April 7, 2014
Squash and Black Bean Enchilada Pie. Mmm. Pie. If that doesn’t get them running to the table, I don’t know what will.
This is my new favorite quick dinner. It’s got all of the flavor of authentic Tex-Mex enchiladas, but only takes half the work. And clean up is easier, too. If that doesn’t get you running into the kitchen, I don’t know what will.
I love enchiladas but, the other day, as I began setting out my stations—tortillas, enchilada sauce, filling, grated cheese—I decided I just couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t bring myself to go through the whole process of dipping the tortilla, wiping off the excess, filling, rolling and going at it again and again, all the while my hands goopy and shredded cheese flying everywhere.
It’s not that it’s a particularly hard process, but it gets messy and requires a lot of prep bowls. I just didn’t want to go there on this particular Wednesday night. So instead of filling and rolling, I stacked and stacked again.
It turns out this is a much easier and more efficient process. And, look. What comes out ain’t too shabby:
Once the filling is made—in this case, black beans and squash, so that, along with some sliced avocado, veggies are taken care of—assembling this enchilada pie is a civilized matter of spooning filling, pouring sauce, and sprinkling cheese on top of a flat tortilla. Since there is no tortilla dipping, I could pour the enchilada sauce right from the blender (or, on another recent night, right from the can ; more on that in a second). That kept one bowl and both of my hands clean, which makes a really big difference. And while rolling is fun, stacking is faster, and faster is better on Wednesday night.
If you make scratch enchilada sauce, which I do sometimes, make it ahead to save time. Or use a packaged sauce. You may be surprised to read that but, believe it or not, there are some decent, all-natural canned enchilada sauces on the market. I’ve been known to use Hatch brand which has really nice flavor compared to other canned enchilada sauces. Also, their gluten-free red enchilada sauce doesn’t have starch fillers, which you want to avoid even if you aren’t gluten-free. Frontera Grill also makes a decent store-bought option.
I like to serve this enchilada pie with sliced avocado and a quick cabbage slaw made with nothing more than shredded cabbage, a drizzle of olive oil, a spoonful of plain Greek yogurt, and enough fresh lime juice to turn the yogurt and oil into a nice dressing consistency. While the enchilada pie is in the oven, I throw all of the slaw ingredients into a bowl and use my hands to massage/dress the cabbage. No reason to make a separate dressing. I throw in cilantro or chopped red bell pepper when I’m feeling fancy.
A delicious Tex-Mex dinner that you can throw together after work or when you finally get home from enjoying the good weather at the playground. Dreamy.
Squash and Black Bean Enchilada Pie
(Can be adapted to share with kids 6+ mos)*
2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 cups chopped butternut squash (cut into approximately 1″ pieces)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1-2 teaspoon chile powder of choice, depending on heat preference
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
3/4 cup beer, broth or water
2 cans black beans, drained & rinsed
8 soft corn tortillas
2 cups or one 14- to 16-ounce can enchilada sauce
2 cups grated cheddar and/or monterey jack cheese
Sliced avocado, for garnish (optional)
Cilantro, washed and chopped, for garnish (optional)
Chopped scallions, for garnish (optional)
Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, for garnish (optional)
Lime wedges for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add oil to a medium sized high-sided pan set over medium heat. Once hot, add garlic and onion. Cook until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Turn heat to high; add squash, cumin, oregano, chile powder and salt; toss to coat and add 3/4 cup liquid of choice. Cook until liquid reduced about about half, 4-6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until squash is just soft all the way through, about 6-8 minutes.
2. Add beans and toss to coat. Leave the pan uncovered and cook for 1-2 minutes allowing flavors to come together, then remove from heat.
3. Spoon sauce into a baking pan that will fit two stacks of tortillas side by side; coat the bottom of the pan. Place two tortillas in the pan, over the sauce, side by side. Spoon some squash and bean filling onto each tortilla and then sprinkle grated cheese on top of the filling. Spoon more enchilada sauce over the cheese and place another tortilla on top, pressing down to stabilize the pie. Repeat the process two more times, topping the last tortilla on the stack (the 4th one) with only enchilada sauce and cheese.
4. Bake the enchilada pies for about 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Serve with toppings of choice.
Note: To share this with very beginner eaters, puree some of the beans and squash mixture before you add it to the enchilada pie. You can do this with or without enchilada sauce, depending on the heat level and your child’s taste. Children eating finger foods can share the enchilada pie as prepared, so long as you cut it into age appropriate bites. I prefer to share my meal as prepared with picky eaters—even if that means they won’t eat it—but it’s worth noting that you can easily adapt this for kids who will not accept enchilada sauce. Either make a separate stack without sauce or stuff the bean and squash filling in a plain, warmed tortilla like a taco.