"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

A whole other enchilada…

by Julie on May 6, 2012

in Vegetarian

Yeah, I know Cinco de Mayo is more about selling tequila than celebrating the Mexican victory in the Battle of Pueblo in 1862. Still, it’s as good an excuse as any to make enchiladas.

I had an idea to make some black bean and cottage cheese enchiladas, because a girlfriend once made veggie ench’s using cottage cheese, and because I love black beans. I thought I’d throw some zucchinis in there too. And while I was at it, some jalepeno, some red onion, some red pepper…

Well. You’ll be pleased and probably surprised that it did come out edible, although it was sort of touch and go there for a while…

Enchiladas are pretty basic and simple if you’re not me and have made them before. I Googled a few recipes like this one and this one. But in a fit of over-confidence I went out on my own.

I used a tub of cottage cheese
two cans of black beans
two small zucchinis, shredded
half a red onion (chopped)
half a jalapeno pepper, minced
cumin (about a tsp, to flavor the black beans)
white vinegar (a dollop for the beans)
a little diced red pepper for color
Mexican Jack cheese
enchilada sauce
about a dozen corn tortillas.

I sauteed the onion and added one can of beans with liquid, cumin, vinegar, red pepper, jalepeno and then half of the shredded zucchini. I probably shouldn’t have done this, but I did.

While I was stirring this mixture, I blended the cottage cheese and the other half of the shredded zucchini in a blender.

blended cottage cheese and zucchini

I let the bean mixture cool for a bit, then I mixed the two together.

I wasn’t feeling too sure about any of this.

The resulting glop was way too wet. So I opened up another can of beans (this is the second can),  drained them, and added them to the mix.

Was this the way to make enchiladas? Who knew. What I did know was that I shouldn’t have added that much jalapeno…

About this time I noticed my corn tortillas wouldn’t roll without cracking – cheap, D-list tortillas so I was forced to do it this way:

what you have to do when you buy cheap corn tortillas

Which effectively meant that instead of enchiladas I was now making a Mexican lasagna. But whatever. I layered my ingredients in the lasagna fashion and topped it all off with enchilada sauce and a generous spread of cheese. I covered the whole mess with tinfoil and baked for 30 minutes at 350.

Ask a Mexican: Lasagna or enchiladas?

So it didn’t look bad. I let it cool for a good hour and half before I ventured into a slice. I was worried it would never hold and I’d have to eat it with a spoon.

I needn't have worried

I was very pleasantly surprised. Of course, how bad can black beans, zucchinis and tortillas covered in cheese and enchilada sauce be? No matter who makes it.

Exactly. But I ate a whole piece. And the lovely ex ate a whole piece, praising the little “kick” at the end thanks to the jalapenos.

The real test came when Marisa, an actual, bona-fide Mexican, showed up.  “Give me a tiny piece,” she said. I handed her a regular piece.

I watched her eat it.  She didn’t say it was bad. She didn’t say it was good. She said she hated that brand of enchilada sauce and that the tortillas I had used were crap (I knew that much.) But she kept eating.

Even as she told me I should have used the tomatillo sauce I learned how to make from her mom, and roast some peppers and use queso fresca, all of which sounded fantastico to me, she kept eating.

So I took that to be a good sign.

Not bad for a first try. Stay tuned for better things…



{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Allie May 7, 2012 at 11:03 am

Did you fry the tortillas in oil before you rolled them? That’s the key – makes them more pliable and delicous! My grandma always used to make them with flour torillas- totally a white person thing to do but they are easier to work with 🙂


Julie May 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Fry them….? No. That’s a secret trick nobody told me about. But if Babs did it…Thanks, Allie!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: