need enchilada advice
Any ideas for a vegetarian enchilada? I'm thinking of using zucchini and other squashes as filling, maybe using a dark homemade mole sauce with cashews.
This is for an office potluck but not sure whether it will reheat well. I've made enchiladas before and reheated them in an oven, but I will only have access to a microwave at work. Should I still go ahead and bring enchiladas or think of something else?
I normally do zukes, spinach, corn and carefully chopped shrooms (so they fit in the tortilla when rolled) for my veggie enchiladas. Good idea: drain veggies well after sautee. Microwave is fine, but remember, you want to warm them up, NOT re-cook them. Microwaves have power levels for this reason.
Hominy, not corn is a more traditional filler. I would use winter squash - not summer squash - again more traditional. Butternut diced works really well. I've been making nogada - a walnut crema lately to top chiles stuffed with pork or shrimp - that would go well with your enchilada. Google Chiles en Nogada to find a recipe for the sauce.
Corn, beans, and Cheese, Mushrooms, Huitlacoche might be a little too much for an office potluck. Squash is tasty, but it has alot of water and might make your enchiladas watery/soggy, especially if reheated...Deborah Madison has a couple recipes for veg. enchiladas.
As far as reheating at work- I find that if you pan-fry the enchiladas (as if you were making flautas) to make them crispy, then layer with the sauce, cheese, cream, etc., they will reheat quite well, even in the microwave. Another option would be to pan fry them to make the crispy, gratinee the cheese on top, and add the heated sauce at work?
I moved to New Mexico in 1986, and my best friend (she's Mexican) taught me to make the sauces and dishes traditional to the her culture..before then, I'd never even had so much as a taco; after that I fell in love with the food & culture. She'd make veggie enchiladas and home made roasted poblano sauce (I LOVE THAT SAUCE). She said that sturdier vegetables are best in enchiladas because they stand up to the corn flavor of the tortilla, so she used things like roasted corn, red onions, & winter squashes; rainbow chard, jicama, sweet potatoes, and squash flowers (if you can get them) . Unless you are making mushroom enchiladas, I'd skip adding them to a mixed veggie enchilada because the flavor will get lost in all the other veggies and the sauce.
Also, know that yellow onions, sour cream and yellow cheese is not authentic Mexican; these things are not served in Mexico's restaurants. They were first served in this country to suit American tastes. My friend uses white or red onions and real Mexican cheeses, like Queso Fresco, Queso Blanco, Anejo, Oaxacan, and Manchego and also goat cheese. Mexicans use a yogurt similar to thick Greek style instead of sour cream. Adding it to a food processor along with cilantro and pulse until blended is great on top of the enchiladas. The mole idea sounds wonderful and will be great with the enchiladas.
As far as making them ahead, traditionally, the tortillas are heated in hot lard to make them pliable but because you are making vegetarian, veg or canola oil can be used. Make sure to drain well on paper towels and add sauce to the bottom of the baking dish before you put them in. These can be heated successfully in the microwave as long as all of your elements have been cooked already. Add your toppings after you re-heat.
If you ask Rick Bayless, there are so many regional variations, it's hard to make generalizations. FYI: My mom is Mexican, and her whole family is Mexican and still live in Mexico, in the state of Tamaulipas, and I lived there for about 5 years myself..
1) Mexicans do NOT use a YOGURT, not sour cream. They use different kinds of cream (and please notice I did not say "sour cream"...there's "table cream", which is closer to creme fraiche, or a thickened heavy cream, and some people do prefer a sour version of this (or you wouldnt see "crema agria" in the Mexican stores. Yogurt would definitely NOT give you the right texture OR flavor. A better option would be sour cream thinned with heavy cream if you cannot get Mexican crema.
2) Who suggested using yellow cheese? (By this I assume you mean orange, like cheddar/american) Using a cheese like provolone on top is pretty similar to the melting cheese used on many baked enchiladas and is perfectly fine- especially for an office potluck. Same thing with the onions..... Yellow onions are perfectly fine.
3) Perhaps originally the tortillas were heated in lard to make them pliable, but these days it's more likely to be oil. That being said, if one way of making enchiladas is roll the tortillas up with the filling and pan fry them to make them round crispy tacos- and the place in the baking dish, cover with salsa, crema, and cheese. This is still a method used in mexico (a good way to use up leftover tortillas and flautas!), and is probably the best option for the OP so that her tortillas don't get totally soggy.
To Amy Wong - have you checked out: http://www.rickbayless.com/recipes/ ?
Thanks for all the great advise! I think I'll go with a mixture of squashes since it seems to go well with fall. Yeah, the filling may get too wet, so I think I'll saute the squashes first, let them weep, then drain the filling properly. The chayote suggestion is a great one, love the taste and texture, but I'm not sure I can find it readily in the groceries around me.
Now chiles en nogada is a great dish to bring too. If I had more time I would bring that instead.
I think I'll use a mole sauce. I like the squash filling and mole sauce combo because I had a dish like this in Santa Fe and it was awesome. The dish originally had a chicken filling, but the waiter suggested the squash as a vegetarian substitution and that worked very well. Now 'll just have to try to replicate this at home, which is a tall order.
Thanks for the information on using cream or yogurt. I think I'll save that for a corn or hominy, chiles and bean filling. The suggestion to use potatoes is great as well. I think the walnut cream sauce will go with that.