Never before have I been excited at the prospect of making a vegetarian version of an enchilada, but the vibrant tangle of peppers lured me in. I had a recipe for inspiration but because I’m just so rubbish at following them I didn’t do exactly what was instructed; I added beans – pre-cooked and mashed with some spices (a slight riff on refried beans), threw in sliced mushrooms and added banana peppers for some heat. The recipe also called for homemade tortillas (which I had grand plans of making but never did), but you’d be glad to know that store-bought ones work just as well. For a non-vegetarian version, use minced beef or lamb.
I absolutely love banana peppers and tend to grab them by the handful when I find some at the store. If you don’t have any, substitute with jalapeños or green chillies. I prefer a red sauce to white (here, and in general) not just because it’s more visually appealing, but I feel it has more tang and flavour than a cheese-based one. And for this reason, I’m afraid to admit, I am not the biggest fan of mac and cheese. In fact, there’s very little that I actually like about it. There, I said it. It’s out.
If you have your sauce made and the beans cooked, assembling and cooking the dish comes together in a snap! I call dibs on the crispy bits.
- 5 tomatoes, blanched and skins peeled off (or) 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 2 tsp tomato purée
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 3/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp oil
- Freshly grated black pepper
- Salt, to taste
- 1/2 cup kidney beans, cooked
- 1/2 tsp corainder powder
- 1/4 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- Salt, to taste
- 2 peppers, de-seeded and julienned (I used red and yellow, but you could use any colour)
- 200 grams mushrooms, quartered
- 1 large onion, julienned
- 2 small banana peppers, de-seeded and julienned
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1/4 cup grated cheddar
- 4 or 5 flour tortillas
- Salt, to taste
- Coriander leaves, to garnish
- Sour cream, to serve
For the tomato sauce:
For the beans:
- Blend the tomatoes and set aside.
- Sauté onions and garlic in oil until translucent. Add the blended tomatoes, tomato puree, ground cinnamon, sugar, oregano, chilli flakes, pepper and salt and simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Place the beans in a pan over medium heat and add cumin powder, coriander powder, chilli powder and salt. Using a potato masher, press the beans down firmly until they are squished but not completely mashed. Set aside.
- Add oil to a pan and sauté the onions, peppers and banana peppers until soft but still hold their shape. Tip in the mushrooms.
- Season with cumin powder, coriander powder and salt. Sauté for a further 2 minutes and remove from heat.
- To assemble: Pour half the tomato sauce at the bottom of your baking dish. Add 2 teaspoons of beans down the middle of the tortilla and top with the vegetables (about ½ cup for each tortilla). Snugly wrap the tortilla and place it seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas.
- Pour the remaining tomato sauce evenly over the top, leaving the edges of the enchiladas bare. Sprinkle over the cheese and bake in a 180 C (360 F) preheated oven for 20-30 minutes until the cheese is sufficiently melted and the sauce is bubbly. Sprinkle over the coriander leaves and serve immediately.
Loosely adapted from Essential Mexican Cookery
Love banana peppers. They taste great with pasta too! Definitely trying this very soon.
They provide a different dimension of flavour here that you just can’t get with using only green chillies. I hope you like this, Kalyani!