Eggplant Enchiladas – A Labor of Love

Why is it that almost all types of delicious food are labor intensive? Specifically, all the types of food I like to eat? Furthermore, it seems that anything remotely healthy is somewhat cumbersome to make as well. To be fair, I would have enjoyed my enchilada making experience if it were on say a Sunday afternoon. However, on a Monday night after a long day of work, spending two hours was less than fun. But I stuck with it, and was rewarded with some seriously delicious enchiladas!

When making the recipe, prepare yourself for A LOT of veggie cutting. I had no problem with that until of course the onion, which makes me cry uncontrollably to the point where I can’t open my eyes. Writing about it now is making me tear up. Aside from that, the rest of the recipe doesn’t call for too much work. It’s a lot of sautéing and waiting.

I found the recipe on Serious Eats, who always impresses with their daily recipes. I’ve found they often post Spanish and Mexican dishes, which I absolutely love – like the Chilaquiles Frittata I made (also a lot of little steps).

Once I got past all the slicing and dicing, and waiting for the veggies to cook, I was able to fly through the rest of the recipe. I added a 1/4 of a teaspoon more cayenne pepper to give it a kick, and boy did it have a kick! It was just the right amount of spice for me, before it reached the unpleasant threshold. For a lot of people, though, I think it would have been too spicy.

I also left out the almonds. So, instead of eggplant and almond enchiladas, they were just eggplant. I didn’t miss them, though. There were so many other flavors (green pepper, onion, cumin, garlic, tomato, etc.) that I’m not sure what the almonds would have added.

The recipe says it’ll make 12 enchiladas, but I only got 10 out of it, and they weren’t even fully stuffed! I went with the fajita size tortillas, but I’m not sure if there are smaller, and if so, if I should have used them (the recipe didn’t specify).

This is a great alternative to a meat-filled enchilada. Eggplant is a pretty meaty and filling vegetable, and definitely adds some serious flavor to the meal. I can only surmise it’s pretty healthy too; a whole bunch of veggies and spices, just a bit of cheese, and some tortillas. A great way to get your Mexican fix in lighter and less fattening way, at home!

I’d definitely make this dish again, just not on a week-night. It’s better served on a Saturday or Sunday. Maybe even a Friday night. But not sitting down to dinner until 9pm on a Monday night was a little stressful.

So next time you’re looking to make a meat-free Mexican meal and you have some time, why not give this a try? You’ll be glad you did!

Eggplant Enchiladas
-Serves 4-

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups onion, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3 cups tomatoes, chopped
6 cups eggplant, diced (about 1 large one)
salt and black pepper
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 cup jack cheese, grated
12 corn tortillas
Canola oil for frying

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour half of the olive oil into a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add half of the onions and a pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the cumin, chili powder, and cayenne. Stir well, and cook for 5 minutes.
2. Dump in the tomatoes and 1 cup of water. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes. Halfway through cooking add half the garlic, and black pepper to taste. Puree the sauce when done in a blender when it has cooled slightly. Be careful.
3. While the sauce is cooking, pour the rest of the olive oil into a large skillet or pot over medium heat. Add the rest of the onion and cook for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the eggplant and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The eggplant should be soft.
4. Add the garlic and green bell pepper. Stir well, remove the cover, and cook for 5 to 8 minutes. Turn off the heat, and then add the cheese and almonds. Stir well.
5. Pour enough canola oil into a skillet to cover the bottom. Turn heat to medium high. Fry each tortilla for just a few seconds on each side. You want to cook them until they become leathery, not until they crisp up. honestly no more than 3 seconds a side. Transfer each to a paper towels, and remove as much oil as possible. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
6. Place about 1/4 cup of the filling into each tortilla, and then roll up. Place them seam-side down in a baking sheet. Pour the sauce over. Place in the oven and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until warm. Serve.

3 thoughts on “Eggplant Enchiladas – A Labor of Love

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