Wednesday, March 11, 2009

kale & "sweet potato" enchiladas

If you've been following the adventures from my kitch, you know by now that I am in love with kale. It's tasty. It's versatile. It's healthy. I've actually been thinking about these enchiladas for a couple of weeks, but other veggies from the CSA have been keeping me busy. Not tonight. The fridge is cleared from last week's produce. This week's Google delivery includes curly kale. I have potatoes on hand (funny story on that momentarily). That settles it - tonight we're eating kale and potato enchiladas!

This recipe is from Veganomicon, one of my favorite cookbooks. Some of the recipes can be a bit intimidating (some call for uncommon ingredients and the recipes can be long, with many steps). But everything I've made out of this book has been absolutely phenomenal and totally worth the effort that it took to find the ingredients and turn them into the meal that ends up on my plate and in my belly.

Ok, ready for the potato story? I had three yellow wax potatoes in the pantry - not quite enough to fulfill the amount required for the enchilada filling. As I was wandering through the produce section of the grocery store and saw the sweet potatoes, it struck me that their inclusion would be a great twist on the recipe. I picked up two of them. Only it turns out that apparently I don't know how to pick a sweet potato from a yam, because as I was checking out, it clearly said yam on the screen after the clerk put the tubers on the scale and entered the code. Hm. Maybe the clerk doesn't know the difference? When I got home and was unpacking my purchases, I noticed that one of the roots had a prominent, purple sticker on it that read clearly 'Yam'. Whoops!

I used them anyway.

My other slight twist on the recipe was the addition of cheese. This brings the otherwise vegan dish squarely into the vegetarian world (I'm also going to top it with sour cream; I'm a rebel, I know!). When I've made this recipe in the past, I've stuck with the vegan version, which is amazing. Tonight I was just in the mood for some cheese!

This recipe is a little more involved than many of my other postings. Given that I typically have a long work day, I usually reserve recipes like this for the weekend, when I can spend some serious time in the kitch, or make it over the course of a couple of days, which is what I did in this instance. I made the sauce and boiled the potatoes & yams one night, and then prepared and baked the enchiladas the following night.

Why make enchilada sauce vs. buy it in a can? The thought may have crossed my mind as well. But if you're like me, once you make enchilada sauce from scratch, you're going to have trouble ever using the pre-made stuff again. Yes, it's that good.

Here's what I did:

Kale & Potato Enchiladas

Enchilada Sauce:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 large roasted green chiles*
3 tsp. chile powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. marjoram
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt

1 lb. waxy potatoes (Yukon gold or red)**
1 bunch kale, washed, trimmed, and chopped
3 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 c. vegetable broth or water
3 Tbsp. lime juice
1/4 c. toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), chopped coarsely, plus additional for garnish
6 oz. monterey cheese, shredded***
1 tsp. salt
8-10 corn tortillas

*I've not perfected the art of roasting peppers and chiles, so used a can of roasted green chiles.
**I used 4 small yellow potatoes and 2 medium yams.
***The original recipe is vegan and does not include cheese, but I thought it made a nice addition.

Prepare the enchilada sauce:
Saute onions in olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, 4 to 7 minutes, until softened. Add remaining sauce ingredients, bring to a simmer, and remove from heat. Once the mixture has cooled enough, taste and add more salt if necessary. Puree with an immersion or regular blender until the mixture is smooth and even. (I used too shallow of a pan and was making a mess with the immersion blender, so the sauce this time remained a little lumpy, but still seemed to work well and tasted great.) Set aside.

Prepare the filling:
Peel and dice potatoes. Boil until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside. Cook garlic in olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until garlic is sizzling and slightly browned. Add kale, sprinkle with a little salt, raise heat to medium, stirring constantly to cover the kale with oil and garlic. Partially cover the pot to steam until the kale has wilted, 4 to 6 minutes.

Remove the lid and mix in the potatoes, vegetable stock, lime juice, pumpkin seeks, and salt. Use the back of a wooden spoon to mash some of the potatoes. Cook another 3 to 4 minutes, until the tock is absorbed. Add more salt or lime juice to taste.

Create an enchilada assembly line:
Here, the original recipe says to heat each tortilla for 30 seconds on a hot griddle to make it pliable. Putting the stack of tortillas in the microwave for 30-45 seconds seems to do the trick and cuts out a step and reduces the number of dirty pans by 1, which is what I did.

Ladle about 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce onto the bottom of a casserole dish and spread it around. Fill a plate with 3/4 cup enchilada sauce. Take a tortilla, dredge it into the enchilada sauce, flip and coat other side.

Place the tortilla in the casserole dish, add potato filling (and cheese, if using) down the middle and roll it up. Continue with the rest of the tortillas, tightly packing the enchiladas next to each other in the casserole dish.

Pour remaining sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Sprinkle with remaining cheese (if using). Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the edges of tortillas poking out of the sauce look just a little browned. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

We topped ours with sour cream and a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds. The yams were a success; I may even try this recipe with entirely yams (or maybe sweet potatoes?) next time.


  1. I loved the addition of yams - goes really well with the kale. The sauce was seriously amazing and totally worth making from scratch. Cole spoils me on cheesy TV nights!

  2. I had been away for a few days and starving due to the lack of any good food in San Diego. This was just the right dish to come home too--one long word sums it up. YUMMMMMMMMM!


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