Monday, January 9, 2012

The Weekly Vegan: Potato & Kale Enchiladas with Mexican Millet

It's a big night here on the blog. This marks the first weekly vegan post (thanks to my Christmas vegan cookbooks and the shear awesomeness that was A Very Vegan Christmas), and it marks the first time I took over my friend Tovy's kitchen. It seemed like a shame for Tovy's giant kitchen (with the world's greatest lighting) to go to waste, so we used our day off after New Year's to trek over and do our best to help it fulfill its delicious destiny.  I knew the idea of an all vegan meal might be difficult for these Texas folk, so I decided to make it a smooth and easy transition with enchiladas that no one could possibly resist.

Potato & Kale Enchiladas
Adapted from Veganomicon by I. Moskowitz and T. Romero
Servings: 6-8
Time: 60 minutes

1 pound red potatoes, peeled and diced
1 bunch of kale, trimmed and chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 cup vegetable broth
Juice of one lime
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds plus extra for garnish
Salt to taste
Corn tortillas
Chile sauce (recipe follows)
Vegan cheese
Cilantro, chopped

If you become impatient it also works in taco form.
The most important ingredient.
  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Boil the potatoes until tender (about 20 minutes). Drain and set aside. 
  3. Cook the garlic in the olive oil over medium low heat until it begins sizzling and becomes lightly browned.
  4. Add in the kale and some salt. Stir well to cover the kale then up the heat to medium and cook covered for 5 minutes until the kale wilts.
  5. Remove the cover and add the potatoes, vegetable broth, lime juice, pumpkin seeds and salt. Mash the potatoes with a fork and cook until the broth is absorbed. 
  6. Line the bottom of a casserole dish with the chile sauce (see recipe below). 
  7. Heat the corn tortillas over medium heat for about 1 minute per side so they become more workable.
  8. Fill each tortilla with the potato and kale mixture then roll closed. Pack them tightly together and cover with the remaining sauce.
  9. Bake covered tightly with aluminum foil for 20 minutes.
  10. Remove the foil and sprinkle the vegan cheese on top. Cook for an additional 10 minutes
  11. Garnish with pumpkin seeds and cilantro and serve.
Enchiladas? No, I call them Mexican crepes with chi-chi sauce.
Two aspects of these enchiladas made them ridiculously enjoyable for both herbivores and carnivores alike: the magnificent potato and kale filling and the infinitely snackable toasted pumpkin seeds. The filling brought me back to the amazing potato flautas from Señor Fred's, and the kale nicely complemented it while continuing to push spinach in the battle for greeny supremacy. The champion luchador, however, was the pumpkin seeds that helped add a wonderful crunchy texture and some toasty supporting notes. My only minor gripe with this dish was that the cook time suggested by the cook book seemed a little excessive and caused the chile sauce to dry up a little. I would recommend cooking it for 10 minutes covered and then 10 more minutes uncovered with the vegan cheese to remedy this.

Enchilada Chile Sauce
Adapted from Veganomicon
Time: 10 minutes

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 anaheim green chiles, seeded and chopped
1-2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
2-3 tsp ancho chile powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp marjoram
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes with juices
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt

It's a spicy.
  1. Sauté the onion in olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat until they are soft and translucent (about 4 minutes). 
  2. Mix in the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.
  3. Let cool for five minutes then puree in a blender until smooth.
This was a fantastically spicy (for a safer version stick with one jalapeno) salsa that helped prove that being vegan doesn't mean something is lacking in flavor. This tomatoey goodness would be equally wonderful with chips (plus you'll need something to hold you over while the enchiladas cook).

Mexican Millet
Adapted from Veganomicon

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup millet
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp enchilada sauce or 1 jalapeno, chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/3 cup diced tomato + extra for garnish
Cilantro, chopped
Lime juice

  1. Cook the garlic in the oil over medium heat until it sizzles.
  2. Add the onion and sauce and cook until soft.
  3. Stir in the millet and sauté for 5 minutes or until the millet is lightly golden.
  4. Mix in the vegetable broth, tomato paste, salt, cumin and tomato.
  5. Bring to a boil then stir once, reduce the heat to low and cook covered for 25 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
  6. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork then garnish with cilantro, lime juice and tomato.
The millet was a great rice substitute that can help make any meal interesting. This side dish was made by the garnishes of cilantro, lime juice and (most important of all) the juicy diced tomato. To really complete the meal (and add some much needed protein I may have forgotten about), some black beans would've been ideal (plus mixing rice and beans is a vital part of any Mexican meal).
For some reason, Tovy kept insisting on being on my other side.
I definitely made the right call with these enchiladas to kick off my weekly vegan experiment. They were just the auspicious start it needed to ensure continued interest in branching out and trying vegan things from my friends (and will help arm me with great new dishes to unleash on my sister and brother-in-law the next time I'm in L.A.).

Alexis finds waiting for the enchiladas to be difficult after a hard day of sous cheffing. Luckily she has her wine to help ease her pain.
Perhaps, the most important thing of all was that we helped Tovy's kitchen realize its special purpose in life and no longer feel like the lonely island the splendid stove existed on.

After five takes, Kevin finally kept his eyes (semi) open.

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