Saturday, September 11, 2010

saturday - cheese enchiladas with jícama and cucumber salad

I decided that, when making the sauce for these cheese enchiladas from, I would use the partial can of chipotle chiles in adobo that has been stashed in my freezer for ages rather than buying the red New Mexican chile powder called for in the recipe. As the sauce was cooking, I seriously regretted that decision as it was much, much spicier than I had anticipated. Luckily, though, once the whole dish was assembled it had just the right amount of heat. The sauce never really thickened up like the recipe stated, but it was flavorful and different than any enchilada sauce I have made previously. Because they're layered enchiladas rather than filled, it's a super easy dish to assemble and comes together quickly.

I served the enchiladas with a jícama and cucumber salad from the same article in Eating Well magazine. Again, I didn't have the New Mexican chile powder and at this point I was too scared of the spice factor to use any more chipotles, so I used regular chili powder and a little ground chipotle powder in the dressing. This was a light, mild salad and a refreshing side dish for the enchiladas.

Cheese Enchiladas

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup minced white onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 chipotle chiles in adobo (canned), minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 cups vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and mashed, or nonfat refried beans
2 tablespoons low-fat plain yogurt
12 6-inch corn tortillas
2 cups shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend, (8 ounces), divided
1/4 cup minced white onion, plus more for garnish
Reduced-fat sour cream (optional)

To prepare sauce: Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup onion; cook, stirring, until it begins to soften, about 1 minute. Stir in garlic and continue cooking until the onion is translucent and soft, about 2 minutes more. Stir in chipotles and chili powder. Add broth, water, oregano, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until thickened and reduced by about one-third, about 20 minutes. (The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.)

To prepare enchiladas: Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 7-by-11-inch (or similar-size 2-quart) baking dish with cooking spray.

Combine beans and yogurt in a small bowl.

Spread about 1/4 cup of the sauce in the baking dish. Arrange 4 tortillas in the dish, overlapping them to cover the bottom. Top with half the bean mixture, using the back of a spoon to spread it thin. Scatter 2/3 cup cheese and 2 tablespoons onion on top of the beans. Top with one-third of the remaining sauce, 4 tortillas, the remaining bean mixture, 2/3 cup cheese, and the remaining 2 tablespoons onion. Spread half of the remaining sauce on top and cover with the remaining 4 tortillas. Top with the remaining sauce and the remaining 2/3 cup cheese.

Bake the enchiladas until hot and bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with additional minced onion and sour cream, if desired.
Makes 8 servings.
Jícama and Cucumber Salad
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons minced onion
1 teaspoon chili powder, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 small jícama, peeled and diced
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Puree vinegar, honey, oil, onion, chili powder, chipotle powder, and salt in a blender until smooth.
Toss jícama and cucumber with the dressing in a large bowl; stir in mint. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Sprinkle the salad with more chili powder before serving, if desired.
Makes 6 servings.


  1. My favorite thing to do with the rest of a can of chipotles w/adobo is to put it all in a little food processor and puree it - it lasts for ages in the fridge in a glass jar and you can add a dab to any mexican dish and make it tastier. Impromptu quesadillas, scrambled eggs, or on a potato, etc - it's a great condiment to keep on hand.

  2. That's a great idea! I've never thought to puree the chipotles. Thanks for the tip!


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