Today I'm thinking about both yesterday and tomorrow. A little philosophical? Perhaps. Well, no not really. It's just a darn clever way to introduce this week's featured Recipe of the Week. Yesterday I had the great fortune to spend some time with Abi, the owner of one of my favorite new food blogs VeryVeganish.com. We discusses family, business, blogging, and food. (More on Abi and her wonderful blog and story a little later.) Tomorrow I'll be taking my family out to dinner. And last week I promised one of my triplets (yes, we have been blessed with triplets!) that we would go to one of his favorite restaurants called Escalante's, a slightly-upscale local Mexican place. And there, being a vegetarian, I typically only have 1-2 choices - and almost always choose the spinach and mushroom enchiladas. So I go out to scan through Abi's VeryVeganish.com blog and what do I come across? Her Tex Mex Spinach and Corn Enchilada Deep Dish recipe. It was a sign from above that that recipe had to be this week's Recipe of the Week.
Now, let's dig into this one a little bit. (Get it? Dig in. DEEP dish? Food? Of course, you do.) Anyway, this is one of those comfort dishes that has been turned into vegan deliciousness. It takes about 1 hour 15 minutes to maybe 1 hour 30 minutes, depending on how fast you chop and prep. You start by chopping and mincing onions, bell pepper, garlic, and spinach. And when a recipe includes those four ingredients it's a solid bet that it's gonna be good.
To cook the recipe, you start by combining black beans, vegetable stock and cumin in a small pan and get it simmering. In a separate, larger pan you sauté the onions (sweet Vidalia onions, no less. Mmmmm.) in some vegan butter or olive oil over medium-high heat. You do this until they are translucent and begin to caramelize. Then you toss in the garlic (for one minute), then the bell pepper (for three minutes), and then the corn (for another three minutes). Next the spinach gets its turn. Toss it in, combine it with the other ingredients, and allow the spinach to wilt. Turn up the heat a bit at this point to cook off the liquid. And if there's a lot of liquid, you might also have to drain away some of it. Then you add the hot sauce (this IS Tex-Mex after all) and some salt & pepper. Next you turn off the heat and mix in the vegan "cream cheese" and mix it until any lumps are gone.
Turn back to the black beans, drain them, and get ready to assemble the whole thing. A can of enchilada sauce goes into the bottom of your baking pan. Eight corn tortillas get strewn across the top of the enchilada sauce. Then you layer on the spinach mixture, followed by a layer of black beans, and then about 2/3 can of more enchilada sauce. Do this layering three more times. You should end with a top layer of enchilada sauce. Oh, and BTW, Abi recommends using not just any enchilada sauce, but hatch fire roasted enchilada sauce. This adds a ton of flavor!
Now all you have to do is bake it in your preheated 325° F oven for about 45 minutes. The sides will begin to bubble, your kitchen will smell absolutely incredible, and your family and/or guests will begin begging you to try it. Remove it from the oven. Allow it to cool just a bit. And serve it with some Mexican rice and your done. Oh, and if you're like me, you'll find a way to invite avocados to the fiesta also!
Before I close, I want to share a little about the VeryVeganish.com website. Abi talks about how she and her family made the switch over to a mostly (90-95%) vegan diet and how it greatly improved her family's health (including some chronic health problems her husband was living with). A nice, personal story I'm glad she shares with us. Her writing is fun and engaging. Her recipes are wonderful. Be sure to check out this super blog!
RECIPES OF THE WEEK.
And be sure to visit the great blogs I mention. You'll be happy you did!