Friday, January 10, 2014

Sweet potato and black bean enchilladas

Good heavens, I haven't posted since May! Last time I mentioned that I hadn't officially made it into my graduate program yet (most molecular biology PhDprograms have you do rotations in 3+ labs, then you choose the lab you want to spend the next few years of your life in. Some programs, including mine, also have a written exam at the end of the first year, which is important to pass before you are officially accepted) but shortly after the last post it became official.

 So I have been in a lab for the last 6ish months, working on my dissertation research, which is awesome! But though things have slowed down from my first year (I often only work 60 hours a week now! You may roll your eyes at the "only" but I was doing 12 credits of grad work last spring, and studying takes a while)  grad school is really quite time consuming. And I try to find time for my spouse, and occasionally to be social, and to go to the gym every now and again, so I don't exactly spend the kind of time on fun baking as I did when I was unemployed in 2011. But the Man and I try to trade off who makes dinner each night, so I am still doing a decent bit of cooking, it just isn't always very creative.

However, these enchiladas are really quite low-effort for how good they taste, and they are quite healthy as well. I have made these enchiladas several times now, including for vegetarian guests one time, and they liked them quite a bit. This is very much inspired by a sweet potato burrito served at the vegetarian restaurant in town (called Sweet Melissa's, I highly recommend it if you are ever in Southeastern Wyoming) which is amazing, but sometimes I am just too tired to go out when I want enchiladas. So this is how I make them! They are vegetarian (except that I use a bit of chicken broth when it is just us omnivores [that is what I always have open in the fridge] but you can use vegetable broth or water) and pretty easy to make vegan/dairy-free, just skip the cheese!

Sweet potato and black bean enchiladas

serves about 3

1 roasted medium sweet potato
16 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons gluten-free broth (I used chicken, but use vegetable to make it vegan/vegetarian) or water, optional
Gluten-free tortillas (I use the small corn tortillas from Mission)
shredded cheese, optional
16-24 oz jar of salsa verde, mild or medium
1/4 avocado, optional

Preheat oven to 400 F. line a pan with foil, and place your sweet potato in the pan. Roast until the sweet potato is soft, about an hour if it is medium sized, an hour and twenty minutes if it is big. (I like to roast several at a time and use them in recipes later in the week, cooked sweet potatoes seem to keep for a while. There are 3 in the picture but I just used 1).

Let the sweet potato cool until it is safe to handle. I like to stick sweet potatoes in the fridge. After it has cooled sufficiently, cut it in half, and then peel the skin off. At this point, if you turned off the oven (which I did, having roasted these the day before) begin preheating it to 400 F.

The skin should pull off pretty easily if the sweet potato is cooled enough, but you can use a knife to cut off any stubborn bits.

Cut the sweet potato into small cubes. It should be pretty soft, but doesn't need to be completely squishy, just make sure the middle isn't crunchy. If it is, you can cook it in the oven longer, or microwave the uncooked parts for a minute or two.

Put the cut sweet potato into a bowl, and add the rinsed black beans to the bowl. Season with salt and pepper, or other seasonings if you'd like. I add two tablespoons of broth at this point, it adds a bit more flavor, and some moisture that lets the filling stick together better, but you can skip it or use water or vegetable broth to keep it vegetarian. 

Stir everything together until the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Now you can start filling the tortillas. The little corn tortillas crack easily, so be careful when handling them. Lay out a couple tortillas in a baking dish, preferably one that is lined with foil and well-oiled. Scoop a couple spoonfuls of the sweet potato and black bean filling onto the tortillas.

I added some cheese (I can tolerate dairy quite well now! After my roughly 18 month hiatus from all dairy products except butter) but the meal is still delicious without any cheese if you don't do dairy.

Fold over each tortilla as shown below. The corn tortillas like to split apart at this stage, so be careful when folding them.

Now flip the rolled enchilada over so that the seam side is facing down.

Like so! Repeat with your other tortillas. 

Fill all the other tortillas and flip them over until you A. have decided you have enough enchiladas, B. Run out of room in the baking dish or C. have used up all of your filling.

Pour a jar of salsa verde over the enchiladas so that they are all covered in sauce. I did not take a picture because there is no way to make a pan of salsa verde look appetizing under fluorescent lighting at night. This is a 24 ounce jar, but I think you could get by with only 16 ounces if you don't like really saucy enchiladas.

I added some cheddar and mozzarella cheese. Again, this isn't necessary if you don't do dairy, but it is tasty. I find that serving Mexican-inspired food with avocado or guacamole instead of cheese is a very good substitution.

Bake at 400 F for 20-25 minutes.

I like to serve these with avocado, but skip it if you are not so inclined.

And that's it! These are easy and tasty, and pretty quick if you roast the sweet potato ahead of time. 

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