Quinoa beefs up homemade enchiladas
There are lots of reasons to eat less meat. Some are philosophical and some are practical. I won’t get into mine here.
I strongly believe it is a matter of choice. And much like religion and politics, it isn’t appropriate for me to push my beliefs on you or for you to push yours on me.
Regardless of the reason, for those who grew up with meat as the star on the dinner table, adjusting to meat as supporting player can be a challenge.
Finding flavors and textures that are not only filling but satisfying isn’t easy.
One trick I’ve written about before is incorporating whole grains into meat dishes such as meatloaf and tacos. The grains usually soak up the other flavors in the dish and blend right in with the ground meat. It’s an easy way to stretch the meat to make more servings and it adds a nutritional boost to the recipe.
I recently tried it with enchiladas with great results. I used my regular (but definitely not authentic) enchilada recipe and, though he noticed, the husband didn’t bat an eye or complain about the added grain. And he had seconds.
I like to bake the enchiladas in two dishes, one for now and one to freeze for later.
Beef and Quinoa Enchiladas
Vegetable oil for coating dish
½ cup quinoa, well rinsed 1 cup water
1 pound lean ground beef (I
like to use ground round) 2 tablespoons taco seasoning (from a packet or homemade; recipe follows) 1 (15-ounce) can chili beans ½ cup corn kernels
2 to 3 cups homemade enchilada sauce (recipe follows) OR 2 (10-ounce) cans
16 corn tortillas
8 ounces shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, or a combination
2 tablespoons fire-roasted diced green chiles (from a can)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or 2 (7-by-11-inch) baking dishes with vegetable oil.
In a medium saucepan, bring the quinoa and water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt; reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat, breaking the beef into crumbles. Drain excess fat. Stir in taco seasoning, cooked quinoa, beans and corn. Cook 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Pour the enchilada sauce in a wide, shallow dish.
Dip each tortilla in sauce, coating both sides. Spread about ¼ cup beef mixture down the center of each tortilla and top with a sprinkle of cheese. Roll and place, seam side down, in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling. Pour any remaining sauce over enchiladas. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and green chiles. Cover loosely with foil and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until cheese is bubbly and browned, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.
Makes 16 enchiladas.
Red Enchilada Sauce
6 dried red chile peppers such
2 cloves garlic, peeled 2 (14-ounce) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes ½ teaspoon cumin seed Ground black pepper 1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups vegetable broth
Kosher salt, to taste Sugar, to taste
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place chiles on a baking sheet and heat in oven until puffed and aromatic, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Remove stems and seeds; tear peppers into pieces.
Place chiles, garlic, tomatoes, cumin and black pepper in jar of a blender. Puree until as smooth as possible.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Set a fine mesh strainer over pan and pour in sauce. Press mixture with a large spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids. Cook sauce, stirring frequently, until thickened to consistency of tomato paste. Pour in vegetable broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste sauce and season with salt and sugar to taste.
Makes 2 to 3 cups.
Recipe adapted from SeriousEats.com
1 tablespoon PLUS 1 teaspoon
¼ cup chile powder (I like to
1 heaping teaspoon garlic
2 teaspoons cumin seed 1 tablespoon crushed red
pepper flakes or to taste 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
In an airtight container, combine all ingredients and mix well.
Makes about ½ cup.