Monday, May 20, 2013

EGGPLANT ENCHILADAS with PEPITA CREAM






You’re wondering about Eggplant Enchiladas, I’ll admit it’s kind of unusual.   You’re accustomed to eggplant in rich tomato sauces of the Mediterranean.  You may have had it spicy eggplant in Japanese and Indian dishes.  Ya, me too; but I got to thinking that since enchiladas have a rich and spicy sauce, that eggplant would transition nicely into Mexican cooking…and I was not wrong...meaning that I was soooo right, and I do love to be right!  The eggplant filling is creamy and tastes delicioso with the corn flavor of the tortilla and the spicy, rich enchilada sauce.


Pepita Cream is a super nutritious; and tasty replacement for cheese.  I got the inspiration from all the Cashew Cream recipes that I’ve been seeing lately.  It’s creamy and rich so that you won’t miss the cheese at all…really you won’t.  Ooh and Pepita Cream is a lovely pale green color that looks so pretty against the dark reddish brown of the enchilada sauce.

Pepitas are hulled pumpkin seeds.   They are very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. They’re also a good source of Protein, Vitamin K, Iron and Copper, and a very good source of Magnesium, Phosphorus and Manganese.   So… pepitas are not super low in fat (although the Pepita Cream is lower in fat than cheese), but the trade-off for all that nutrition I think is more than fair.

Billy, who was skeptical when I told him that I had omitted the cheese; well he looooved these enchiladas. He totally praised me for this dish. 

I made this dish using a Slow Cooked Enchilada sauce that I made the night before (the recipe is coming to you soon) and Handmade Soft Corn Tortillas, but I realize that most of y'all don't want to make every element of the dish from scratch.  The enchiladas will be yummy using store bought enchilada sauce and/or store bought corn tortillas.  I even included instructions at the end of the recipes to make the enchiladas using cheese if you don't have the time to soak the pepitas for the Pepita Cream; but if you do have the time I definitely hope that you will give it a try!

Eggplant Enchiladas with Pepita Cream are spicy, creamy, and rich and they’ll have you wondering where they’ve been all your life!

Here’s what you do for all this healthy, yumminess!
Start by making the Pepita Cream because the pepitas have got to soak in water for 3 to 4 hours.

Drain and rinse the soaked pepitas.


Put the pepitas into the jar of a blender with some clean, cold water and a little salt.

I started with 1 cup of water and then added 1/4 cup more.

How much water you need depends on how much water the pepitas absorbed in the soaking process and upon how thick you want the cream.


Now blend it up until it's smooth.

The Pepita Cream can be made in advance and store in an air tight container in the refrigerator, just give it a stir when you’re ready to use it.



Cut the eggplant into 3/4 inch slices.

Now this part is a preference thing; I like to sprinkle a generous amount of salt on the eggplant and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes on each side to draw out the moisture and the bitterness, some people choose not to do this.

Please do whatever suits you, but if it's bitter don't blame me...just sayin'.

If you do choose to do this step, be sure to rinse the salt off and blot the eggplant dry before you use it.



While the eggplant is releasing all of it's bitterness get started on the onions.  Start by combining the diced onions with a little olive oil, sugar and salt.



I like to start the onions on medium-high heat just until the onions are translucent.

Then turn the heat down to medium; add the garlic, and oregano
.
Cook this stirring frequently for 15 to 20 minutes longer until it's a golden caramel color.

Set to the side.



Pre heat the broiler in your oven, be sure that you have a rack set in the center.



Transfer the eggplant that has been rinsed and blotted dry, to a sheet pan along with a red bell pepper that has been cut into quarters.

Brush or mist a little olive oil on each side and season with salt and pepper.

You may have noticed that I decided to remove some strips of the peel from the eggplant, you may do the same or you may remove the peel completely, or not at all; again it's a preference thing.



By putting the pan under the broiler but in the center rack, the vegetables are allowed to cook while the outside gets dark; this takes 5 to 7 minutes but keep on eye because oven broilers differ.

When the first side has browned, turn the vegetables over and return them to the oven until the second side has browned.


Now that the vegetables have cooked, turn the oven to bake at 350 degrees.


Remove most of the charred skin from the bell peppers (a little never hurt any one), and cut both the peppers and eggplant into about 1/2 inch dice.


Add them to a bowl along with the caramelized onions...


As well as 3/4 cup of Pepita cream and some cilantro (or flat leaf parsley if you prefer); taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.



I used two baking dishes because I made some enchiladas for us and some for my neighbor, a single 13 x 9 x 2 inch dish works perfectly.

Put a little red enchilada sauce on the bottom just to coat, this keeps the enchiladas from sticking to the dish.

I should have mentioned that I made these most delicious and totally easy Handmade Soft Corn Tortillas and used them to straight from the pan so they were warm; if using store bought go ahead and warm them up according to the package directions, to make them pliable.




Put about 1/3 of a cup of filling down the center of a tortilla...


...And then roll it up and put it seem side down in the baking dish.

Repeat the process with the remaining tortillas laying them side by side in the center of the baking dish.



Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top.

I also made the enchilada sauce (coming up next post) which I had divided into 2 cup portions.

If using canned sauce; go ahead and use two full 10 ounce cans, there's no point in wasting the extra sauce.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes with foil tented over the top, then remove the foil and bake for a further 15 to 20 minutes, just until they're hot.


