May it Please the Palate: Sweet Potato Enchiladas Round the World

How could you stand the suspense? Last week's article included a teaser, promising a recipe for sweet potato and black bean enchiladas. Finally it's here! You open your Legal News excitedly, skipping past the profiles of impressive colleagues, the tax liens, and divorces. You're hungry.

It's time for sweet potato and black bean enchiladas with a tomatillo guacamole filling, topped with an unusual red sauce I made up on the fly, combining Greek and Mexican flavors. It has some similarities with a molé, and if you dare, I'll tell you how to go even more crazy experimental. The key here is the unusual combination of flavors--hat blends in harmonious synergy--or works like a train wreck, depending on your perspective. But hey, if cooks didn't push the envelope once in a while, we'd still be eating like cavemen. (Pause for ironic effect.)

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas with Tomatillo Guacamole

with Greek Mexican Red Sauce {Serves 4-6}

Tomatillo salsa--homemade OR bottled. If making homemade, see below. If bottled, Trader Joe's salsa verde works in a pinch, maybe with an added pepper or two.

6-8 tomatillos

2-3 Serrano peppers

2 cloves garlic

1/2 onion

1/2 lime

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1. Preheat oven to 450° or low broiler. Remove husk from tomatillos, rinse off sap. Slice into quarters. Place on roasting pan and roast for 10-15 minutes.

2. Place 2 cloves garlic in food processor, chop fine. Add ? onion, roasted tomatillos and Serrano peppers, chop coarsely. Remove to bowl and add lime, salt, pepper, and cilantro. Set aside.

OR--open jar of salsa verde. Set aside.

Make Red Sauce:

1 TBS fruity olive oil

1/2 onion, diced

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1 15 oz. can tomato sauce

1 tsp. allspice

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. Aleppo pepper or crushed red pepper

salt to taste

Optional: 1/2 tsp. ground chilé pepper, 1/2 tsp. finely grated dark chocolate or cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp. honey

Heat olive oil over medium low heat, add onion then garlic until tender. Add tomato sauce and spices, taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.

Remaining Ingredients:

All right, be patient. It's all coming together now. Put on some Greek-Mexican music, pour a shot each of tequila and ouzo, and relax. The rest is easy.

2 sweet potatoes

2 avocados, not overly ripe

1 15 oz. can black beans

1 tsp. cumin

Frank's Red Hot sauce

10-12 corn or flour tortillas

1/2 lb. queso fresco or Colby-Jack cheese, grated

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Boil diced sweet potato cubes until tender, 10-15 minutes. Set aside.

3. Dice avocados and toss with either the homemade salsa verde or 8 oz. of the bottled version. Set aside. This is your tomatillo guacamole.

4. Open 1 15 oz. black beans. Season with 1 tsp. cumin and a dash of Frank's or any hot sauce.

5. Toss sweet potatoes, tomatillo guacamole, and seasoned black beans. This is your enchilada filling. Set aside.

6. Brush tortillas with oil or butter and warm briefly in skillet oven to soften.

7. Fill tortillas with a scoop of filling, roll, and place in oiled 9x13" baking pan until you are out of both.

8. Top with grated cheese and red sauce, bake for 20 minutes.

If you want to go even crazier, finish the enchiladas with a crème fraiche, sour cream, or yogurt spiked with diced jalapenos and a handful of chopped cilantro.

Serve with brown rice and steamed kale as plain but healthy accompaniments.

Enjoy--and as the Mexican Greeks would say, Opa-Olé!

Nick Roumel is a principal with Nacht, Roumel, Salvatore, Blanchard, and Walker PC, a firm in Ann Arbor specializing in employment and civil right litigation. He also has many years of varied restaurant and catering experience, has taught Greek cooking classes, and writes a food/restaurant column for "Current" magazine in Ann Arbor. He occasionally updates his blog at http://mayitpleasethepalate.blogsom/.

Published: Mon, Mar 25, 2013

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