Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings: Black Bean and Butternut Enchiladas with Spicy Tomatillo Green Enchilada Sauce

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Black Bean and Butternut Enchiladas with Spicy Tomatillo Green Enchilada Sauce

Happy New Years! All of us who spent the last 8 years wondering, "is it 2008 yet?" can start to let out that sigh of tentative relief. Everyone's favorite president only has a few weeks left to try to ruin anything left unbroken and we have someone with a modicum of intelligence and character getting ready to move in to that famed White House. This is not going to be an easy year - or likely few years - we have a lot of struggles to face, but for the first time in awhile, there is a small degree of hope. I am going to get all "John Ikerd" on you guys for a second and caveat that by hope I do not mean that I think things are going to work out and everything will be puppies and daisies - hope is rather the feeling that it could work out, that better decisions can be made, and that a more equitable, sustainable, and meaningful life are possible. I do not think a president can or should give us that, but it helps to have leadership that doesn't encourage all the worst aspects of human nature, a leader that will inspire us to serve, to give, to sacrifice. Those are things we all need. Again, I have no naive hope that Obama will save the planet and bring about world peace - quite the contrary - with all the people he has picked for his cabinet, I imagine More of the Same a la Clinton (which is better than what we've had), but I think we stand a chance with Obama. Under this administration things like "sacrifice", "service", "helping others", "making due", "doing right by the planet" will not be seen as bad words or get you put on some sort of list that keeps you from being able to fly.

Enough of my political tirade. We will see what this year brings; we know it will certainly be a lot different from the last few years. We can only hope that it is more pleasant this time around - even if it does mean sacrifice and doing with less, I think that would be good for most of us.

Whew! After all that, I still have food to post about!

It has been awhile since I have made enchiladas and it was about damn time! I love making my own enchilada sauce as I get to experiment and make things more to our tastes, so this recipe features a homemade sauce as well. Sadly, I had to use canned tomatillos, but I felt better about purchasing the canned than fresh at this time of year. I hope that next year, I will be able to can some homegrown tomatillos! I was able to get quite a few local goodies in this meal though, I have finally been busting into our frozen stash of local goodies from summer and I am so happy to have them.

A few of the ingredients in this meal are not only local, but things that Brett and I grew ourselves. I feel a rush of pride each time I pull out a butternut squash Brett and I grew in our community garden, or a container of salsa/sauce we preserved over summer, or a bag of peppers frozen from our container plants. Homegrown will always be better no matter what, and I think that sense of pride has a lot to do with it.

Well, here she be!

(I wish I was eating a plate of these right now, don't you just want to reach into your computer screen and grab this plate?! I know I do!)

The local booty legend (aka revealing my sources):
no asterisk = grocery store
+ = local produce from The Root Cellar
++ = The Peace Nook (will denote whether product is local or just from the Nook)
* = farmer's market
** = CSA
*** = Container or Community Garden
**** = the non-profit buying club, Blue Planet or Purcell Mountain Farms

Black Bean and Butternut Enchiladas with Spicy Tomatillo Green Enchilada Sauce

Spicy Tomatillo Green Enchilada Sauce
2 cans of tomatillos, drained
3 hot Hungarian wax peppers, stems removed *** (frozen from summer)
3 jalapenos, stems removed *** (frozen from summer)
4 cloves of garlic, peeled +
1 yellow onion, halved +
4 cups water
1 veggie bouillon cube
2 tbsp dried cilantro + (not sure if this is local)
1 tbsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
dash black pepper

Combine tomatillos, peppers, garlic, water, and veggie bouillon in a large pot and simmer for about 35-40 minutes. Allow mixture to cool for a few minutes.

Transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth. Add seasonings to taste.

Return sauce to pot on the stove and simmer on low for about an hour to an hour an a half until mixture has thickened.

Black Bean and Butternut Enchiladas
2 cups black beans, cooked ****
1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced small (about 1 1/2 cup of butternut) ***
2 tbsp safflower oil
dash pepper
dash salt
corn tortillas
Spicy Tomatillo Green Enchilada Sauce

Preheat oven to 350.

