Friday, February 6, 2015

Enchilada Lasagna Verde

I'm not completely satisfied with the title, but this dish, which properly seems a combination of lasagna and enchiladas, savory layers of filled corn tortillas, creamy cashew sauce, and tangy tomatillo sauce deserves a fancy name of some sort. My desire is to mash the names together. Who has ever heard of enchilasna? Or Lasagnadas? I'm accepting submissions.

Anyway, as with so many great things, this dish came together as a sort of accident. I would normally make enchiladas and lasagna (separately, erstwhile) in a 9x13 pyrex pan. Sadly, that pan didn't make it on my recent move. (What's with pyrex, anyway? Is it impossible to clean? Or am I just hopelessly inept at doing so?) My current casserole dish is a lovely, oval-shaped white dish with a lid. I like it a lot, but it does introduce some variables into the construction of traditionally square or rectangular meals. Still, my dish is deeper than the usual 9x13 pans, which also provides some flexibility and room for innovation. And innovate I did!

I did cheat a little bit. I made the tomatillo sauce and the filling from scratch, but I had the cashew cream sauce already. I had accidentally made a double batch of the cheezy-sauce from this Cauliflower Cheese recipe, so I had that (uncooked) in a tupperware. I cooked it in a saucepan for a few minutes, just to activate the cornstarch and thicken up a bit, then added it to the enchiladas as I describe below.

If you are feeling fusiony but directionless, you could do worse than these enchilasnas. Also, if you're like me and abhor canned enchilada sauces, it's difficult to beat a homemade verde sauce.

Enchilada Lasagna Verde Casserole

Verde Sauce

1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatillos, diced
1/2  sweet onion, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced finely
2 cloves garlic
2 cups vegetable broth

Enchilada Filling

1 medium butternut squash, diced
1 can black olives, sliced
2 cans black beans
1/2 onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves
1 T chili powder

To assemble:

12-15 corn tortillas
cashew cream sauce
chopped, fresh cilantro

First, make the verde sauce. In a medium saucepan, saute onions and garlic in a little olive oil for 2-3 minutes. Add the jalapenos and cook for 1 minute. Add diced tomatillos and cook for about 2 minutes or until they start breaking down. Add vegetable broth and simmer for 10-15 minutes. If you are lucky enough to have an immersion blender, this is the time to break that out. If not, dump the the sauce into your blender or food processor and blend until it's still a bit chunky. Transfer the sauce back to the saucepan and taste for salt. Adjust seasonings as desired. (See? So easy! Why would you ever use one of those horrid pre-made sauces?)

While the sauce is cooking, preheat your oven to 375. Spread the squash, onion, and garlic on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and salt lightly, then mix to coat. Roast for approximately 30 minutes, stirring once, or until squash is tender and looks slightly caramelized. One could, of course, do this step on the stove instead, but I like the sweetness that roasting brings out in the squash. If you are anti-roasting, adjust as necessary.

In a large bowl, combine beans and olives. Add squash mixture and stir to combine. Now, assemble your enchilasnas!

Ladle about a  cup of sauce into the bottom of your deep casserole dish. Spread it around to coat the pan evenly. Next, scoop about 1/4 cup of the filling into a tortilla and roll, then arrange, seam down, in the pan. When you have a layer of filled tortillas, cover with half the remaining sauce, then half the cheezy sauce. Repeat with the second layer.

Bake in your 375 degree oven for 40 minutes, then let it stand for 10 minutes before serving.

I don't think the picture does this dish justice, but trust me. Don't let my lack of facility with all things visual undermine the yumminess the of the enchilasna.