Mushroom Spinach Enchiladas

Mushroom Spinach Enchiladas 5267

It probably sounds a little funny and hugely un-revolutionary to many, but seeing as I grew up in two extended families of carnivores, and living in the Land of the Almighty Cow, vegetarian fare is somewhat novel to me. But I have to say, it’s grown on me more and more, to the point where I will actually seek it out. Those who knew my youthful self would never have predicted this, but it’s true – I love vegetarian cooking and I’ve even purchased several vegetarian cookbooks.

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Mushroom Spinach enchiladas 5266

And so it goes with these extremely tasty enchiladas. Instead of just being meat-free and cheese-filled every which way, they have actual vegetables in the filling (not that cheese isn’t there aplenty; it is). The mushrooms have something of a meaty texture. While mushrooms themselves don’t taste like beef per se, and you won’t be fooling any of your diners, the texture is quite pleasing to the chew. They give the enchiladas heft.

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The spinach provides a nice leafy background note, and its slight bitterness contrasts nicely with the bright, acidic tomatillo salsa. And of course both the filling and the enchiladas themselves are ensconced in creamy cheesiness that we all love. It’s a filling meal! Without a lot of guilt. That always works in my book. Enjoy!

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{One Year Ago: Pancetta-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin over Apple-Turnip Hash, Apple Maple Walnut Cobbler, Apple Crisp}

Source: slightly adapted from The Homesick Texan Cookbook by Lisa Fain

Ingredients:

SALSA:
1 poblano chile
1 large jalapeno
½ lb. fresh tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
½ cup cilantro
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp lime juice
1 cup vegetable stock
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp canola oil
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

ENCHILADAS:
1 tsp canola oil
10 oz. white button or cremini mushrooms, sliced thin
½ medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 serrano or small jalapeno chile, seeded and minced
1 (10 oz.) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 (16 oz.) container ricotta cheese, full-fat or low-fat, but not fat-free
1 tbs lime juice
¼ tsp cayenne
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground cinnamon, preferably Mexican canela
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
12 corn tortillas
2 cups (about 8 oz.) Monterey jack cheese, shredded

Directions:
First make the salsa. Roast the poblano and jalapeno either under the broiler or on an open flame from a gas stove, until the outside skin is blackened all over. Place them in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let them steam for about 15 minutes. Using either your hands or a paper towel, scrape the blackened skin off. Cut off the stems and remove the seeds from inside the chiles, then add the flesh to your blender.
Meanwhile, add the tomatillos to a small pot and cover with water. Bring the pot to a boil and cook about 5 minutes, until the tomatillos are tender but not gone to complete mush. Drain, and add the tomatillos to the blender, along with the cilantro, garlic, lime juice, vegetable stock, and cumin. Blend until smooth.
Heat the oil in the pot you used for the tomatillos and place over medium-low heat. Pour the salsa into the pot and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then turn the heat to very low and just keep it warm until you need it again.
Now make the filling. Heat the oil in a medium-to-large skillet on medium. Add the mushrooms and sauté about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Add a pinch of salt and remove to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Add the onion to the skillet and cook about 5 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and chile and cook another minute.
Place the spinach in a clean kitchen towel and wring it out over the sink, until you’ve gotten most of the excess water out. Add the spinach to the skillet and cook about 2 minutes, just to remove the excess water. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Shut off the heat and add the spinach mixture to the mushrooms in the large bowl. Allow to cool about 5 minutes, then add the ricotta, lime juice, cayenne, cumin and cinnamon. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir to combine everything. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a large casserole or baking dish. Warm the tortillas either in the microwave or on top of your gas stove. Store them in a tortilla warmer or wrapped in a clean kitchen towel to keep them warm.
Take a heated tortilla and drag it through the salsa, coating both sides. Use tongs if it’s too hot for your fingers. Shake off most of the salsa back into the pot, but make sure the tortilla is pliable. Lay the soaked tortilla on a clean work surface and add about ¼ cup of the mushroom spinach mixture to the center of the tortilla. Roll the tortilla and place, seam side down, in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the remaining 11 tortillas. Pour the rest of the salsa over the enchiladas and top evenly with the shredded cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is lightly browned and bubbling. Serve immediately. Leftovers are good.

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