Sunday, June 7, 2009

layered sweet potato and black bean enchilada casserole with homemade tortillas and sauce

When I was younger one of my favorite dishes was my mom's enchilada casserole. Her recipe was made with chicken or ground beef and loads of shredded cheese. Although it was tasty, the main ingredients in the old recipe don't fit in with my diet anymore. Using her casserole as inspiration, I've come up with a layered feast of black beans, sweet potatoes and homemade everything. The recipe below includes homemade tortillas and homemade enchilada sauce. If you don't have enough time you can always substitute in store-bought tortillas and sauce, but for the best results, take the time to try making this from scratch (at least once!).

Tortillas from Scratch

2 cups Masa Flour
1 3/4 cup water
pinch of salt

Mix flour and water in a bowl with a fork. Roll into a ball, making sure the dough consistency is even. The dough should hold together, but not be overly moist.

Divide dough into 4-16 balls depending on the size tortillas you want. I recommend 8 balls for the enchilada casserole recipe.

Here's the tricky part. If you have a tortilla press, use it! Lucky you! I on the other hand do not have one (I need to steal my mom's!). Instead, I take two cutting boards, place one ball between them, put it on the floor then stand on it. My weight flattens the ball into a nice, round tortilla. However, even with all my weight I'll never get it as flat as a tortilla press, but the thick tortillas work great in this enchilada casserole. For thinner, more rollable tortillas a press is a must!

When you separate the cutting boards be careful not to pull apart the tortilla. If you end up with half the tortilla on one board and half on the other, it's not that hard to peel them up and press them back together with your fingers. Another help is to put parchment paper, wax paper, or saran wrap on the boards to prevent the tortillas from sticking.

On medium high heat in a dry skillet cook the tortillas for about 1 minute on each side. Remove from heat, stack on a plate, and cover with a towel until ready to use.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchilada Casserole

For Filling:
2 Sweet Potatoes or Yams
1 Onion Diced
3 Cloves Garlic minced
2 tbs Olive Oil
1 can Black Beans drained and rinsed (or 1.5 cup dried black beans, soaked overnight and cooked)
2 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Oregano
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Cilantro diced
1 Avocado sliced
Cheezy Sauce recipe from Veganomicon, Soy Cheeze, or any other favorite cheese substitute (optional)

For Enchilada Red Sauce:
3 Cloves Garlic minced
1 tbs Olive Oil
2 red chilis or 2 tbs Cholula sauce (more if you like it hotter!)
1 1/2 cup Tomato Sauce
1 tbs Cumin
1 tsp Salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Peel sweet potatoes then slice into quarters. Brush with 1/2 tbs olive oil. Place in baking pan and bake 30-40 minutes until soft.

Start the sauce now: In a sauce pan heat 1tbs olive oil over medium heat. Throw in garlic and let cook 1-2 min. Stir in cholula (or chilis), tomato sauce, cumin, and salt. Lower heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes have passed, set at low until ready to use.

In a skillet, heat 1 tbs oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook about five minutes until starting to brown. Add garlic and cook a minute more. Add black beans, cumin, oregano, and salt and lower heat to medium. Cook ten-fifteen minutes, stirring regularly. Using your spatula or spoon, break the black beans apart.

When sweet potatoes are finished baking, remove from oven and place in food processor with 1/2 tbs oil. Puree until a smooth mash develops.

Lower oven heat to 350 degrees.

In a medium sized casserole dish set down a bottom layer of tortillas. Pour black bean mix on top, spread a third of the enchilada sauce and some cheeze(if using) across black beans. Add second layer of tortillas. Spread the sweet potato mash on top with more sauce and cheeze then add top layer of tortillas. Spread the remaining third of the sauce and some more cheeze.

Bake for 17-20 minutes.

Remove from oven, sprinkle cilantro and sliced avocado across the top.

Serve and enjoy!

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