Heat safflower oil over medium heat in a large-ish skillet. Add the butternut, salt, and pepper and cook for about 15 minutes.

Add the black beans and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Spread a layer of Tomatillo Green Enchilada Sauce in the bottom of a pan.

Layer filling in warmed corn tortillas. Roll up.

Spread remaining enchilada sauce over the tops of the enchiladas.

Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Oh man. This was one of the best new Mexican meals I have made for awhile and it is quite simple. I loved how the enchilada sauce was spicy but not overly so. Brett said that it was something he would happily feed to others even though we've only made it once. We usually make something quite a few times before we deem it "company appropriate". And for once, I didn't make it so spicy that Brett complained. :-) I have been getting better at toning the spice level down for him - besides, that is what ground cayenne pepper, crushed habanero flakes, and sriracha hot sauce are for right?

I hope everyone has a wonderful day and a wonderful weekend!

'Til next time.


Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

The black beans and squash must complement each other so well in these! And that's cool that you make your own sauce. I usually buy the canned but always intend to make my own next time!

Daphne said...

That looks so delicious. I always buy canned sauce. I've never even contemplated making my own. But maybe I will sometime. My family love the Old El Paso sauce and I'm finding it harder and harder to find around here. I've tried other ones and they are either too thin or too tomatoy. I'm still trying for a baked bean recipe that doesn't come out of a can and my husband will eat. Maybe when I'm done with that (could take forever knowing my husband), maybe enchilada sauce will be my next project.

Courtney said...

Happy New Year!

Those enchiladas look delicious. To make the sauce, do you just blend everything together? I am guessing that is painfully obvious to everyone else, but I have never made my own enchilada sauce before, so I thought I would check!


Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Lisa - They complement each other quite well, just as sweet potatoes and black beans complement.

I felt like I "cheated" a little bit since I used canned tomatillos, but it is really easy to make your own. You should really try it!

Daphne - Thank you!

I used to always buy canned myself, but was never all that fond of it. It "satisficed" but it wasn't anything special. I found out that making your own is actually really easy. And if you make tomatillo green enchilada sauce, you don't have to worry about the too tomatoey part.

Haha about your husband! Not much of a bean fan is he? He wouldn't survive in our house, that is a good portion of what we eat!

Courtney - Thank you, Happy New Year to you too.

I am so sorry! I completely spaced on writing the directions to the sauce, I am such a flake! I have edited the post, you cook the sauce for a little while, blend, and cook again. I am sorry!

miss v said...

that tomatillo sauce look fantasticd. i'm definitely going to whip up a batch!

miss v said...

ps - happy 2009!

Laurel from Simple Spoonful said...

I love squash and black beans together. This sounds absolutely wonderful for cold days...and I'm with you--can't get it too hot for me! :)

I agree with you on the sense of pride with food you grew on your own, as well. We are trying to grow our own food in a container garden on our concrete patio (the only space we have), and sunlight is scarce with the architecture of the yard and the overhang. As a result, everything wound up miniature-sized...but I loved every tiny tomato and strawberry! :) Congrats on enjoying the literal fruits of your labor.

Bianca said...

I do want to reach in my computer and grab that plate. Damn! I wish you'd compile these recipes into a Mexi-Vegan cookbook!

On the Barack, thank god the day is almost here!

Courtney said...

No worries--thanks for the update! It sounds really good and actually pretty doable!


Heather @ SGF said...

We just got home from California but I'm thinking we should have taken a detour to visit you first. Yum!!!!!

livinginalocalzone said...

