What do you get when you mix chili powder, coriander and cumin with some black beans, green peppers and Monterey Jack cheese? I’ll tell you. Some seriously great tasting enchiladas. Unbelievable.
I’ve always loved enchiladas. First, they’re super filling and I like that. You only need to eat one to become full and this means that if you make a few of them, you’ll have dinner for a while. Second, you can get creative when it comes to the filling. As long as you include beans, onion and pepper, you can continue on with whatever you want. And depending on how you cook the ingredients I just mentioned, you can open up some nice flavor dimensions. Third, Monterey Jack cheese is definitely one of my favorites. It’s mild and has some awesome stretch like Mozzarella.
This is a vegetarian recipe. I took it from my new America’s Test Kitchen cooking bible called The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook. What I’m finding as I flip through the various recipes in this book is that great care was taken during their crafting. Flavor is of the utmost importance with quality of ingredients coming in a strong second. You’d never guess you just enjoyed a vegetarian meal as you sit back while resting your hands on your full belly. This is some “real deal” food.
In this particular recipe, America’s Test Kitchen called for some homemade enchilada sauce. It was rather time consuming and I didn’t think it would go over well with someone who might want to prepare something like this during a weeknight. With that in mind, I substituted about half the recipe with some store bought sauce. I’m sure there is some flavor difference, but that’s made up with the ease of preparation. Otherwise, things in this regard are somewhat similar.
I also substituted poblano chiles with green bell peppers. Since the enchilada sauce I used had a bit of heat to it, I didn’t want to add anything that might be unexpected. The green peppers worked out very well.
Lastly, instead of using 12 6-inch corn tortillas, I went with 8 9-inch wraps. I felt they would fit better in the casserole I used and would offer a more accurate serving size. Even with all these changes, the recipe was a wonderful success.
4 Green Bell Peppers
1 28-Ounce Can of Enchilada Sauce
2 Large Sweet Onions, Chopped
3 Teaspoons Garlic, Minced
1 15.5-Ounce Can of Black Beans, Rinsed
Regular Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
8 Ounces of Monterey Jack Cheese, Shredded
8 9-Inch Wraps
If you’d prefer to make your own enchilada sauce, please let me know in the comment section below. I’d be happy to share a great recipe for that.
Roast & Prepare the Peppers
Turn your oven broiler on low and move the rack to the top position. Then, stem and clean the 4 green bell peppers. Cut into quarters and place them, skin side up, on a large baking sheet. When the oven is warm, place the baking sheet on the top rack in your oven.
Keep an eye on the peppers. When you see them begin to soften (usually around the 15-minute mark), turn the broiler on high and keep an even closer eye on them. They can burn very quickly at this point. When you see the skin begin to lift off the rest of the pepper and begin to char (only 1 or 2 minutes), turn off the oven and remove the baking sheet. They should look like this:
Allow the peppers to cool for a few minutes. When you can touch them without burning your fingers, go ahead and pull the skins off as best you can. Then, cut them into 1/2 inch pieces and place in a bowl. Set aside for later use.
Prepare the Filling
In a large bowl, pour half of the canned beans. Then, mash them thoroughly with a potato masher or a fork.
Next, warm a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and when it’s to temperature, add the onions as well. Cook, while stirring, for about 7 minutes. The onions should soften and brown during this period. After that, add in the garlic, chili powder, coriander and cumin and mix together with the onion.
Finally, add the mashed beans, the remaining whole beans and the roasted pepper to the skillet, mix and cook for 2 more minutes. When finished, remove from heat.
Scrape the contents of the skillet into a large bowl. Then, add in half of the shredded Monterey Jack cheese as well as 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce. Mix well.
Assemble the Enchiladas & Cook
Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Since it’s already warm from earlier, this shouldn’t take long.
In a 13×9 inch baking dish, spread 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce across the bottom. Then, arrange the 8 wraps on a table. Divide the filling evenly among each wrap. Roll each wrap fairly tightly (not so tight as to squeeze the filling out) and place them into the baking dish next to each other, seam-side down.
Next, pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the wraps and then sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly across everything as well.
Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and place it in the oven for 25 minutes. When finished, remove from the oven and remove the foil. Let cool for a few minutes and serve.
The Final Dish
This is a dish that doesn’t look overwhelming at first glance. That’s because a lot of the flavor and interest is on the inside. After cooking, all the cheese should be melted nicely.
It’s only after you cut some of the enchiladas in half while they’re still in the casserole and then remove them to plate that you see the wonder of it all.
Are you interested in a variety of vegetarian enchilada recipes? If so, check out some of these great posts from around the web:
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