Many years back I moved to the US from India via the UK. The first restaurant I ever went to in the US was a Tex-Mex place called Chuy’s and it was love at first bite. The heat and tang of Tex-Mex is the perfect combination for foodies who love a little bite in their food. If you haven’t already been to Chuy’s, please do yourself a favor next time you are in Texas and indulge your palate. Over the years, having been to many other Tex-Mex establishments, my love for Chuy’s has continued to grow along with a desire to learn to cook this wonderful cuisine of my adopted homeland.
So when I came across a Market Enchilada recipe by Stephen Pyles, my curiosity was piqued. Not only did it look great but it also used a lot of fresh vegetables and seemed to be a tasty, healthy alternative to the standard Tex-Mex fare. I made this recipe for many years but wanted to change the flavor profile a little as well as simplify it for everyday cooking. So like most recipes, I played around with it. It didn’t take long to settle on the recipe below. It has my picky daughter’s stamp of approval on it, so I can say with some confidence that it is a kid-friendly recipe. If you want your kids to eat more veggies, you may want to give it a try.
INGREDIENTS (for 8-9 enchiladas)
1 small sweet potato – peeled and diced into bite-sized pieces
1 Tbsp cooking oil (canola or grapeseed or something else with a high smoke point – we will need to heat the oil on high heat)
1/2 red onion – chopped fine
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 red bell pepper – diced into bite-sized pieces
1 green bell pepper – diced into bite-sized pieces
1 yellow squash
NOTE: You can pretty much use all kinds of squash and peppers in this recipe. Your imagination is your only limitation.
1 tsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp Ancho Chile paste (see note below on how to make this)
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese mix
1 can enchilada sauce of your choice (I know this is a copout since I am not making it from scratch but it makes life much simpler)
1. Bring water to a boil in a stockpot.
2. Add the sweet potato and cook for 5-6 minutes till cooked but not mushy.
3. Drain the water and set the potatoes aside.
4. Heat the cooking oil in a skillet. You will want to use a cooking oil that has a high smoke point because essentially you are stir frying on high heat.
5. Saute onion and garlic till the onions turn translucent.
6. Add the bell peppers, squash and cooked sweet potatoes.
7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
8. Add cumin powder.
9. Cook on high heat till veggies are starting to char.
10. Add Ancho chile paste.
11. Take off the heat and mix with 1 cup of shredded cheese.
12. Sprinkle some water on the corn enchiladas and nuke them for about 45 seconds to soften them.
13. Scoop a generous amount of the mixture in a tortilla and fold the sides down to make an enchilada.
14. Start lining the enchiladas up in a greased baking pan.
15. Generously top with the enchilada sauce.
16. Sprinkle some shredded cheese down the middle.
17. Bake in an oven at 400F till the cheese is bubbling. If you like, you can finish off by broiling the enchiladas very briefly (till the cheese barely starts to brown).
18. Take the baking pan out, let the enchiladas settle for 5 minutes and serve.
ANCHO CHILE PASTE
Ancho chiles are dried Poblano chiles and originate in Mexico. They are usually not too hot but add a very nice flavor to the dish. You can find them in most Mexican grocery stores. I have even seen them in regular grocery stores here in Texas, where I live. This is what they look like.
To make an Ancho chile paste, here is what you do.
1. Take a chile and roast it in the oven or toaster oven. You may want to be careful as it starts smoking very fast.
2. Crack open the chile and deseed it and discard the stalk.
3. Soak in water to cover the chile for 30 minutes or more. It is essentially dehydrated at this point.
4. Grind the water and soaked chile to a paste.