Pour a little Pepita Cream over the top and garnish with some more pepitas to make it pretty.

Serve with more Pepita Cream on the side and enjoy...Delicioso!


EGGPLANT ENCHILADAS with PEPITA CREAM

Serves 4 to 6

1 ½           lbs.           Eggplant
1                              Medium onion, small dice
2              Tbsp.         Olive oil, divided use
½             tsp.           Sugar
2              cloves        Garlic, minced
1               tsp.          Oregano, preferably Mexican
                               Salt and Pepper
1                              Red bell pepper, cut into 4 large pieces, and seeds removed
                               Pepita Cream (recipe follows), divided use
¼              cup          Cilantro or flat leaf parsley, chopped
10                            Soft corn tortillas, warmed
2               cups         Red enchilada sauce
3               Tbsp.        Pepita seeds, for garnish

   1.       Cut and remove the ends from the eggplant, peel the eggplant if desired (it’s a preference thing), and cut it into about ¾ inch thick slices.  Lay the eggplant slices in a single layer on some sheets of paper towel.  Sprinkle about 1 tsp. of salt over the top of all (not each) of the eggplant slices.  Allow that to sit for about 15 minutes, then turn the slices over and sprinkle another teaspoon of salt over all of the slices.  Salting helps to remove any bitterness from the eggplant.
   2.       Meanwhile; in a medium skillet combine the onions, 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil, sugar and a pinch of salt, cook over medium high heat to start, stirring occasionally.  When the onions are translucent turn the heat down to medium.  Add the garlic and oregano.  Cook stirring until the onions are a golden caramel color, 15 to 20 minutes longer.  Set to the side.
   3.       Pre heat the broiler, use the middle rack.
   4.       Rinse the salt from the eggplant and blot dry.
   5.       Lay the sliced eggplant and the red bell pepper on a sheet pan.  Brush (or mist) both sides of the vegetables with olive oil, season with a little salt and pepper.  Put under the broiler on the middle rack.  When the veggies are brown (5 to 7 minutes) turn them over and brown the other side.
   6.       Pull most of the charred skin from the red peppers.  Cut the peppers and the eggplant into about ½ inch dice.
   7.       In a large bowl combine the diced eggplant and peppers, the caramelized onions, ¾ cup of the Pepita Cream, and the cilantro (or flat leaf parsley).  Taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper if needed.
   8.       Turn the oven to bake at 350 degrees.
   9.       Coat the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish with some of the enchilada sauce.
   10.   Put about 1/3 cup of the filling down the center a warmed tortilla, roll the tortilla around the filling (like a tube) and place it seem side down in the baking dish.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas, lining them up next to each other down the center of the baking dish.
   11.   Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the enchiladas.
   12.   Tent a sheet of aluminum foil over the dish and bake for15 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for a further 15 to 20 minutes, just until the enchiladas are hot.
   13.   Remove from the oven, and serve with more Pepita Cream and garnish with pepita seeds.

Notes:   **In place of the Pepita Cream Sauce you may use cheese.  I would suggest adding about 1/3 cup of Pecorino Romano cheese for the filling, and about ¾ cup of Monterey Jack cheese over the top.
             **If using canned enchilada sauce go ahead and use two ten ounce cans in their entirety, there's no point in wasting the extra sauce.



PEPITA CREAM
Makes about 2 cups

1              cup         Raw pepitas
                             Water
¼             tsp.        Salt

   1.       Add the pepitas with 2 cups of cold water to a bowl.  Allow them to soak for 3 hours.
   2.       Drain and rinse the soaked pepitas. 
   3.       Add the pepitas to the jar of a blender with 1 cup of fresh water and the salt.  Blend until smooth.  If the sauce seems a little thick, add a little more water, until the desired consistency is achieved.
   4.       Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.  Stir the Pepita Cream before using.

Pepita Cream can be a savory or sweet alternative to cream toppings.  Add some different savory spices to change it up, and for dessert add some honey and cinnamon.

 

You may also like:

Buttercup Squash & Chicken Enchilada Verde

Buffalo Chicken Tostadas


I shared this post at:

Our Growing Edge













This month Our Growing Edge is hosted by and more food.

9 comments:

  1. Hi Kari, that's a very interesting recipe. Look very inviting and delicious. Thanks for sharing.

    Have a nice day.

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  2. OH! The eggplant! The pepita cream! The homemade corn tortillas! It never ends, it's soooo good! Must make this soon!

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  3. Ooo how gorgeous! I definitely want to make this very soon!!

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  4. This is so creative! I love that you made every element homemade! I'm really intrigued by the pepita cream - I want to spoon it up!

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  5. What a yummy filling - MUST try!

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  6. I've never heard of pepita cream before. What does it taste similar to? I like how easy it is to make and a good alternative to cream when you've got no fresh ingredients. Thanks for submitting this to Our Growing Edge. It is a very interesting dish!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Genie. I guess I should have mentioned that the flavor of Pepita Cream is kinda sweet (like cream), and slightly nutty (cuz it's a seed), and all yummy!

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  7. Pepita cream sounds like something I would thoroughly enjoy!!

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  8. hello! and thank you for this lovely entry into this month's our growing edge. I've got it up in my round-up here.

    I love green - and nutty things so this looks right up my alley!

    ReplyDelete