My boyfriend and I are crazy about enchiladas. The simpler and more basic the better! We have been eating less meat lately, so I decided to have some fun with a vegetarian black bean and cheese pan-o’-goodness with a red sauce rather than the green one I always do. (I love all green sauces. Really I do. I can’t think of a legitimate green sauce that doesn’t put a smile on my face!)
Vegetarian Enchiladas with Homemade Red Sauce and Lime Cumin Sour Cream
For black beans (you can totally just use canned beans if you want):
- 1/2# dried black beans
- 1 ea onion, peeled
- 1 bulb garlic
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 2 Tbs cumin seed
- 1Tbs red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
Soak beans overnight in a container with water to cover by at least 4″. Drain and rinse well.
(If you did not soak them overnight, put them in a pot with water to cover by at least 4″, bring to a boil, and turn off for 20 minutes, then drain, rinse, and proceed with recipe.
Put the beans in a large pot, covered with water by 3-4″. Bring up to a boil, turn down to a very gentle simmer, skim the foam from the top if there is any. Add the cumin, chili flakes, olive oil, onion and garlic to the pot and cook until beans are soft. Season with salt and pepper.
For red sauce (absolutely use canned sauce if you prefer!)
- 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, drained and seeded
- 2 large onions, roughly chopped
- 20 dried arbol chilies
- 8 dried ancho chiles
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3 heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled
- 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
- 4 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
- 1 cup vegetable stock (chicken or turkey stock are perfect here)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Remove stems from chilies, shake out seeds
In a very hot pan, toast chilies until blackened in spots. Remove chilies and quickly toast coriander and cumin in the same pan, being sure not to burn spices.
Bring 2 cups water to boil in small saucepan. Remove saucepan from heat, add chilies and soak 30 minutes. Drain chilies, reserving 6 tablespoons soaking liquid.
Heat a sauté pan, add oil and sauté celery, carrots, onions until slightly caramelized. Add garlic, tomato paste, and toasted spices and cook gently for 5 more minutes. Add tomatoes, chilies, reserved soaking liquid, stock, and oregano and simmer gently on low heat for 20 more minutes to combine the flavors. Puree in a blender until smooth, working in batches if necessary. Taste, season with salt and pepper.
(Note: if you aren’t concerned about avoiding meat, the way to make this sauce really mind-blowing it to combine everything, put it in a roasting pan with a whole chicken or turkey, and roast the bird, letting the drippings fall into the sauce. That really makes this sauce unforgettable!)
For vegetarian enchiladas
- 12-18 e 6″ corn tortillas
- 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 1 pkg queso fresco, crumbled
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated (I like how white cheddar looks here)
- 4 cups black beans
- Red sauce
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
- 1 e avocado, small dice
- Sour cream for garnish (or lime cumin sour cream-below)
Preheat oven to 350.
Heat oil in a saute pan until shimmering, lower heat and cook tortillas briefly on each side to soften (alternatively, you can soften the tortillas in a microwave with a damp towel). Allow to cool enough to handle.
Mix black beans and half of the queso fresco, the avocado, and the 1/2 of the cilantro together. Taste, adjust with salt and pepper if necessary.
Pour enough red sauce into the baking dish to cover the bottom.
Take one tortilla, place 2-3 Tbs bean mix near one edge, and roll tortilla. Place in the baking dish against the back to prop it closed. The first one is always the trickiest! Keep going with the rest of the tortillas, pushing them snugly together so they don’t open. If the tortillas were not softened well, this will be very difficult. If they were warmed properly, this should be fairly easy! I like the oil method because it’s reliable and the tortillas really don’t stick together while I’m working.
When the pan is full, generously pour red sauce over the top. Top that with the rest of the crumbled queso fresco and the cheddar cheese.
(Here, you can wrap the dish tightly and freeze it for up to 3 months, or you can put it right in the oven!)
Cover the enchiladas with aluminum foil and put in the oven for 45 min.
Remove cover, increase heat to 450, and cook 10 min or until cheese on the vegetarian enchiladas gets golden and bubbly.
Garnish with sour cream, cilantro, and lime wedges
Lime Cumin Sour Cream
- 2 cups sour cream
- juice of 1 lime (or more, depending on your lime quality)
- 2 Tbs toasted ground cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
Add all ingredients together and combine well. Taste and adjust seasoning. You want to really taste the lime juice and cumin! Remember, you won’t be eating this on its own, you’ll be using it to add these flavors to your dish. If you decide that you want a cream that’s looser and easier to drizzle over the tops of dishes, add a little warm water until you reach your desired consistency.