Mexican meals made easy (yet messy)

August 13. 2014 10:18AM
By Sara Pokorny Weekender Correspondent


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There is beauty in Mexican food.

No, it might not come in the form of what's on your plate (because Mexican cuisine can also be messy), and it definitely does not come hours after you've eaten (there are just so many beans) – but the real beauty lies in the fact that a simple tortilla can be jam packed with pretty much any and everything, making for a delicious meal.

It's also a quick meal that's even more simplified thanks to Sandra Lee of the Food Network and Cooking Channel. Lee likes to champion “semi-homemade creations,” or recipes that involve little prep and more or less dumping a lot of ingredients together. Her black bean and sweet potato enchiladas are the epitome of such a recipe.

For this you'll need three 10-ounce cans of enchilada sauce, one teaspoon of ground cumin, one quarter teaspoon of nutmeg, one quarter teaspoon of cinnamon, one 15-ounce can of black beans (rinsed and drained), one 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes with basil and oregano (drained), one four ounce can of diced green chilies (drained), eight tortillas, and two 15-ounce cans of cut sweet potatoes, drained and chopped – or two actual sweet potatoes that you'll peel, cube and boil, like I did, because I'm an overachiever.
If you've gone that little extra, peel and cut your sweet potatoes into cubes and drop them in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Now you can return to the lazy way of doing things.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a microwave safe bowl, stir together the enchilada sauce, cumin, nutmeg and cinnamon. Cover it and microwave it on high for a minute and a half. Spread a half cup of the sauce along the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking pan, then pour the rest into a pie plate and set it aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the black beans, tomatoes and green chilis, then get to the messy assembling process.

Dip both sides of a tortilla in the enchilada sauce then place it on a cutting board. Place one-third cup of the black bean mixture and two tablespoons of sweet potatoes on the tortilla.

There are probably plenty of ways to do this so that wrapping the enchilada goes as painlessly as possible, but I will divulge to you my process – which most definitely came about after the trial and error of ruining three enchiladas.

Put the ingredients to the left of center of the tortilla, then fold over what bit of tortilla is sticking out on the left side, tucking it under the lump of ingredients. Just keep rolling, and don't look back. Even if stuff is spilling out – I promise you'll be able to shove it back in.

Place the enchilada seam side up in the pan, and continue until all eight are put together. Drizzle a little extra enchilada sauce on top, and set whatever you have left aside to serve with the enchiladas after they've baked.

Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. If you'd like to add cheese, do so during the last 10 minutes of baking.

If your enchiladas turn out anything like mine, you're going to need an entire pack of napkins and a knife and fork – this ain't Taco Bell, where things are all packed up neat and pretty.

But, man, does the taste certainly rival that of the best dish the chain restaurant has to offer.

FACTBOX

BLACK BEAN AND SWEET POTATO ENCHILADAS

Courtesy of Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade recipe box

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS:

3 cans (10 oz.) enchilada sauce

1 teaspoon cumin

teaspoon cinnamon

teaspoon nutmeg

1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (14.5 oz.) dice tomatoes with oregano and basil, drained

1 can (4 oz.)dice green chilis, drained

8 8-inch tortillas

2 cans (15 oz.) cut sweet potatoes, drained and chopped OR two medium size sweet potatoes

DIRECTIONS:

If you're using non-canned potatoes, peel them, cube them, and drop them in boiling water for 10 minutes or until fork tender.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a microwave safe bowl, stir together enchilada sauce, cumin, nutmeg and cinnamon. Microwave on high for 90 seconds. Spread one-half cup along bottom of 13-by-9 inch pan, then pour the rest in pie pan.

In a medium bowl, combine black beans, tomatoes and green chilis.

Dip both sides of tortilla in enchilada sauce then place on cutting board. Place one-third cup of black bean mixture and two tablespoons of sweet potatoes on tortilla. Roll tightly and place, seam side up, in pan. After all enchiladas are assembled, drizzle enchilada sauce over top.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. If topping with cheese, add during the last 10 minutes of baking.

Save any extra enchilada sauce for serving.


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