Many years ago, after taking cooking classes at the Santa Fe School of Cooking in New Mexico, I decided that layering enchiladas in a pan was a much faster and easier than the tradition individual stuff-and-roll approach. Right?
A recent article in Martha Stewart Living magazine, offered a layered vegetarian enchiladas suizas recipe. I substituted small cubes of butternut squash for the recommended zucchini and came up with my own version.
I love the contrast that the raw garnishes lend to the dish. Crisp shredded Iceberg lettuces pairs with radish slices and halved cherry tomatoes. I added some diced avocado for a touch of creamy buttery pizzazz.
If you want a meaty version, add some cooked chopped chicken or shredded beef along with the veggies.
Poblano chilies can vary greatly in their spicy “heat.” Poblanos are a mild to medium-heat pepper measuring between 1,000 and 2,000 on the Scoville Scale (jalapenos range between 2,000 to 8,000 Scoville Heat Units – the jalapenos at “my” supermarket are pretty mild – indeed, weighing in at the lower range). I take a tiny taste of the poblano before I add it; if it is on the spicier side, I add less (but I have grown into a real spicy-hot sissy with age).
If the red onion is fiery, I put the portion that is used for garnish in some ice water for 20 minutes to bring out the sweetness, then drain and pat dry before using as a garnish.
VEGETARIAN ENCHILADAS SUIZAS
Yield: 4 servings
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large poblano chili, ribs and seeds removed, thinly sliced (about 1 cup), see cook’s notes
1 1/4 cup (1/4-inch thick) red onion slices, divided use (cut onion in half top to bottom before slicing)
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: seasoned salt such as Spike or Lawry’s
1 1/2 cups store-bought green salsa
1 1/2 cups (cut into 3/8-inch dice) peeled butternut squash
7 corn tortillas
6 ounces shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup sour cream or Mexican-style crema
Garnishes: shredded Iceberg lettuce, sliced radishes, diced avocado, halved cherry tomatoes
Cook’s notes: Poblano chilies can vary greatly in their spicy “heat.” Poblanos are a mild to medium-heat pepper measuring between 1,000 and 2,000 on the Scoville Scale (jalapenos range between 2,000 to 8,000 Scoville Heat Units). I take a tiny taste of the poblano before I add it; if it is on the spicier side, I add less (but I have grown into a real spicy-hot sissy with age). If red onion is fiery, I put the portion that is used for garnish in some ice water for 20 minutes to bring out the sweetness, then drain and pat dry before using as a garnish.
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat a 10-inch ovenproof skillet on medium-high heat. Add oil, chili and 1 cup onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add butternut and cook until squash is fork tender and mixture is starting to brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 to 12 minutes (about half way through, you may need to reduce heat to medium low to prevent onions from over-browning – keep an eye on it). Transfer to a plate. If desired, sprinkle on a little seasoned salt.
2. In the same skillet, place 1 cup salsa. One at a time, dip tortillas in salsa and place on a separate plate using tongs or clean fingers, scattering them in different locations on the plate so that they will be easy to grab.
3. Using same skillet (that has some residual salsa), add 4 tortillas in single layer, arranging so that top edge of tortilla comes up the side of the skillet (they may overlap slightly). Add two-thirds of vegetable mixture and top with three more tortillas. Add the remaining vegetable mixture. Top with cheese, sour cream and remaining 1/2 cup salsa.
4. Bake until bubbly and browning in places, 20 to 24 minutes. Garnish with lettuce, avocado, radishes, tomatoes and remaining 1/4 cup onions.