-25 minutes.

Prepare the filling
While potatoes are cooking, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and saute leek and onion until softened, about 2 minutes. Add black pepper and thyme and saute another minute.  Add black beans and sausage, reduce heat to medium low and saute for another 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

When the sweet potatoes are done, drain them, place them in a bowl and smash them with the back of a fork.  A chunky consistency is fine. Fold in the mashed sweet potatoes with the filling and stir over medium low heat for a minute. Remove from heat and set aside.

Prepare the enchiladas
Ladle sauce in 2 - 9"x13" baking dishes, just enough to create a thin layer. Divide the filling among 6 tortilla shells, sprinkle each tortilla with 2 T cheese and fold sides toward center to close.  Gently place the enchiladas in the baking dishes, turning them over so  the seam side is facing down. Top each enchilada with desired amount of sauce and 2 T of cheese per enchilada. Cover with foil and bake until cheese has melted and flavors have further combined, 20-25 minutes.

Chunky Mexican Sauce

This is a great sauce for enchiladas or burritos. Play with the seasoning to create a sauce that satisfies your individual palate.

1 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 T cumin
1 t oregano
1 t cocoa powder
3-4 T chili powder
2 T fresh minced garlic
1 t salt or more to taste
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes, juices reserved

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium -high heat and saute onions and peppers until tender, approximately 5 minutes. Stir in next 6 ingredients and saute for 2 minutes. Add whole tomatoes and reduce heat to medium-low simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until sauce is thick and fragrant, stirring occasionally and breaking tomatoes into pieces with the side of your spoon. Remove from heat and cool. Process the sauce and reserved tomato juices in a food processor for 1 minute. Taste and adjust seasoning.

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Source for sauce: Jill Crusenberry

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