Saturday, October 3, 2009

Enchiladas Verde with Tempeh, Leeks, Goat Cheese, and Maitake Mushrooms Recipe

Except for breakfast, I haven’t been so hungry lately. In the mornings, I might have whole grain toast with a little flax oil, some cheese (maybe a goat milk gouda, or some chive-spiked English Gloucester), perhaps a bit of avocado, some cherry tomatoes, green tea (or coffee, depending on the amount of sleep I’ve gotten), and a piece of fruit. If I have a sweet tooth in the morning (unusual, but occasional), I’ll have some granola with yogurt, or peanut butter or almond butter on toast with honey in the comb or jam, or, if it’s the weekend, I might imagine making biscuits or French toast to share with a virtual someone. But the part of my day that involves eating in the hours after breakfast is being largely ignored lately.

After traveling for much of the summer, I’m only now again embracing the routine of cooking to pack my lunches, and last week I made some very weird food. To satisfy the Mexican food craving that inevitably hits after a long trip to Europe, I made enchiladas filled with tempeh, leeks, chipotle chiles, goat cheese, maitake mushrooms, and topped with salsa verde. Immediately out of the oven, I hated everything about my improvised meal, but packed for lunch the next day with some refried beans, additional chipotle chiles, and sour cream, it was actually pretty tasty, and reminded me why eating food at lunchtime is not a bad idea.

But the most memorable thing I ate this week is a burger I had at a friend of a friend’s house, on the rooftop, from the grill. Not for the burger itself, but for the accidental semi-raw entire piece of garlic I found in the burger, a piece of garlic that I didn’t remove, but chewed up eagerly, thinking I was likely to head home soon, and wouldn’t further talk to anyone I didn’t know. I don’t think I’ve been in a relationship with someone who didn’t like garlic, so I’ve generally had a partner eating the crushed cloves in my simple tomato sauces, the cloves that my friend Julia’s Roman boyfriend, while instructing me in the traditions of Italian cooking, advised me to take out once the sauce has finished simmering. I have not been alone in smearing the roasted cloves on toast, devouring the crispy ones whole, Mexican-style, with some toasted arbol chiles and peanuts as a snack, or eating the intense raw garlic yogurt sauces that are so popular in Turkish cooking.

When I was just out of college, I was seduced by the lingering smell of cut garlic on my future boyfriend’s hands; a sign that he was generously cooking dinner for his friends and family, that he understood the sensuality of food and cooked with my favorite flavors. I’m single again, now, yeah, and I’m sure that any new guy I’d like to share food with will not be bothered by a little garlic breath. He will probably have it, too.

Enchiladas Verde with Tempeh, Leeks, Goat Cheese, and Maitake Mushrooms Recipe

For the salsa verde:

about 16 tomatillos, husked, washed, and quartered
1 medium onion, quartered
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 jalapeño, cut into pieces
half a bunch of cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

For the filling:

1 medium leek, trimmed, cleaned, and chopped
2 8 oz packages of tempeh (I used flax seed tempeh), cut into medium-sized cubes
about 4 oz of fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1 large maitake mushroom, cut into pieces
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced, plus a little of the adobo sauce
salt and pepper, to taste

about 12 corn tortillas

To make the salsa verde:

Purée the first four ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Heat the sauce in a saucepan over medium heat and cook gently for about fifteen minutes. Stir in the cilantro, and set the sauce aside.

To make the filling:

Heat a little oil in a large pan and sautée the leeks until soft. Remove them, set aside, and let cool.

Pan-fry the tempeh in a little oil until browned on all sides. You may have to do this in batches, so you don’t crowd the pan. Set aside to cool.

In a medium sized bowl, mix all the ingredients together, and set aside.

To make the enchiladas:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat a small pan over medium heat and gently warm the corn tortillas until pliable.

Pour a little of the salsa verde into the bottom of the pan you will cook them in so the enchiladas won’t stick to the bottom.

Fill the corn tortillas with the tempeh-leek mixture, roll them up, and place them next to each other, seam side down, in the pan.

Smother the enchiladas with the salsa verde, and cook, covered, for about 30 to 40 minutes.

Similar posts from A Hungry Bear Won't Dance: Ancho and Guajillo Chile Chicken Enchiladas Recipe, Mushroom-Studded Tortilla Soup with Chipotle Chiles and Goat Cheese Recipe, Chipotle Chicken Salad Tacos Recipe


Fritz Bogott said...

Goodness! Those are some elaborate and delicious-sounding enchiladas!

A couple of nights ago I made some Oaxaca-styled winter-squash soup that lifted my spirits. You might enjoy messing with variations on this. In a blender, I pureed:
- flesh from a couple of roasted acorn squash
- roasted onions and garlic
- oil-toasted ancho, guajillo and mulato peppers
- toasted almonds, peanuts, pepitas and sesame seeds
- Enough stock to thin this to a thick-soup or thin-mole texture
- A little tomato paste for added umami
- salt, pepper and cayenne to taste.

This cut right through the overcast, at least for a while.

You could also skew this West African or Catalan by messing with the pepper and nut combinations.

I spent this afternoon reading Turkish nut-sauce recipes while sitting at the pool during my kids' swimming lessons. Lots of inspiration but lacking the capsicum I crave...

Banu said...


This sounds great. Thanks, I'll try it. Have you ever made Circassian chicken with walnut sauce? I too, like the heat, so I add more cayenne than is called for. Thanks for reminding me of Turkish nut sauces; I'll blog about this recipe soon!


Fritz Bogott said...

I haven't made it, but that was one of the recipes I was looking at. I'll try it very soon.

Anonymous said...
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Chef E said...

I am wondering if you are vegetarian? I read the profile, so I see we are neighbors, and wondering if being a dancer is why you eat so healthy, I love it and am trying myself to eat more high fiber and vegetarian meals...I cook meat for hubby, but really eat the other side of diet...

Banu said...

Chef E,

Nope, not vegetarian, but I cook and eat a lot of veggie stuff because it's healthier, less expensive, and easier on the planet. Neighbors! How lovely. Are you a chef somewhere in the neighborhood? I'm glad you've found my blog, and thanks for the wonderful comments.


D9Robot said...

This looks so tasty!!

Hawk said...

Will you promote my blog? I will gladly promote yours as well if you like.

Franck W.Abagnale.jr said...

magnificient it looks amazing by the decor and i can guess it tasty too!!!!