This is a truly yummy recipe. Yes, you have to make the sauce yourself. If you’re not willing to do so, go to your local grocery store and buy a can of the green enchilada sauce. But if you’re going to do that, why not just open a can of chili, too? The Greens Black Bean Chili deserves the homemade sauce. And it’s pretty easy, really.
BLACK BEAN ENCHILADAS WITH TOMATILLO SAUCE
1. Make the Tomatillo Sauce
1. pound fresh tomatillos
1/2 small red onion, very finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 serrano or other hot green chilis, seeded and finely chopped (I use 1 jalepeno…easier to find)
1 to 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, chopped
Sugar, if necessary
Mild vinegar, to taste
Bring a pot of water to boil. After removing the papery husks from the tomatillos, add them to the pan, and lower the heat. Simmer them gently for about 20 minutes, do not let them split. As they rise to the surface, it will be necessary to turn them so that they cook all over. (I find that a glass of wine and a sense of humor help here, because they just flip right back to side one on their own.) When the tomatillos are done cooking, drain them in a colander.
Mix together the onion, garlic, chilies, and cilantro in a bowl (I use a Cuisinart, because I’m lazy), either as they are or ground together in a mortar to make a course paste.
Blend the tomatillos to make a course textured puree. (I added them to the Cuisinart with the rest of the things). Or, if you have a stone molcajete, a Mexican stone mortar, grind them by hand to break them up. Add the tomatillos to the rest of the ingredients, add a pinch or two of sugar, if they are especially tart, then season to taste with salt and a few drops to 1/2 tsp of vinegar. Allow the sauce to cool; then serve. It will keep in the refrigerator for several days, although the brightness of the fresh cilantro will fade after a few hours.
Variation: If you do not enjoy the taste of the raw onion or plan to use this as an ingredient in a cooked dish, sautÃ© the onions first in a teaspoon of corn oil or peanut oil for about a minute to take away the raw edge; then proceed with the rest of the recipe. (I never notice this step until it’s too late, so the raw onion sauce goes into my enchiladas. It’s fine.)
2. Make the Enchiladas
3 cups black bean chili
tomatillo sauce (above)
1/2 cup peanut or light corn oil
12 corn or wheat tortillas
4 oz Monterey Jack cheese, grated (I use a lot more than this…I like cheese)
Sprigs of cilantro, for garnish
Prepare the black bean chili and the tomatillo sauce, using the variation in which the onions are cooked. (oops)
Heat the oil in a large skillet until a tortilla will sizzle when it is put in. Lightly fry the tortillas on each side, about 20 to 30 seconds, not so long that they become crisp, and set them on paper toweling to drain. (Hint, if you’ve had a glass of wine (see tomatillo sauce) and you’re trying to follow a recipe on TV for Moussaka on Take Home Chef, this might get complicated, unless you have a TV in your kitchen, which I don’t.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Oil a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, and spread 1/2 cup of sauce over the bottom. Put another 1/2 cup or so of sauce aside. Coat each tortilla on both sides with the sauce; then put 1/4 cup of chili and a couple tablespoons of cheese in a strip down the middle of the tortilla, and roll the tortilla around the filling. Place them seam side down in the baking pan in a single layer. When they are all assembled, brush the tops with the remaining sauce.
Bake the enchiladas until heated through, 15 to 20 minutes. Garnish with sprigs of cilantro, and serve with Salsa Picante, if desired. (I didn’t see a recipe for Salsa Picante in my cookbook, and I’ve never tried it. I usually serve with sour cream. VERY yummy.)