I’ve been making these enchiladas for years and years, but seeing the Food52 contest for “Your Best Spicy Recipe” was my impetus to finally write them up. They’re currently a potential finalist in that contest over there– wish me luck.
It was hard to know where to start with this contest, since I love spicy food and probably 80% of the entrees that come out of my kitchen would qualify for this contest. I settled on submitting a long-time favorite, though. I’m not sure when I decided to refine and combine elements of the ingredients and methods I’d learned from a friend for turning out authentic chile verde, with the vegetarian spin of roasted pumpkin and white cheese. But I did, and it was a hit. The spicy salsa verde (don’t be shy with those chiles, and no need to seed them or remove the pith… they’ll be mellowed by the sweet roasted pumpkin and creamy cheese) combined with, as just mentioned, earthy and sweet pumpkin and melted, salty and creamy cheese, was an irresistible combination.
This is the absolute best time of year to gather the ingredients for these enchiladas– tomatillos, tomatoes, chiles, and pumpkins (at least, Kabochas– also called Japanese pumpkins) are all perfectly ripe and available in the garden at this time of year. And therefore, it’s time for green enchiladas filled with pumpkin and cheese! Oh, and because we’re all busy people and they’ll taste exactly the same– just stack them instead of rolling them. (Method below.) It’s less fussy and time-consuming, and that means you can devour these all the sooner.
P.S. This recipe makes about 8 hearty servings, but it can easily be doubled to serve 16 (or more in either case, if used as a side dish.)
- 12 corn tortillas
- 10 medium-large tomatillos
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 1 white or yellow onion
- 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 5 jalapeno or serrano chiles
- 1 head cilantro, large stems removed
- 2 cups chicken stock or broth
- 1 medium pumpkin of 2.5-3 lbs (such as sugar pie or kabocha)
- 1/2 cup olive oil, in two equal measurements of 1/4 cup each
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin, in two equal measurements of 1 tablespoon each
- 2 cups shredded jack cheese
- 2 cups finely grated cotija cheese
- salt, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Slice your pumpkin in half and scoop out and discard the seeds. Rub the exposed cut portions with olive oil. Roast cut portion-down at 350 degrees F until the pumpkin is easily pierced with a fork (about 45 minutes.) Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
- Husk and wash the tomatillos, and roughly chop them.
- Roughly chop the onions, tomatoes, and chiles.
- Combine the chopped tomatillos, tomatoes, chiles, and onions with the garlic, cilantro, chicken stock, one measurement of olive oil, and one measurement of cumin, into a blender or food processor. Blend thoroughly. (Depending on the size of your blender or food processor, you may need to do this in two shifts.)
- Combine the well-blended ingredients into a large saucepan and simmer for 25 minutes.
- Taste and adjust salt to your preferences. (You will likely need to add some.)
- Preheat the oven again to 350 degrees.
- Scoop the roast pumpkin out of the shells and quickly mash and stir fry with remaining portions of olive oil and cumin. Salt generously. Set aside.
- Line the bottom of a 9x13 pan with 4 of your tortillas (rip one or two of them in half if that helps with arranging for full coverage of the bottom.)
- Ladle 1/3 of your simmered salsa verde over the tortillas. Top with half of the mashed pumpkin and half of the shredded jack cheese.
- Then add another layer of tortillas, another 1/3 of the salsa verde, the last half of the pumpkin, and the last half of the shredded jack cheese.
- Top that with the last of the tortillas and salsa verde.
- Bake in 350 F oven for 35 minutes. Remove and let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.
- To serve, slice into 8 squares. Plate each square individually. Garnish each serving with grated cotija cheese, which is light enough to rest like snow atop the dish and the plate.