Saturday, November 24, 2012

Butternut Squash-Tomatillo (and Garlic!) Enchiladas

Here is a new recipe I tried last week (before Thanksgiving). Since it is now getting dark so early in the afternoon, we quit our outside work much earlier than during the summer, which means 1) we have more time to cook at the end of the day and 2) we are not (usually) too tired to do so.

I love experimenting with what we have available to cook, buying as few ingredients as possible, and even adding ingredients (in this case, much more garlic than the original recipe called for plus some black beans for more plant-based protein). I did need to purchase some tortillas, but not much else was needed in the grocery cart. This recipe may seem like it is time-consuming but it easily made 4 meals for us (8 servings), so we ate 2 and froze 2 for future 'fast-food' when we are tired, or even 'lazy'. :)

Ingredients (inspired by a recipe at

1# tomatillos (I used some of frozen tomatillos from our garden)
2-1/2 cups chicken broth (I used low-sodium broth left over from some other dish and then added water)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (from our garden plus I added 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley)
1 whole jalapeno pepper (carefully remove seeds - I used a frozen pepper from our garden)
1/2 cup chopped green onions or green garlic (I used our frozen chopped green garlic)
1 Tbsp. sugar (I used our own honey)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour (I used white whole wheat)
1 medium butternut squash (about 2#) - I just used a typical size squash without weighing it
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, peel, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 tsp. toasted cumin seeds
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
1-15 ounce can black beans, drain, rinse
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used organic sharp cheddar)
8-8 inch tortillas

To prepare the sauce:
Peel the outer skins off the tomatillos and blanch in boiling water 4-5 minutes.
Place tomatillos in food processor or blender with stock, herbs, green garlic and jalapeno pepper
Transfer to a saute pan and simmer over medium heat
Stir in honey and pepper
In a small saucepan, heat the butter, whisk in flour to make a roux
Add roux to sauce, salt to taste, set aside.

To prepare the squash filling:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut squash in half lengthwise to clean out the seeds (save them).
Place squash on a baking tray (on parchment paper) and roast until soft, 40-50 minutes.
Let cool until you can scoop out the meat and then mash until lumpy, not completely smooth.
Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add garlic, cumin seeds, and onions and saute 2-3 minutes (do not all the garlic to become crispy)
Add squash and black beans and set aside.

To assemble:
Quickly dip the tortillas in the tortilla sauce to soften them. Place on a plate.
Divide up the filling into 8 equal portions right in the saute pan.
Add one portion of filling to each tortilla, spread evenly from end to end, roll it up, and place in a baking dish until full (8 fits perfectly into a 9x13 size pan)
Top all enchiladas with tomatillo sauce
Top sauce with a little bit of shredded cheese
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until hot and bubbly in the middle.

Serve with a fresh salad and other vegetable plus some guacamole. Beautiful and delicious!

Here are my photos:

Tomatillos - 8 ounces (still frozen, husks removed before freezing whole)

Tomatillos - 1# boiling for 4-5 minutes

Fresh cilantro, 1 jalapeno pepper (next time I would add 2), and frozen chopped green garlic

Fresh parsley added to sauce

Sauce chopped in food processor (a blender might have made it more of a puree, but I like the chunkiness of this sauce)

Butternut squash roasting (next time I would cut it into 2 halves and roast it flesh-side down in a bit of water like the directions stated - this way dried it out a bit too much)

The sauce on the left, a tortilla ready to be filled in the middle, and a small view of the filling on the right

The 8 tortillas rolled up in the baking pan

The 8 tortillas with sauce and cheese on top ready to bake

The enchiladas baked and ready to eat!

A close up view of the enchiladas - these are very filling with one enchilada easily enough for 1 person at a meal (thus this recipe made 8 servings)

Last but not least, the squash peelings which were saved as special treats for our dog Phoebe who loves most vegetables! Pie pumpkins from our farmer friends Jill and Nate Lada of Green Things Farm in Ann Arbor, MI are in the upper left corner ready to bake in the oven to make pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving. My husband forgot to save the pumpkin peelings for our dog - we found her eating them after retrieving these peels from the compost pile! We have a resourceful dog. :)

A perfect winter night meal - I am sure we will make this again, even for company. It was that good!

Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row,

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

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