Tag Archives: queso fresco

Harvest Enchilada Stacks

One of my very favorite friends is a vegetarian.  She also happens to be one of my favorite guinea pigs when it comes to trying new recipes, especially of the vegetarian variety.  Whenever she is coming over, I try to flex my flabby vegetarian muscle and do something creative that she doesn’t eat all the time.  To take the challenge up a notch, her husband is watching the carbs lately, so easy solutions like pasta are out the window.  Fine by me.  On this occasion, it gave me a chance to try out some enchiladas I had been dreaming up.  You could of course use whatever veggies or meat you like in these, but I did like this combo, especially the mushrooms!

I make verde sauce quite often, so I wanted to try something different and do a red sauce from scratch instead.  The dried peppers added a nice earthy/smoky tone that really went nicely with the fall/winter veggies.  I actually made a bigger batch of the pepper base so I’ll have it on hand for a couple more enchilada dinners later in the month.  Mmm, can’t wait!

Harvest Enchilada Stacks

Harvest Enchilada Stacks

Harvest Enchilada Stacks

Sauce:
2 dried pasilla peppers
2 cups boiling water
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. salt
2-3 cans tomatoes, crushed or blended up

Other ingredients:
3-4 portobello caps, sliced
1 delicata squash, seeded and diced (peel if you want – I didn’t)
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup corn kernels
2 cups baby spinach, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 cup crumbled Queso fresco
Corn tortillas
2 green onions, thinly sliced

To make sauce:  heat oven to 400˚.  Toast dried peppers 3-4 minutes in oven.  Put in a bowl and pour 2 cups boiling water over them.  Let them sit and soften for 10 minutes and then pureé in a blender.  Set aside.  If you haven’t blended up your tomatoes do that, then set those aside as well.

In a medium saucepan, saute onion for 2-3 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another minute.  Add crushed/blended tomatoes and seasonings to pan. Add pepper mixture (if you don’t want as strong a pepper flavor, you may want to add this gradually, tasting as you go).  Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and let simmer for 20-30 minutes until reduced and slightly thickened.  Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.  If pepper taste is too strong, you can add another can of tomatoes if you wish to mellow it out.

In a large skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat.  Add portobellos, squash and onion.  Cook, stirring often, 4-5 minutes until veggies are tender.  Add garlic, spinach and corn kernels.  Cook another 1-2 minutes, until heated through and spinach is wilted.  Add seasonings and brown sugar.  Cook and stir an additional minute.

Yummy veggies

Yummy veggies

Turn oven down to 375˚.  On a large baking pan or casserole dish, ladle out enough sauce to cover the bottom of the pan.

Just getting started.

Just getting started.

Build your stacks on top of the sauce, starting with a corn tortilla, then a scoop of veggies, then a sprinkle of cheese (if desired).

Working on the 2nd layer.  Are you hungry yet?

Working on the 2nd layer. Are you hungry yet?

Continue with another layer just like the first.  End with tortillas.  Ladle sauce over the top of the stacks until well coated (you might not use all of your sauce, freeze leftovers for another day).

Don't skimp on the sauce!  If you have leftover sauce, you can freeze it for later or serve it alongside.

Don’t skimp on the sauce! If you have leftover sauce, you can freeze it for later or serve it alongside.

Crumble remaining cheese all over the top and sprinkle with green onion.

Beautiful!  All ready for the oven.

Beautiful! All ready for the oven.

Bake at 375˚ for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted and starting to brown.  Serve hot.  Makes 5-6 enchilada stacks.

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Shredded Pork Enchilada Casserole

Casseroles are and probably have always been the best dumping ground for leftovers.  Way back in caveman days I can only imagine the cave-wife saying “what the heck am I going to do with all this leftover mammoth?” And then she thought, “I’ll mix it with these weeds and seeds, stick it in a bowl, cook it in the fire and call it good.”

I finally used the last of my giant pork roast and this was arguably my favorite recipe of them all.  I’m not a huge casserole lover, but occasionally it’s just the most satisfying and comforting thing.  This one tastes like enchiladas, without all the work of actually making enchiladas.  The sauce is a very quick blender affair, and the casserole comes together in a jiffy.  Nice weekday meal that will seem like you slaved over it (even if you didn’t).

Queso fresco is a Mexican style white cheese similar to mozzarella.  It’s very mild and delicious and melts beautifully!  Rather than shredding it you can just crumble it apart in your fingers.  Great on anything from tacos to salads.

Shredded Pork Enchilada Casserole

Shredded Pork Enchilada Casserole

Shredded Pork Enchilada Casserole

2-3 cups shredded pork (click here for my basic pork roast recipe)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 package corn tortillas
1 cup queso fresco, crumbled
1/2 cup cheddar, shredded
1/2 cup tomato, chopped

Verde Sauce:
12 oz. tomatillos (7-8 large)
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 jalapenos, stemmed and seeded
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
1/3 cup chopped roasted green chiles (or one 4 oz. can)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 garlic cloves, chopped

Preheat oven to 375˚.  Remove husks and stems from tomatillos and put in a small saucepan.  Cover with water; boil for 10 minutes or until tender.  Drain and transfer to a blender with the rest of the sauce ingredients.  Blend until smooth.

Homemade verde sauce.  So quick and easy!

Homemade verde sauce. So quick and easy!

Mix pork with sour cream, cumin and chili powder.  Add salt & pepper to taste if needed.

In the bottom of your casserole dish, ladle enough sauce to liberally cover the bottom of the dish.  Lay out tortillas in a single layer and top with pork mixture.

Building your casserole, just repeat from here.

Building your casserole, just repeat from here.

Repeat layers of tortillas and pork until ingredients are used up.  End with tortillas on top.

I like to finish with the tortillas on top and then pour sauce over the whole thing.

I like to finish with the tortillas on top and then pour sauce over the whole thing.

Pour verde sauce over the whole thing (you may not use all your sauce – you can serve extra on the side, keep it for something else or freeze it for later).  Sprinkle queso fresco and tomatoes over the top and finish with a sprinkle of cheddar.

All ready to pop in the oven.  So pretty!

All ready to pop in the oven. So pretty!

Bake for 30 minutes or so until heated through and melty.

All cozy in a bowl.  I served this with a black bean and veggie salad on the side.

All cozy in a bowl. I served this with a black bean and veggie salad on the side.

Serve with salad on the side for a satisfying, lip smacking dinner!

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