Friday, May 14, 2010

May Daring Cook's: Stacked Enchiladas

Stacked Red Chili Mole Enchiladas
Black Bean, Butternut Squash and Raisins
Avocado Cilantro Coconut Sauce
Pickled Turnips

Culinarily, my family might as well be Mexican. We eat a tremendous amount of Mexican food, and it is one cuisine for which I feel perfectly comfortable riffing. It is a really forgiving cuisine with bold, complex flavors. The cuisine begs for improvisation, which is why everyone's Mexican abuela can cook fabulous meals and has no recipes to pass on to the next generation. The challenge this month was not to create something out of my comfort zone, but to actually try to keep track of what I was doing so I could post a recipe!

Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found on and written by Robb Walsh.

They did allow us to make whatever stacked enchilada we wanted to however, so that is what I did. We created a red chili based mole. The filling was a black bean, squash and raisin mixture (Jason made it, so I don't have that recipe).

Nopales and Blue Corn Tortillas

We also had the choice of using premade tortillas or making our own. Since I live near so many great tortillerias that make fantastic tortillas from fresh masa, using masa harina to make my own is just a travesty. I chose to use a blue corn tortilla as well as a nopales (cactus) tortilla. Those nopales tortillas are addictive!

Isaiah wanted to put his touch on the enchiladas, so he wanted to make the tortillas a special shape. He chose butterflies because they are "hatching" butterflies at school right now. It made for a lovely presentation - great idea Isaiah!

Red Chili Mole Sauce

Red Chili Mole Paste
Original recipe by Sheryl Davies
  • 5 allspice berries
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1/2 t fennel seeds
  • 1 t cumin seeds
  • 5 guajillo chilis
  • 1 ancho chili
  • 2 cascabel chilis
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 large plantain, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup dried pineapple
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 T roasted sesame seeds

  1. In a medium hot dry skillet toast cumin, fennel, allspice and cloves briefly until fragrant. Put in a bowl and set aside to cool. One cool, grind in spice grinder.
  2. Take your deveined, deseeded chilis and press them on the hot skillet for 10-20 seconds on each side.Remove and place in bowl and cover with hot water. Use a dish to keep them immersed in the water.
  3. Place some oil or lard in a pan and saute onion until they start to brown. Add garlic and cook for another minute or until the garlic is fragrant. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Add more oil to the pan if necessary. Add plantain pieces to pan and saute until it starts to brown and turns soft. Remove from pan and place with onions.
  5. Remove the chilis from the water and reserve the water for later use.
  6. In a blender, place all ingredients and blend until smooth. Add some of the reserved soaking water to loosen it up as necessary. 
  7. This paste can now be used to make enchilada sauce. Place some paste in frying pan with oil. Toast, then add chicken stock in a 1:2 ratio. Reduce until it is thickened. You can also add a small amount of crema if you would like.
  8. To assemble enchiladas, lightly fry or bake enchiladas, then dip in enchilada sauce stack with filling as desired and


  1. I love the butterflies and the red mole sounds wonderful. I envy you your proximity to great tortillas - and interesting varieties, too. Wonderful job and the filling sounds really creative.

  2. Wow. The mole sounds soo good! I can't believe you can get cactus tortillas!! That sounds so crazy!

  3. Your challenge looks amazing! Congratulations.

  4. Wow, I bet this tastes even better than it looks (and it looks incredible!)

  5. I LOVE the butterfly tortillas! Your enchiladas look amazing and sound like they were delicious! Can I come over for dinner? ;) Thank you so much for sharing your work!

  6. Oh yum, mole sauce! And the filling sounds pretty amazing too. :)

  7. Interesting flavor combos and your butterfly shaped tortillas are adorable!

  8. Butterfly shaped tortillas want a great idea and the use of cactus flavoured tortillas is inspired what a wonderful innovation. That final photo is very elegant and shows off the green sauce so well. Excellent work on this challenge. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  9. You definitely pulled off an amazing riff. Beautifully presented and it all sounds delicious.