Tuesday, September 22, 2015

South of the Border Break Through!

Eureka I have Found it! A low carb enchilada recipe that tastes great and doesn't require me too cook all sorts of shit before I actually start cooking my dinner (i.e. cauliflower tortillas). YEEHAW! Thank you food gawker for the inspiration! What am I talking about you ask? Well, it all started when I saw this image:
What you see there are lamb cannelloni but instead of pasta sheets, the filling is wrapped in sliced eggplant! I shit you not! Immediately I went to the website (in French), translated it and read the recipe through. It required the eggplant to be sliced thinly on a mandolin and they lightly fried in olive oil before filling and baking in sauce. No problem. I just so happened to have an eggplant and a mandolin at home! BUT rather than recreate this recipe, I figured if it works with Italian food then surely it will work for Mexican as well. I had some leftover taco meat from dinner a few days earlier and a couple jars of home made enchilada sauce that I was dying to eat. You see this low carb thing I am on seriously limits my opportunities for eating Mexican beyond a taco salad (booo!). Needless to say, I was super excited to give this idea a shot. Now, when it comes to eggplants I think those big round purple things should only be used for baba ganoush, if at all. For Parmesan I use the Japanese varieties and for this I used the smaller white skinned eggplant. I set my mandolin on 1/8 inch (3mm) and sliced away. I spread the slices on paper towels and generously salted them with sea salt. Then I took the dogs to the park for a while. When I returned the eggplant had shed a lot of water, which I blotted up with more paper towels, and was fairly pliable. Enough so that I decided to skip the frying step and see what would happen. After all, my homemade sauce was very thick and wouldn't really be ruined by any additional water shed by the eggplant during baking. I overlapped 2 slices of the eggplant, put some taco meat at one end and rolled it up. It worked great. I placed the eggplant enchilada in a sauce lined baker and continued until all the large enough slices were used up.  At this point I should mention again that the sauce I had made was very thick and that helped keep the enchiladas from unrolling while in the pan. I topped the enchiladas with a little more sauce, covered them in foil and baked them at 350 for about 20-25 minutes. Then I removed the foil, topped them with cheddar cheese and baked them another 15 minutes until the cheese was good and melted. I was a little nervous that the eggplant would be tough to eat but I was thrilled to find that they worked perfectly. Not only were they easy to eat with a fork, but the eggplant was nearly undetectable. If I didn't know better, I would never have guessed that there was eggplant in this dish. WIN!

Now, I made the enchilada sauce last summer with fresh tomatoes and peppers but this is the basic recipe as far as I can remember it:

For the Enchilada Sauce:
6 ancho chile peppers, roasted, peeled, cored, and seeded
3 Anaheim Chilies, roasted, peeled, cored, and seeded
2 jalapeno peppers, 
2 chipotles, chopped  
2 medium tomatoes, halved  
1 medium white onion, quartered
3 cloves garlic  
1 Tbs chili powder  
1 teaspoon cumin  
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon oregano S
alt and pepper to taste  
3½ to 4 cups chicken broth 
2 tablespoons masa harina

Combine the tomato, onion and garlic in a medium sauce pan. Cover with chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until tomatoes are tender and onion is soft. Add chilies and blend with an immersion blender or transfer to traditional blender.  Add cumin, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper. Blend on high until smooth, taste for salt.  Transfer sauce back to pan and heat to a simmer for 20 minutes. Whisk the masa harina into the simmering sauce until well combined. Cook for 5 more minutes, keep warm on low.

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