Like Bianca, I wish I could reach in the computer to grab that dish! Squash and black beans are delicious, especially butternut. And such the good feeling knowing you *grew* food that could nourish you and be so tasty all yourself. Kind of completes the food circle. What else are you planning for the coming year to grow?
I have bookmarked your recipe to go in my rotation :-)

jessy said...

i'm looking forward to some change, too! i've got my fingers crossed! ;)

happy new year, Jennifer!

oh man! your enchiladas look & sound freak'n fantastical! i totally want enchiladas now. think we might have to put these on the menu for next week! yay!

very cool on using some of your own homegrown goodies - and i hear ya on the canned vs. fresh tomatillos for this time of year. gotta agree with your decision, fo 'sho!

hoooooooooooray for 2009!

SusanB said...

Happy New Year. That looks really yummy. I've never made tomatillo sauce from scratch even though I've been meaning to do so.
My hometown has acquired a dramatically Mexican flavor. We gorged on the output of the local Panderia (the baker knew us on sight by the time we left) and bought up lots of bulk goodies at the many Mexican grocery stores. I love that it's like the old days when there were a lot of local grocery shops in every neighborhood -- the downtown has a carnicita (okay not for you), a fruiteria, tacqueleria (my spelling is suspect), etc. Out here in NJ there are ethnic hispanic groceries but they tend to have an aisle of Mexican groceries, half an aisle of Peruvian, etc. These were straight up Mexican). Anyway,now i have lots of interesting dried peppers, and curious beans, and other odds and ends.

Laura said...

i want those! we are so blessed in columbia to have such a wide variety of produce and other foods available to us locally! yay missouri! :)

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Miss V - Thank you, I hope you enjoy it if you make it. Happy 2009 to you as well.

Laurel - I do too - I think black beans are just so versatile! Haha, you'd be right at home in our spicy kitchen, Brett's only consistent complaint with my cooking is that it is too spicy. :-)

I can feel you on the limited growing space. We live in an apartment (southern facing), we use the porch for a large container garden of peppers (and herbs this year!), and we tend to a community garden plot (hopefully two this year). We are very fortuntate to have a community garden network in Columbia, and ours is a 5 minute walk from our apartment, that is hard to beat.

You might try crops that don't require as much light, we never had very much luck growing tomatoes in containers on our porch either. We are on the second floor so the neighbor above's porch hangs over ours, but we get enough light for peppers to thrive, and I imagine the herbs and greens will be fine just fine.

Bianca - Haha, thank you Bianca that is very kind of you. Perhaps one day I will - I think I just might be lazy. :-)

We are getting close aren't we?!

Courtney - No problem, yeah, it wasn't too bad.

Heather - Glad you made it home safely. Should you ever find yourself in Mid-Missouri and don't mind cats and a cramped apartment... ;-)

Living in a Local Zone - Haha, I am wishing that now myself! I love butternut and how it stands in so well for sweet potatoes, but also shines in its own right.

I remember watching most of these grow and tending to them, it is a really nice feeling. I hope you like this if you try it.

Oh man, we are planning a lot, rather than fill up the comment section here, I'll do a post about it when we are "finalized" on what we want to grow. We are really excited about the new gardening season.

Jessy - Let's just hope it is good change, right? :-)

Happy New Year back at you Jessy.

They were really good and just spicy enough. If you are really on it, you can double the batch of sauce and freeze some for later use. I'll do that next time, this was super yummy.

It wasn't an easy decision to make. I am no fan of buying industrially canned products, there are questionable things lurking, but you have to weigh the pros and cons in a situation and it seemed most reasonable for us to go that way.

Hooray is right, here's to a good year!

Susan B - Happy New Year! Thank you. You really should, its not difficult and it is far better than anything you can buy premade.

That is really cool! For some reason, Illinois has a really good "Mexican scene" and I enjoy the food everytime we go. You can get decent Mexican in Missouri, but it isn't quite as good.

I am drooling and wishing I was in your hometown right about now! I would love to see all the beans and peppers and could probably spend a months salary for spicy exciting ingredients.

Laura - Haha! We are very lucky to have access to the wide variety of things we do. Wahoo for Missouri is right. All we need is Missouri grown brown rice and we'd be doing quite well indeed!

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